Groups express concerns with proposed e-mail tax policy

NEW YORK: A consortium of groups from across the political spectrum have joined forces to fight AOL's e-mail tax proposal, on the grounds that it will give large corporations preferential treatment in reaching consumers' inboxes and impede their ability to communicate with members.

NEW YORK: A consortium of groups from across the political spectrum have joined forces to fight AOL's e-mail tax proposal, on the grounds that it will give large corporations preferential treatment in reaching consumers' inboxes and impede their ability to communicate with members.

The groups, which include Gun Owners of America, MoveOn.org, the Association of Cancer Online Resources (ACOR) and Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist.org, held a conference call on Tuesday where they enumerated their concerns.

"We're good at spotting the long-term consequences both for the Internet and civil liberties," said Danny O'Brien, activism coordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, adding that AOL's proposition set off  "alarm bells."  Newmark agreed, saying the policy would take away from vital resources fighting true spammers.

Representatives from non-profit groups alleged the proposal would hamper their ability to communicate with members.

Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, said that the tax would make its role in gun owner advocacy and dissemination of information more difficult and isolate its members.

"Our members are likely to have a very negative reaction to this," Pratt said. "It will probably result in very few gun owners being AOL customers."

Gilles Frydman, founder of ACOR, said the tax might deprive cancer-stricken AOL subscribers from receiving vital information.

AOL did not immediately respond to calls for comment, but spokesperson Nicholas Graham reaffirmed in an AP story, AOL's dedication to improving e-mail safety, saying, ''There is no substantive news here, just because some disparate groups of advocates have come together for an event reminiscent of the bar scene in the first 'Star Wars' movie.''

 


 

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