A boon for search engine researches quickly tumbled into a privacy snafu as AOL released search query results for 650,000+ users. AOL expression contrition and dismay in the quotes provided by spokesman Andrew Weinstein who said:
Here’s another AOL user who should definitely be manacled to a rusty pole and beaten with barb wire. Dirty thoughts! Dirty! Dirty!
This research paper, authored by the same people listed as authors in the AOL data’s README, reveals what AOL had hoped for people to do with the data.
TechCrunch thinks there could be privacy breaches as people look up personal info which can then be correlated to their other searches.
Aroused by the thought of juicy big piles of AOL user search data? Consumerist does the wading for you and finds a delightful little item, AOL User 927.
If you’re curious exactly how far the government’s data mining is going, the Wall Street Journal has a scary article up about how the government is literally combing through every single record you have these days for evidence of criminality. It doesn’t stop at the nation’s telecoms: your AOL account, your bank records, any record that could possibly be used against you is routinely being requested by and granted to the Federal Government.