The Myth of AAMFT Shutting Down a Yahoo Group
Call for Change documents have asserted that AAMFT "Shut Down" a Yahoo Group that was being used by those involved in the call for change. AAMFT has no authority over Yahoo's actions, and no power to shut down a Yahoo Group
What Are the Facts?
AAMFT took no actions at all regarding any Yahoo Group. It's actions were solely related to the unauthorized access and use of its membership data files.
When AAMFT became aware of the unauthorized access and use of our member database (see Misuse of AAMFT's Data: What are the Facts?), the AAMFT Board was gathered in Alexandria, VA, for the Futures Conference and Board meeting. Immediately upon discovery that our data had been accessed inappropriately, the Board acted and discovered the following:
- While emails were being sent out under an "mfts for change" logo, no names were attached to the email at all. It was anonymous. Therefore, it was impossible to contact a specific person who was responsible for sending the emails.
- Without an individual to contact to express concern regarding the access and use of member data, there were only two entities available and identified on the unsolicited bulk email (UBE) that was sent to thousands of AAMFT members: Yahoo, the owner of the anonymous email address from which the email "originated," and Constant Contact, the third party company that was handling the processing of the email.
- The Board, while in session on Saturday evening, July 25, 2009, voted to notify Yahoo that an address from yahoo.com was the originator of an email using AAMFT's member database without authorization. Our concern was the access and use of our data. Any connection between the email and any Yahoo Group was unknown to us at the time of our notification to Yahoo. We used Yahoo forms online to submit our concerns about our data.
- After this notification to Yahoo of concerns about use of our data files, AAMFT did nothing further. Our goal was to try to ascertain the owner of the email address so that we could address the sender directly. Subsequently, Yahoo notified AAMFT that they had reviewed the account and taken action consistent with Yahoo policies. While not stated directly to AAMFT, the inference was that Yahoo discovered that a fictitious name and personal information had been used to create the Yahoo email address. Any connection to that fictitious email account and a Yahoo Group is still unknown to AAMFT.
As for Constant Contact, upon notification of AAMFT's concerns, this third party distribution company, reviewed their policies regarding unsolicited bulk email, as well as concerns about our data files, and locked the account that was established for distributing the email. This quarantine remains in place.