August 08, 2006

the AOL search archives

Users in the comments are pissed off at the idea that people can be arrested for planning a crime like murder, calling it minority report like. I ask you why is it that americans have no problems arresting people that are planning or researching how to conduct terrorist attacks? Yet if a person plans on killing his wife that is ok, until he actually does it? How many people do you have to plan on killing before its ok for a company like AOL to hand your records over to the government? I am not taking sides, I’m just pointing out the obvious double standard. This story will open a can of worms, and will decide just how private your data online really is.

http://research.aol.com released a list of 20 million + searches by 500,000 AOL users. Contained in this list are social security numbers, credit cards and other personal information. There are some truly scary things in this database.

There are hundreds of searches from people looking to kill themselves and even more scary are searches from users that seem to be looking to commit murder.

Check out the search history for user 17556639, most recent search is at the bottom of the list.. Does this look like the search history of a user wanting to do something bad?

17556639 how to kill your wife
17556639 how to kill your wife
17556639 wife killer
17556639 how to kill a wife
17556639 poop
17556639 dead people
17556639 pictures of dead people
17556639 killed people
17556639 dead pictures
17556639 dead pictures
17556639 dead pictures
17556639 murder photo
17556639 steak and cheese
17556639 photo of death
17556639 photo of death
17556639 death
17556639 dead people photos
17556639 photo of dead people
17556639 www.murderdpeople.com
17556639 decapatated photos
17556639 decapatated photos
17556639 car crashes3
17556639 car crashes3
17556639 car crash photo

This is the very data that google won a legal battle to keep from the government. What is going to happen to the search industry now? What are peoples privacy rights? If people are using AOL to search for ways of killing their spouse what should be done about it?

I think because of the data contained in these search results the government is going to be taking a lot closer look at the search industry and things will definitely change.


Techcrunch has more on it here talking about the stupidity and coming fallout that AOL is facing..



Courtesy of: The Paradigm Shift

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