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Old 08-07-2006   #1
Marketing Man
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AOL Inadvertently Releases Search Query Data

Has anyone else seen this? Any thoughts or comments on what this means for the future?

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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.
http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/08/06...r-search-data/

http://plentyoffish.wordpress.com/20...commit-murder/

Last edited by Marketing Man : 08-07-2006 at 05:32 PM. Reason: Added a link
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Old 08-08-2006   #2
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That AOL's image will continue to sour. A few SE's complied with the DOJ's request to submit data like this, so they've had it for quite some time now. The military industrial complex in America is already churning at full steam, so I doubt this data alone will have any tidal wave affect on the current (police) state of this nation.
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Old 08-09-2006   #3
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As a follow up, the following article shows just how sensitive search information can be.

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Buried in a list of 20 million Web search queries collected by AOL and recently released on the Internet is user No. 4417749. The number was assigned by the company to protect the searcher’s anonymity, but it is not much of a shield.

No. 4417749 conducted hundreds of searches over a three-month period on topics ranging from “numb fingers” to “60 single men” to “dog that urinates on everything.”

And search by search, click by click, the identity of AOL user No. 4417749 became easier to discern. There are queries for “landscapers in Lilburn, Ga,” several people with the last name Arnold and “homes sold in shadow lake subdivision gwinnett county georgia.”

It did not take much investigating to follow that data trail to Thelma Arnold, a 62-year old widow who lives in Lilburn, Ga., frequently researches her friends’ medical ailments and loves her three dogs. “Those are my searches,” she said, after a reporter read part of the list to her.
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/09/technology/08cnd-aol.html?ex=1155700800&en=2be8527d5ae087f8&ei=5099 &partner=TOPIXNEWS
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Old 08-10-2006   #4
vayapues
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That is impressive.

Out of 20 million results, and with what you know is a busy team of bias reports digging deep into the night, burning the mid-night oil as it were, trying to track down an individual based on the search results, they could only find one, and that was not until # 4417749.

Honestly, it makes me feel a lot safer. One out of 20 million!! Not bad odds if you ask me.
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Old 08-11-2006   #5
vayapues
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fulton savage
That AOL's image will continue to sour. A few SE's complied with the DOJ's request to submit data like this, so they've had it for quite some time now. The military industrial complex in America is already churning at full steam, so I doubt this data alone will have any tidal wave affect on the current (police) state of this nation.
It is easy to make a comparison to a police state, and I am sure you did not mean it literally, because those who live in real police states see our freedoms, and would disagree with the comparison. They would do that if they could, but of course they can't, because the police would kick their doors in and arrest them and their families.

I support the DOJ in doing whatever is necessary to maintain our freedoms, and to keep my family safe. A few companies volunteered search data, perhaps it is an intrusion of privacy, perhaps. But it does help the DOJ. Lets remember, they are the good guys, not the bad guys.
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