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

Lindsay Haisley fmouse-mailman at fmp.com
Tue Jun 19 19:52:32 CEST 2012

On Mon, 2012-06-18 at 13:23 -0700, Brad Knowles wrote:
> On Jun 18, 2012, at 12:06 PM, Larry Stone wrote:
> > And the problem that I'm trying to fix is that their user has
> >violated MY TOS regarding reporting list mail (that they subscribed
> >to) as spam. That AOL sent their Feedback Loop message to me is
> >therefore part of the violation of my terms. So whose terms ends up
> >governing when they're in conflict?
> When you sign up for the feedback loop, you do so under the TOS of the
> feedback loop.  If their user violates your TOS by reporting your list
> traffic as spam, that doesn't change the TOS of the feedback loop that
> you signed up for.

Which brings up an interesting point, albeit it's mostly academic.  It's
been years since I read the TOS for AOL's Feedback Loop email.  Does the
TOS disallow trying to determine the address of the recipient, or just
acting on this knowledge.  The former is unenforceable, as are
prohibitions on reverse-engineering proprietary software in my
possession.  Acting on this knowledge is another matter.  I'm free to
put whatever information I choose in an email I send to an AOL user,
including a header with an encrypted recipient address.  If AOL accepts
it and sends it back to me in a spam report, and has not redacted
information I put into it (and they are free to redact whatever they
choose), then I must be able to learn what I can from the offending
message, including from the headers.

If indeed the TOS prohibits determining the address of the AOL recipient
from the email, then it's only enforceable if I take action based on
this knowledge, since this hardly rises to the level of industrial
espionage.  All kinds of things get put into TOS documents that are
ridiculous and unenforceable on the face of it.  Yes, AOL is under no
obligation to send me Email Feedback Reports, and can stop doing so at
any time for any reason.  They can even cut off access to their user
base from my servers.  They don't have enough clout on the Internet
anymore so that this would really hurt anyone but themselves.

Lindsay Haisley       |  "Humor will get you through times of no humor
FMP Computer Services |      better than no humor will get you through
512-259-1190          |         times of humor."
http://www.fmp.com    |            - Butch Hancock

More information about the Mailman-Users mailing list