AOL - update to terms of service

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AAA
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AOL - update to terms of service

Post by AAA » Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:24 pm

I had been using Verizon email. After they got out of that service, I migrated to AOL Mail (now owned by Verizon), which let us continue to use our ****@verizon.net email address. We are getting a notice of an update to the terms of service and privacy policy of the entity called Oath, which is a combination of Yahoo and AOL. Of course, it's a long document that most people won't read through, but from what I have read about it they are asserting their right to read our emails. Now it's long been a complaint of mine that Vanguard and other financial institutions will send out confirmation emails listing all the details of transactions - amount of funds, what was purchased, etc., which now AOL will read and do who knows what with.

So I'm wondering what the consensus opinion here is about this - how much of a risk this is and whether it's advisable to change email addresses at all financial institutions or other places for which I wouldn't want my emails read and if so, what email service you recommend. I am already familiar with protonmail and would be inclined to go with them unless something better is available. Thank you.

bob60014
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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by bob60014 » Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:27 pm

It's one reason why I'm not using Yahoo anymore. Here is a good article, there are others too, explaining why.

https://www.komando.com/happening-now/4 ... know-about

nyclon
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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by nyclon » Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:35 pm

AAA wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:24 pm
I had been using Verizon email. After they got out of that service, I migrated to AOL Mail (now owned by Verizon), which let us continue to use our ****@verizon.net email address. We are getting a notice of an update to the terms of service and privacy policy of the entity called Oath, which is a combination of Yahoo and AOL. Of course, it's a long document that most people won't read through, but from what I have read about it they are asserting their right to read our emails. Now it's long been a complaint of mine that Vanguard and other financial institutions will send out confirmation emails listing all the details of transactions - amount of funds, what was purchased, etc., which now AOL will read and do who knows what with.

So I'm wondering what the consensus opinion here is about this - how much of a risk this is and whether it's advisable to change email addresses at all financial institutions or other places for which I wouldn't want my emails read and if so, what email service you recommend. I am already familiar with protonmail and would be inclined to go with them unless something better is available. Thank you.
Oath is their advertising business. They want to read your emails the way Google used to with Gmail - so they can advertise to you using your data.

NoHeat
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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by NoHeat » Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:38 pm

AAA wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:24 pm
... privacy policy ... from what I have read about it they are asserting their right to read our emails. ... I am already familiar with protonmail and would be inclined to go with them unless something better is available.
I recently abandoned yahoo mail for exactly this reason, which scared me, too.

I moved to a pay-service, because as they say, if you're not the customer, you're the product.

You mentioned ProtonMail. That is the pay service that I tried first. It offers incredibly strong privacy (encrypted servers in Switzerland, etc.), but I found too many inconveniences. They want you to read your email using a browser or their app. If you prefer to read email using an app like AppleMail, Outlook, etc you will find it to be difficult on a desktop computer and impossible on a mobile device. Overall, I'd say that ProtonMail is great if you're a drug dealer, but overkill for everyone else.

I ended up subscribing to Rackspace's email service, which I can recommend as a reliable pay service that offers good instructions and is happy to serve not just businesses but also individuals. I'm paying $10 per month for email services for up to five mailboxes -- that's enough for me, my spouse, and my kids too if they want it. Before subscribing, I bought a domain (let's call it heatdomain.net) so that my email service is portable -- I can move from rackspace to another provider without having to change my email address, which looks kind of like no@heatdomain.net.

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Shackleton
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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by Shackleton » Wed Jun 27, 2018 5:50 pm

I had no idea AOL still existed in any form. Next you’ll tell me that Compuserve is still around!
“Superhuman effort isn't worth a damn unless it achieves results.” ~Ernest Shackleton

bac
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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by bac » Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:00 pm

Though I have AOL, Yahoo, Gmail and Outlook accounts, I have my own domain ($10/year) hosted at Tuffmail.com ($21/year) and use it for 95 percent of my email. I have it set up so that I can give out addresses for specific purposes (i.e., merchant@subdomain.example.com). If it starts getting spam, I know who's to blame and can take action, if only to block the mail.

