AOL intentionally releases user data

I doubt that this news will directly affect any of my regular readers. However, when a company breaches the trust of its users on this scale, it needs to be disseminated as widely as possible.

AOL must have missed the uproar over the DOJ’s demand for “anonymized” search data last year that caused all sorts of pain for Microsoft and Google. That’s the only way to explain their release of data that includes 20 million web queries from 650,000 AOL users.

The data includes all searches from those users for a three month period this year, as well as whether they clicked on a result, what that result was and where it appeared on the result page.

If you searched for something on AOL this year, you might want to think about what keywords you used and which links you clicked on.

4 Comments

  1. August 8, 2006 8:44 am | Permalink

    http://aolconfessions.ytmnd.com/

  2. Nicole
    August 9, 2006 5:16 am | Permalink

    Holy blabbering blunder, batman! AOL ftl!

    They will change “You’ve got mail!” to “You’ve got issues!”

    shrug

  3. August 9, 2006 3:14 pm | Permalink

    One person has been tracked down based on that search data, already.

  4. September 22, 2006 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I recall having an AOL account, way back.. It came with 5 login ID’s for the household. I proceeded to set them all up for me and my alter-egos. This included the “profiles”. You wouldn’t believe the unsolicited emails from dirty old men to my alter-ego who was 17, long blonde hair, poorly educated, poor speller. No creepy emails for the rest of us. I felt spurned.

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