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Terms
Public awareness
In 1994, the Washington Times reported that America Online (AOL) was selling detailed personal information about its subscribers to direct marketers, without notifying or asking its subscribers; this article led to the revision of AOL's terms of service three years later. On July 1, 1997, AOL posted revised terms of service to take effect July 31, 1997 without formally notifying its users of the changes made, most notably a new policy which would grant third-party business partners, including a marketing firm, access to its members' telephone numbers.

Several days before the changes were to take effect, an AOL member informed the media of the changes and the following news coverage incited a large influx of internet traffic on the AOL page which enabled users to opt-out of having their names and numbers on marketing lists.
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