Sunday, August 06, 2006

AOL Releases Search Logs. Who's Next?

Several hundred thousand paying AOL members have just been deliberately stripped of their privacy to the entire world.

Oh. My. God.

Now, folks, is there any question whatsoever that personal and business use of online apps like Writely, Basecamp, and Google Spreadsheets may be unwise?

As a member of such services, you don't own your data, and therefore you can't protect it.

Most ordinary web surfers already get this, which is why web-based personal computing apps have faired so poorly over the past decade. I wonder when the webtopian pundits are going to wake up.

Update: AOL's apology isn't remotely satisfactory. What are they doing to put the genie back in the bottle? They need to launch their legal eagles at those sites now redistributing this data, even if the license they attached to it allows redistribution.


At Sunday, August 06, 2006 10:39:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's something pretty creepy. Let's look at user 39509 in file #1.

He searched for:

oklahoma disciplined doctors
oklahoma disciplined pastors
tons of myspace layouts including "religious graphics for myspace"
sequoyah county oklahoma sex offenders
sanyo tv serial number b9300244587937
rental properties in tahlequah oklahoma
chase bad kids
tahlequah public schools

and then the creepy part:

pre teen porn pics

(more than once)

That's clearly enough information that could identify him, especially the TV serial number... Now this guy, based on what he's up to, I wouldn't mind so much if he was identified, but ... you get the idea. This data is unbelievabley private.

At Sunday, August 06, 2006 11:00:00 PM, Anonymous ventureless said...

Now we all have a concrete case study for FUD marketing against "webtopia". I really doubt Google would pull something like this (ever)... although there's always a disgruntled employee or exploited server risk even if it's .00000001%.

AOL is like the dumb kid that flips the game board and ruin's everyone elses party when he realizes he can't win the game.

At Monday, August 07, 2006 1:28:00 AM, Blogger Liam said...

I also doubt that Google would do such a thing, at least until they discover a way to profit from it...

At Sunday, August 20, 2006 1:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A *quick* site where you can browse the AOL Search Logs is here:

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