Messaging Pipeline | Coalition Forms To Fight AOL's Certified E-mail
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February 28, 2006

Coalition Forms To Fight AOL's Certified E-mail

Group launches information and letter writing campaign, claiming AOL's "e-mail tax" plan will degrade the free and open Internet.

Messaging Pipeline

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A coalition fighting America Online's proposed pay-to-send certified e-mail service held a press conference earlier today to launch a new Web site, , where businesses and organizations can go to sign their support to an "Open Letter To AOL" asking the nation's largest ISP to reconsider the service.

AOL earlier this month said it intended to use CertifiedEmail service to offer a paid service that bypasses AOL's spam filters and guarantees delivery of the certified sender's messages.

The coalition, which now includes more than 50 diverse organizations, claims the service is nothing more than an "e-mail tax" which threatens the "free and open Internet."

"When we first heard of AOL's e-mail tax, the alarm bells starting going off, said Danny O'Brien, Activism Coordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which hosted the press conference along with media policy group Free Press. "Our primary concern is that it would benefit AOL financially for essentially degrading the free Internet."

"This is the first step down a slippery slope," said Timothy Karr, campaign director for . "A large e-mail provider wants to turn e-mail into a paid and privileged realm, but what about the non-profits that depend on a free and open Internet?"

One such group, the , has joined the coalition. "Cancer patients may not be able to get resources simply because a nonprofit like ACOR—which serves more than 55,000 cancer patients and caregivers every day—cannot afford to pay AOL’s fee," said Gilles Frydman, director of ACOR. "Those that don't pay could suffer a degradation of service which could block AOL users suffering from cancer from getting important e-mail.

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