People from all over the world send and receive email messages every day, and many of those people around the world use a web-based email service. While webmail services are convenient and most of them are free, they do collect private data from their account users. That poses a risk to the hundreds of millions of account holders from around the world of having their private information stolen or provided to other unwanted parties.
America Online is one of the pioneers of online services. The company has been around even since before the internet was popularized into mainstream. While they were one of the first to create a dial-up online service, which developed later into a web-based network of services, they have years of experience and practice at keeping AOL member data secure and private.
What Information AOL Collects
AOL states that privacy is "central" to their services. However, like any webmail service, they do collect private information when an account is created such as first and last name, home or work address, telephone, and other email addresses, as well as additional demographic information.
In addition to data provided by the account user, AOL also collects other data about the activities of an AOL member, such as searches performed through AOL services and how those results were used, information about AOL services used by members, information about advertisements clicked on AOL pages, and transaction-related information made through AOL offerings.
How Private Data Is Used at AOL
The information collected about an account user's activity, such as cookie data about a user's computer and AOL activities, is used to enhance and improve the services and offerings provided by AOL. The information a user receives from AOL may be targeted and personalized based on this type of data collected, and it used for research about AOL usage. However, any and all private data collected is never rented or sold to third party companies. With that said, however, AOL does share private information with other business partners for no other purpose but to present targeted offers to members.