AOL clarifies IM privacy guarantee | CNET News.com: "America Online said late Monday that it plans to revise its user agreement in response to concerns that instant messages sent through the company's service could be monitored.
The new policy for AOL Instant Messenger, or AIM, will stress that the company does not eavesdrop on customer's conversations except in unusual circumstances such as a court order, an AOL spokesman said.
AIM's terms of service have been in place since at least February 2004, but nobody appears to have raised an alarm until a few days ago. Over the weekend, a brushfire of sorts flared among bloggers alarmed about six words embedded deep in the policy: 'You waive any right to privacy.'
That unfortunate wording was intended to apply to an AIM feature called "Rate-a-Buddy," spokesman Andrew Weinstein said. Like the classic HotOrNot.com site, Rate-a-Buddy permits AIM users to post photographs publicly so others can rate them on how "cute" and "interesting" they seem to be."