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AAA
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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by AAA » Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:52 pm

bac wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:00 pm
Though I have AOL, Yahoo, Gmail and Outlook accounts, I have my own domain ($10/year) hosted at Tuffmail.com ($21/year) and use it for 95 percent of my email.
And you're sure their terms of service don't allow them to read your emails?

kjvmartin
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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by kjvmartin » Wed Jun 27, 2018 8:07 pm

This is why I switched to Apple's iCloud service. They protect privacy.

kjvm

itsgot8
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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by itsgot8 » Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:39 am

NoHeat wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:38 pm
AAA wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:24 pm
... privacy policy ... from what I have read about it they are asserting their right to read our emails. ... I am already familiar with protonmail and would be inclined to go with them unless something better is available.
I recently abandoned yahoo mail for exactly this reason, which scared me, too.

I moved to a pay-service, because as they say, if you're not the customer, you're the product.

You mentioned ProtonMail. That is the pay service that I tried first. It offers incredibly strong privacy (encrypted servers in Switzerland, etc.), but I found too many inconveniences. They want you to read your email using a browser or their app. If you prefer to read email using an app like AppleMail, Outlook, etc you will find it to be difficult on a desktop computer and impossible on a mobile device. Overall, I'd say that ProtonMail is great if you're a drug dealer, but overkill for everyone else.

I ended up subscribing to Rackspace's email service, which I can recommend as a reliable pay service that offers good instructions and is happy to serve not just businesses but also individuals. I'm paying $10 per month for email services for up to five mailboxes -- that's enough for me, my spouse, and my kids too if they want it. Before subscribing, I bought a domain (let's call it heatdomain.net) so that my email service is portable -- I can move from rackspace to another provider without having to change my email address, which looks kind of like no@heatdomain.net.
If you liked ProtonMail but not the ability to use a service like Outlook, Firebird, etc., you should look into Start Mail. Similar concept with their encryption servers being in Switzerland.

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oldcomputerguy
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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by oldcomputerguy » Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:52 am

Shackleton wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 5:50 pm
I had no idea AOL still existed in any form. Next you’ll tell me that Compuserve is still around!
I don't know if you were being ironic or not, but yes, Compuserve is still around, as part of Oath.

http://www.compuserve.com

:shock:
It’s taken me a lot of years, but I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people. And if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.

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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by oldcomputerguy » Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:02 am

As far as I know, there is no email provider anywhere that does not possess the ability to read your emails. And according to Nolo, there is a law that allows your ISP to read emails once stored on their servers:
Although interception of email transmission—that is, snooping while an email is in "real-time" transmission between sender and receiver—is a federal crime under the Electronic Communications Protection Act (ECPA) (18 U.S.C.A 2517(4)), it has been accomplished by hackers.

The ECPA also permits an ISP to look through all stored messages, including email awaiting you in your mailbox or recently sent and received mail.
It should also be noted that neither of the protocols used on the Internet to handle email delivery (Simple Mail Transport Protocol / SMTP, and Post Office Protocol / POP) employ any form of encryption; both standards specify clear-text transmission of email content.

If you're concerned about security, you should not be using email for anything sensitive.
It’s taken me a lot of years, but I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people. And if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.

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AAA
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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by AAA » Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:51 am

oldcomputerguy wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:02 am
As far as I know, there is no email provider anywhere that does not possess the ability to read your emails. And according to Nolo, there is a law that allows your ISP to read emails once stored on their servers:
Are you saying AOL Mail's new terms of service are standard for all email providers?

NoHeat
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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by NoHeat » Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:11 am

AAA wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:51 am
oldcomputerguy wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:02 am
As far as I know, there is no email provider anywhere that does not possess the ability to read your emails. And according to Nolo, there is a law that allows your ISP to read emails once stored on their servers:
Are you saying AOL Mail's new terms of service are standard for all email providers?
I think oldcomputerguy was talking about the technical protocol for email, which involves text being transmitted from one point to another in an unencrypted form, as it passes over the wires, so to speak.

Terms of service are a statement not of what is technically possible, but what is contractually allowed by agreement with you.

The problem with Oath is that it now states explicitly that you are agreeing that Oath is allowed to exploit its technical ability to read your emails for marketing purposes, and most importantly it can do so with emails from financial institutions. Excerpt from the Oath terms of service:

Image
That's from this article: https://www.cnet.com/news/yahoo-aol-oat ... -messages/

I think Oath is saying that any info that a financial institution emails to you is fair game for Oath to exploit. If your broker emails you to tell you that your transaction order for a particular stock was filled, or if your bank emails you to tell you that your bill for $XXX is due, that info can be exploited by Oath's advertising business.

That scared me so that I abandoned yahoo mail. If I used AOL or any other Oath service I would do the same.

