AOL to sell AIM snooping software

— 2:30 AM on November 6, 2002

The Washington Post is reporting that AOL is now selling software that lets businesses monitor AOL Instant Messenger traffic on their corporate networks.

A new, more secure version of AOL Instant Messenger, or AIM, will enable businesses to read instant messages sent by employees, just as businesses can now monitor their workers' e-mail. The version for business will cost about $35 per person annually, sources said, although the consumer version will remain free.
The article isn't clear on whether a company's ability to snoop messages will be confined to messages created by the special business client, or to any AIM messages sent over the company's network. I would suspect the former, though the latter is certainly a possibility. Either way, the move is sure to ruffle the feathers of at least a few privacy advocates, despite the fact that admins have been able to read corporate email for years.

AOL is partly responsible for the incredible popularity of instant messaging, so it's only fitting that now they're selling software to help control the epidemic they helped unleash.

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