Friday, August 18, 2006

[news] AOL Search Data

AOL's release of subscribers' search data is an unprecedented event that could spark a change in Internet privacy rules or it could spark a series of lawsuits, according to experts ... the company's research team ignored internal policies by deciding to publish search terms on an open Web site designed to help academics. They did not vet their plan through AOL's privacy team, he said. They attached the information to user identification numbers intended to protect subscribers' anonymity. --InformationWeek
This is one of the most "hmmm" events this year (ok, at least for me) -- For the first time, the regular public sees how revealing search terms are -- But of course that fact had been obvious all along. AOL just accidently pointed the headlight on the giant elephant in the room. Now people will start to seriously wonder about the power in the data that search companies have collected and hold.