I chose a paid service (rackspace) which claims that "We will never read, sell or scan your email content for advertising purposes." Protonmail is a step beyond that in privacy: https://protonmail.com/security-details but as I mentioned I abandoned it because it was inconvenient for me.

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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by F150HD » Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:08 am

some folks say 'just leave XXXX email' and go to XXX service.

Keep in mind if one has had the same email address for 10+ years where family and friends know how to reach you, it isn't that simple, else you become the one sending out 'this is my new email address' every year when you switch accounts.

One friend who switches constantly, I have I believe 6-7 different email addresses for her. I honestly don't know which to use, it gets confusing.

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AAA
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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by AAA » Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:27 am

NoHeat wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:11 am
Protonmail is a step beyond that in privacy: https://protonmail.com/security-details but as I mentioned I abandoned it because it was inconvenient for me.
Thanks for the clarification. Can you elaborate on what the inconvenience was with Protonmail?

As an aside rant, I've tried several times to get Vanguard to stop sending detailed transaction confirmation emails, to no avail. I've explained that since they provide a "secure email" option when logged into their website, that implies ordinary email is not secure. And of course they are not the only ones to do it. I wish they would all at least provide an option whereby you only get an email saying there was a transaction in your account and you then would log in to check it.

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oldcomputerguy
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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by oldcomputerguy » Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:54 am

AAA wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:51 am
oldcomputerguy wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:02 am
As far as I know, there is no email provider anywhere that does not possess the ability to read your emails. And according to Nolo, there is a law that allows your ISP to read emails once stored on their servers:
Are you saying AOL Mail's new terms of service are standard for all email providers?
No. Terms of service are a legal issue between the customer (you) and the provider. I was simply pointing out that the law as written allows them to look at stored email, I.e. it is not illegal. I have no idea what is “standard” for “all email providers”.
It’s taken me a lot of years, but I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people. And if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.

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mrc
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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by mrc » Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:58 am

F150HD wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:08 am
some folks say 'just leave XXXX email' and go to XXX service.

Keep in mind if one has had the same email address for 10+ years where family and friends know how to reach you, it isn't that simple, else you become the one sending out 'this is my new email address' every year when you switch accounts.

One friend who switches constantly, I have I believe 6-7 different email addresses for her. I honestly don't know which to use, it gets confusing.
I thought that too several years ago. But after the third ISP (and email address) change, I got a domain. Anyone I cared to hear from got the new address and that hasn't and won't change again. Take the plunge, you'll be glad you do.
If it’s not long term it’s small talk

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AAA
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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by AAA » Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:21 pm

mrc wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:58 am
But after the third ISP (and email address) change, I got a domain. Anyone I cared to hear from got the new address and that hasn't and won't change again. Take the plunge, you'll be glad you do.
Can you elaborate? Some entity must be hosting (probably not the right term) your domain name and providing email service for it. Do you know if their terms of service allow them to read your emails?

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dual
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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by dual » Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:42 pm

I have a website and domain that I use for a permanent email address but ran into the following problem:

Apparently my ISP also hosts some sites that are considered spammers. Although they have a different URL apparently they share some of the IP address for my website so some spam filters tend to filter out my email.

I follow the general rule that I only include information in email that I would feel comfortable writing on a post card. Unfortunately, as mentioned here, some companies include information in their emails that I think should not be openly available.

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mrc
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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by mrc » Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:44 pm

AAA wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:21 pm
mrc wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:58 am
But after the third ISP (and email address) change, I got a domain. Anyone I cared to hear from got the new address and that hasn't and won't change again. Take the plunge, you'll be glad you do.
Can you elaborate? Some entity must be hosting (probably not the right term) your domain name and providing email service for it. Do you know if their terms of service allow them to read your emails?
I use lanechange.net for domain registration, DNS hosting, and email hosting. http://www.lanechange.net/html/terms_of_service.html

I would suppose email is scanned for virus and spam checking. I've never asked about email privacy, maybe I should.
If it’s not long term it’s small talk

NoHeat
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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by NoHeat » Thu Jun 28, 2018 6:37 pm

AAA wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:27 am

Thanks for the clarification. Can you elaborate on what the inconvenience was with Protonmail?
See the fourth post in this thread. It's inconvenient if you prefer using a third-party app to read your email, for example Outlook, Thunderbird, Apple Mail, etc. That's impossible on a device, and it's slightly difficult on a desktop computer as it requires installing a tricky "bridge" app that is peculiar to ProtonMail because of its encryption.

