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New AIM Client, now I’m stuck with Message Storage, WTF

November 18th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

I updated the AIM client on my iPhone the other day and signed in to check out what the new software was like. As a side effect of this, I have also been upgraded to AOL/AIM’s new “Message Storage” system, where they keep logs of chat messages for 2 months (and hey they’re working on making it longer!) so they can be synced between mobile phones and multiple computers.

While I can see what you’re trying to do, you’ve done it in a intrusive, annoying, and down right shitty way; and it’s just about enough to make me stop using your chat network entirely.

Strike one, it’s not opt-in; it’s fuck-you-you’re-using-it-in.

I’m stuck with it now because I logged in with the new client on my phone. That’s it, no going back, and no warning that upgrading the client was going to permanently change my account to this new service. Nothing more than a note in the feature list that they can store and sync conversations between devices.

Strike two, it’s not opt out.

Don’t want AOL storing your conversations on their servers? Tough shit, you can’t turn it off. Well other than on a per conversation basis, which isn’t what I’d call opt out. However, there’s no where I can find to disable this shit completely and the FAQ does a very good job of indicating that I can’t disable it at all.

Moreover, since I don’t use the AIM client on my desktop, (I use Pidgin), so I can’t enable their “off the record” mode, which is a piss poor way to “opt out” in the first place. Doubly so when you have to enable it on a constant ongoing basis every time a conversation is started.

Strike three, what the fuck kind of dumb-shit programmer did you hire to implement this? The first message you send to someone after being forced into this shitty little service is prefixed with this lovely wall of text!

“%username%” is using a new version of AIM that stores conversation history so they can see their chats wherever they’re signed into AIM (desktop, mobile, aim.com). If you don’t want your messages stored, you can ask netmasteroc3 to take the conversation “off the record” or use the new AIM so you can do so yourself. Visit preview.aim.com/.faq for more information.

Okay, I can see the need to notify people that conversations are being stored. That’s nice, kind of, until you fucking spam someone with this 4 times in a row because they didn’t respond after the first one and don’t provide a way for the person sending the message to TURN THE FUCKING LOGGING OFF COMPLETELY IN THE FIRST PLACE!

Now when I start a conversation with people, and they start asking me what the fuck am I doing, and I have to explain to my non-techy friends that it’s not, in fact, me who’s logging the conversation, but the shit heads at AOL that have decided that every fucking converstation I start should be logged, simply because I upgraded the client on my phone. And guess what, even the techy ones have a hard time grasping that there’s no mechanism to opt out.

Thanks a lot ass-hats. Time to start migrating to GTalk.

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  1. Andrew
    November 18th, 2011 at 19:27 | #1

    OMFG…this just happened to me too. What a freakin ridiculous piece of shit AIM is…total cluster-f just happened to me on my iPhone and mac….now all my people are getting that message…holy jeez..

  2. Yonas
    November 23rd, 2011 at 18:34 | #2

    This happened to me, too, and I am ROYALLY pissed off at the whole thing. I can’t believe AOL is willing to rape our privacy like that. I urge you and everyone you know to send them an email telling them that they need to implement a global opt-out feature to message logging:

    [email protected]

    This is just terrible. This weekend I will migrate all of my AIM contacts to Google Talk and use that instead. At least, that is, until they fix this disgusting mess that they created.

  3. jt
    December 1st, 2011 at 14:35 | #3

    This is bull sH*t. It just happened to me too. They need to give an opt-out ASAP. No more of this big brother crap. I IM so there is not a record like email. If I want to save a conversation I’ll send an email.

  4. December 2nd, 2011 at 01:23 | #4

    HEY HOW CAN I TURN OFF OFF THE RECORD?
    IS THAT A DOUBLE NEGATIVE?
    AM I SCREAMING?
    NO I JUST HAVE THE CAPS LOCK CLICKED, WAIT,
    ahh much better, it looks like my keyboard was on some crazy function that i didnt want on, then i turned it off, and everything is better,

    wait no its not, your service is texting everyone i know and telling them you are logging their conversations and now they are not talking to me cause they think i am a creep or that i am not there,

    what is this and how can i tun it off?

    PLEASE HELP< OH NO THE CAPS LOCK WONT TURN OFFFFFFFF!!!!!!!!

  5. Joe
    December 14th, 2011 at 03:53 | #5

    I agree, this terrible privacy practice from AIM. I sent an e-mail too. The e-mail address [email protected] is listed on http://preview.aim.com/.faq so it is in fact real.
    There may be a workaround, assuming this is true:

    “How long am I able to stay off the record?
    Any conversation you take off the record will stay off the record for the duration of your conversation. If you sign on, then sign off, the conversation will still be off the record until you choose to take it back on the record.”

    The workaround being to enable “off the record” and to clear history for every buddy, using the rogue AIM version. This is no substitute for opt-out though. The other options, if you must keep using AIM, are making a new account or using REAL Off-the-Record Messaging. http://www.cypherpunks.ca/otr/
    But, I mean, this is a totally thoughtless decision. At least it’s not another search data scandal. https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/AOL_search_data_leak

  6. Alex
    December 17th, 2011 at 23:00 | #6

    Uh… Google Talk logs everything too.

  7. Jason
    December 18th, 2011 at 15:12 | #7

    Yes, it does…..Or more accurately it can.

    However, if you go into your preferences you can turn the Chat logging feature off, you can also delete the the chat logs manually. Both of which are things you can’t actually do with the new AIM logging.

  8. Joe
  9. Bill (Of Rights)
    February 9th, 2012 at 00:01 | #9

    Thanks, netmasteroc3! AIM is a PIA and f/u/c/k them. The new Stasi spy-on-everyone USSA has arrived.

  10. Wouter
    August 3rd, 2013 at 13:03 | #10

    @Jason
    And, now you no longer can disable logging at GTalk, lovely!

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