[Mailman-Users] AOL redacts user addresses even with VERP and full personalization enabled

Stephen J. Turnbull stephen at xemacs.org
Tue Jun 19 10:17:24 CEST 2012

David writes:

 > In terms of privacy, as list admins we already have the member's
 > information. All we are doing in this case is helping that member stop
 > receiving messages they obviously no longer wish to receive. This is
 > clearly not an invasion of privacy (especially with a properly encrypted
 > implementation).

Nice try, but we still can't define AOL's policy for them.  AOL's
claim is that we need to fix our spam problem, not unsubscribe the
member, so trying to identify the member *is* an invasion of privacy.
Nor should we judge what the member "obviously wants," especially
given the draconian "solution."  Unsubscribing the member is a
forceful act that they may not want (you in particular should not
forget that, Dave!)

Note, I do *not* have a better solution.[1]

The point is that there are several points of view from which what we
are proposing here is "not nice".  I think we should do it anyway; the
argument that it's for the greatest good of the greatest number is
irrefutable.  But let's remember that the Internet is a big place, and
we don't make the rules, except on our own servers.  On AOL's, the
rules are made by AOL.  If you have a lot of AOL subscribers, you
probably don't want AOL upset at you, even if their policy is bogus.

[1]  My policy is that I don't care if my list ever successfully
delivers a message to AOL; my subscribers -- including some who
happen to be stuck on AOL for some reason -- think that's perfectly
fine.  So far we haven't been banned by AOL AFAIK :-).  But that won't
work for most of you!

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