AOL Screws Up: Releases Customer Search Histories Including ‘How to Kill Your Wife’

Wow:

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.

What should be done for user # 17556639 searching for how to kill your wife, wife killer, how to kill a wife, pictures of dead people?
If you think of anonymous searching as an external ‘stream of consciousness’ then is this a bit like ‘reading minds’?
Coverage on TechCrunch.

6 thoughts on “AOL Screws Up: Releases Customer Search Histories Including ‘How to Kill Your Wife’

  1. Susan Meyer

    Sounds like the plot line of an old Andy Hardy movie, where Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland overhear two men plotting a murder in a coffee shop. The guys turn out to be writers for a radio detective show. Maybe this guy is researching a remake of “How to Murder Your Wife.” (Jack Lemmon?)
    On a more serious note, this releasing of data makes about as much sense to me as the requirement of a special ID in order to use NYC’s Business and Technology library. Or the petting zoo getting anti-terrorist funds.
    There’s gotta be a better way.

    Reply
  2. Rob Schaumer

    Where do we draw the line? Although some of this information could be very useful in a positive business sense. What is ethical in bringing about awareness of peoples personal information; social security numbers, credit cards and other personal information. Are we not just aiding in Identity theft?

    Reply

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