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Friday, April 14, 2006
AOL Blocks Emails from Opponents To Charged Emails


America Online on Wednesday began blocking email on its servers containing the web address of a petition against the company's upcoming certified-mail program.

Sometime late Wednesday and continuing through Thursday, the internet service provider began returning emails with the URL Dearaol.com a coalition of companies and individuals against AOL's adoption ofGoodMail's Certified Email, an antispam program that requires marketers to pay to ensure delivery of their email messages.

AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham announced late Thursday that AOL emails mentioning Dearaol.com were now delivered as normal. The issue, he said, arose late Wednesday because of a software glitch that "affected dozens of web links in messages," including the Dearaol.com.

"We discovered the issue early this morning, and our postmaster and mail operations team started working to identify this software glitch," he said.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's web site contains an open letter and a petition that calls on people to protest what it calls an "e-mail tax" that would inhibit the Internet's inherent free flow of information and create a two-tiered system.The group says it also believes the alleged blocking cements the view that an email tax will harm free speech on the Internet.

"After this press release was sent out on Thursday afternoon, AOL stopped blocking email with links to www.DearAOL.com. Officials at the company stated that problems of this nature generally take three to five working days to fix. However, this was fixed after 24 hours of undeliverability - and approximately twenty minutes after this press release was widely distributed," reads a < A HREF="http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2006_04.php#004556" target=blank>statement from the EFF regarding this issue.

AOL was expected to adopt the GoodMail system last week, but that move was delayed for unknown reasons.The internet service provider has approximately 20 million subscribers in the U.S.


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