NoHeat
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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by NoHeat » Thu Jun 28, 2018 6:43 pm

F150HD wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:08 am
some folks say 'just leave XXXX email' and go to XXX service.

Keep in mind if one has had the same email address for 10+ years where family and friends know how to reach you, it isn't that simple, else you become the one sending out 'this is my new email address' every year when you switch accounts.
You're probably thinking of a free email account using somebody else's domain, like gmail.com -- that's obviously the most common practice because it is free and it allows an easy experience when signing up, at the cost of a difficult experience when leaving and a lack of privacy.

There's a solution to avoid the inconvenience for your family and friends that worries you, and as mentioned above that solution is to buy a domain. You'll have an email address that you control permanently, and you can change your provider as often as you like without having to tell your family or friends that anything has changed.

If you want to do this, there are two essential transactions:
1. Domain ownership: Start by googling "whois" and try out some domain names that please you. For example, f150boglehead.com. If nobody has taken that domain, buy it from any service you like. Thereafter you'll need to keep paying them a small amount to keep your domain "registered", which is to say, to keep your ownership.
2. Email hosting: Choose a service. I chose rackspace.com. There are many others out there, including some you've probably seen advertised such as godaddy.

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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by linenfort » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:49 pm

NoHeat wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 6:43 pm
(snipped)
1. Domain ownership: Start by googling "whois" and try out some domain names that please you. For example, f150boglehead.com. If nobody has taken that domain, buy it from any service you like. Thereafter you'll need to keep paying them a small amount to keep your domain "registered", which is to say, to keep your ownership.
2. Email hosting: Choose a service. I chose rackspace.com. There are many others out there, including some you've probably seen advertised such as godaddy.
Interesting. It looks like rackspace is mostly for business customers, but the price is not bad. Since businesses have their own programming staff, I have to ask:

Other than maintaining ownership of the domain and paying the host (rackspace), do you have to do anything computery? Let's say you don't want to maintain a web presence at noheat.org. You just want the email service. All you have to do is give the name you own to rackspace and choose what goes before the "@" sign?
bogleheads, don't knock state lotteries. They helped defund the mafia.

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linenfort
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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by linenfort » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:53 pm

Also, I know that some domain page results keep the owner's name private when you whois them.
(Awkward sentence, but you know what I mean).
Is that fairly easy to do with your registrar?
bogleheads, don't knock state lotteries. They helped defund the mafia.

NoHeat
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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by NoHeat » Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:21 pm

linenfort wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:49 pm

Let's say you don't want to maintain a web presence at noheat.org. You just want the email service. All you have to do is give the name you own to rackspace and choose what goes before the "@" sign?
Pretty much so.

There are a few steps to follow to get set up, but rackspace gives you good written instructions specific to your situation (these were enough for me), and they have telephone support (which I did not need).

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linenfort
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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by linenfort » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:09 am

Wow. Tempting.
bogleheads, don't knock state lotteries. They helped defund the mafia.

Rupert
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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by Rupert » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:39 am

I use Yahoo mail as my spam/commercial account. I actually hope they do read all the junk email I get from Pottery Barn and its many affiliates everyday. :twisted:

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UpsetRaptor
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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by UpsetRaptor » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:51 am

Key quotes from the new terms of service:
"analyze content and information when you use its services"
"automatically remove any information that could reasonably identify the recipient"

Is automated scanning actually the same as someone reading your email? Pretty much every email provider does automatic email scanning to some degree, for various purposes: spam filtering, those Smart Replies options you sometimes see in apps, your airline reservations automatically show up in calendar apps, etc.

itsgot8
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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by itsgot8 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:15 am

F150HD wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:08 am
some folks say 'just leave XXXX email' and go to XXX service.

Keep in mind if one has had the same email address for 10+ years where family and friends know how to reach you, it isn't that simple, else you become the one sending out 'this is my new email address' every year when you switch accounts.

One friend who switches constantly, I have I believe 6-7 different email addresses for her. I honestly don't know which to use, it gets confusing.
Would you be able to forward all e-mails from the current account to the new account to help ease with the transition?

GAAP
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Re: AOL - update to terms of service

Post by GAAP » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:20 am

Unless you specifically encrypt it, all email is sent in clear text through multiple hops where it can be read. Choosing a provider that won't read your email for marketing purposes will not provide protection against that.

I have yet to see a financial provider that sends messages encrypted. If it's something that needs encryption, they all want you to logon to their site and read it locally -- most likely due to the difficulties in getting their customers to handle encrypted emails.

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