I've seen a number of posts about AOL giving access to information about its customers to the Department of Homeland Security. The posts seem to be citing an article from October 3 by Martin McKinney in "The Financial Reporter (U.K.)". The quote refers to a Department of Commerce report. I can't find the original Martin McKinney post or the DoC report. Does anyone have the original sources? Also, is AOL giving the DHS any MORE information than other consumer Internet companies in the US of that size? It seems to me that we should ASSUME that everyone is giving "unfettered access" to DHS when/if requested.

Most of the blog posts seem to lead to this post on TBRNews.org.

via Scott via kellee's blog

8 Comments

The Barnes Review is a highly politically incorrect historical revisionist publisher. Not very Kosher shall we say.

One of my favorites. :o)

DHS has the right to ask any isp/provider for consumer /user info under the patriot act. However, they have not specified under what conditions that this info can be asked for !! Secondly, nowhere have I seen how this information will be protected and not used for any other purpose other then risk mitigation.

This is similar to the TSA obtaining advanced passenger information and filling in forms when actually its not any airlines rule (just yet)!

Imho, "I see the enemy and the enemy is us" - read us as you and me and also as US like in USA !!

We are goiong just to far. Free speech movments, anti-act groups etc will lobby hard, but the hardliners will not open their solid grip across the thoarts of the general public !! Why, they lose status and power, to put it simply. We have a bunch of control freaks !!

Glad to see that you're asking this question. I too am skeptical.

As of Sunday 10/16, a simple search for the listed publication and author ("Financial Reporter" "Martin McKinney" http://www.google.com/search?hs=gkH&hl=en&lr=&client=opera&rls=en&q=%22Financial+Reporter%22+%22Martin+McKinney%22&btnG=Search ) leads to nothing but 23 on-line citations of the same piece you found at TBRNews.org.

There's nothing unlikely about the purported news; it's perfectly plausible in these insane times. It may well be true.

But as a standard rule of skepticism, I won't believe it until it's cited at a mainstream source.

As you assumed, that story is a hoax. To our knowledge, the Department of Commerce has issued no such report, the media outlet credited for the article (The Financial Reporter) does not appear to exist, nor does the reporter who supposedly wrote it.

More important, the claims in the mythical "report" are totally false. AOL's privacy policy, a part of our contract with members, requires that we keep member communications confidential except in response to a valid "legal process (for example, a court order, search warrant or subpoena)". We do not provide "unlimited surveillance" or "free and unfettered access" to member information to DHS or any other government agencies. http://about.aol.com/aolnetwork/mem_policy

Andrew Weinstein,
Spokesperson,
America Online, Inc.

Dear Andrew,

Good that you respond. Question in play here, whenever there is a request for user info, does aol inform the user ??

Can a user do some kind of check to see who has been asking about their profile/ net usage etc ??

Re: 3- Helen Highwater

"But as a standard rule of skepticism, I won't believe it until it's cited at a mainstream source."

Like the mainstream news sources who carried water for the JewCon Bush regime's lies regarding Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, huh? Or the babies being tossed from incubators by Iraqi soldiers in Kuwait stories?

You've got to be kidding, extremely naive, or you're a international Jew monopoly media Hymiewood entertainment shill yourself.

There has been a lot of comment about this. In the first place, it is entirely plausable, given the very poor track record of AOL vis a vis their customers. Also, if Andrew Finestein, an executive of AOL claims that this is come kind of a hoax and that there is no such Department of Commerce memo and no such British financial newsletter or no such writer, why doesn't AOL put up the proof of this? Probably because they can't. What other kind of response can we expect from AOL? A humble admission of guilt? It's a question here of put up or shut up. The ball is now in your court, Mr. Finestein and AOL. To have made such denials to the public, you surely must have something to convince you, and the rest of us as well, that you are right. Why not let the rest of us sceptics see your cards...if you can. And if you do publish corroboration, please do not use some other AOL employee to be creative. A simple and verifable posting would be just fine. And another question here. Why does Financial News report that all the top brass at AOL is frantically dumping their stock? It's on the internet for those who like proof with their fictions. Brian Harring

I have checked this out and cannot find any support for this story, There are some other stories on other topics by the author and the allegd Financial Reporter, but I can't find anything else to support this story.

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