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* AOL Censors Email Tax Opponents

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Blocked Delivery Emails Mentioning

San Francisco - This week, AOL blocked delivery to AOL
customers of all emails that include a link to Over 100 people who signed a petition to
AOL tried sending messages to their AOL-using friends, and
received a bounce-back message informing them that their
email "failed permanently."

"The fact is, ISPs like AOL commonly make these kinds of
arbitrary decisions every day - silently banning huge
swathes of legitimate mail on the flimsiest of reasons -
and no one hears about it," said Danny O'Brien, Activism
Coordinator of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
"AOL's planned CertifiedEmail system would let it profit
from this power by offering to charge legitimate mailers to
bypass these malfunctioning filters."

After the original version of this press release was sent
out Thursday afternoon, AOL stopped blocking email with
links to This incident only increases our
worry about organizations that don't have the ability to
seek instant press attention. The next time AOL's anti-spam
filters fail for a small organization - or one without
political muscle - will they move so quickly to fix them?
Or will they push organizations to just sign up with
Goodmail and pay to avoid the problem?

When reports of undelivered email started rolling in to the Coalition, MoveOn co-founder Wes Boyd decided to
see for himself if it was true.

"I tried to email my brother-in-law about, and
AOL sent me a response as if he had disappeared," said Boyd.
"But when I sent him an email without the link,
it went right through."

While AOL may imply that censoring is part
of some anti-spam effort, its own customers are witnessing
how faulty AOL's spam measures would be if that were the

"I forwarded to my own AOL account and it
was censored. Apparently I can't even tell myself about
it," said Kelly Tessitore from Framingham, Massachusetts.

"This proves the Coalition's point entirely:
left to their own devices, AOL will always put its own self-
interest ahead of the public interest in a free and open
Internet," said Timothy Karr, campaign director of Free
Press, a national, nonpartisan organization working on media
reform and Internet policy issues. "AOL wants us to believe
they won't hurt free email when their pay-to-send system is
up and running. But if AOL is willing to censor the flow of
information now to silence their critics, how could anyone
trust that they will preserve the free and open Internet
down the road? Their days of saying 'trust us' are over -
their credibility is zero, zip, nada."

The Coalition represents over 15 million people
combined - and has grown from 50 member organizations to
600 in a month. Since the beginning of the
campaign, more than 350,000 Internet users have signed
letters to AOL opposing its pay to send proposal. Coalition
members include craigslist founder Craig Newmark, the
Association of Cancer Online Resources, EFF, Free Press, the
AFL-CIO, Civic Action, Gun Owners of America, and

For more on the issues surrounding pay-to-send email, join
EFF for a debate on April 20 in San Francisco. EFF's
O'Brien and tech expert Esther Dyson will face off over the
question "Email -- Should the Sender Pay?" Entrepreneur and
EFF cofounder Mitch Kapor will moderate.

More information about the Coalition:

More information on next week's debate:

For the initial press release:

To learn more about the DearAOL campaign against AOL's
planned sender-pay system:

For Esther Dyson's editorial, "You've Got Goodmail":
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When reports of undelivered email started rolling in to the Coalition, MoveOn co-founder Wes Boyd decided to see for himself if it was true.
Here's's link:
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