AOL goes nuts

…and releases the search history of 500,000 AOL users. Here’s what user 17556639 has been looking for:

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

And so on.

TechCrunch is, quite rightly, calling the release of the data “utter stupidity”.

The data includes personal names, addresses, social security numbers and everything else someone might type into a search box.

The most serious problem is the fact that many people often search on their own name, or those of their friends and family, to see what information is available about them on the net. Combine these ego searches with porn queries and you have a serious embarrassment. Combine them with “buy ecstasy” and you have evidence of a crime. Combine it with an address, social security number, etc., and you have an identity theft waiting to happen. The possibilities are endless

17 thoughts on “AOL goes nuts

  1. Gary says:

    It’s interesting. There’s a vigilante element scouring the logs to find people looking for illegal porn, and it does raise an important issue: if – as is clearly the case – search sites can easily spot patterns of potentially illegal activity, should they get the cops involved? On one hand it’s criminalising thought (arguably), but on the other hand if someone’s searching for ways to kill his wife then is it right for search engines to sit back? This story could become a bigger deal than just breach of privacy.

  2. tm says:

    Well look at it another way. There is a fim called ‘how to murder your wife’. It’s a bit old fashined but here’s no reason why the person in question couldn’t have been searching for a copy of it. Then ten mintues later his 15 year old soon takes over the computer and goes loking for some pictures of scary stuff becasue he thinks that’s cool.

    In short everything varies in context and the results lack *at least* 50% of any context – rendering them highly suspect – particularly for making the kind of inductive leaps that people seem to be making from them.

    In fact it’s even worse than that since the results *look* like they have a lot of context but actually they have a lot of context in a single area – which is no help at all since it’s the other contexts that actually matter.

  3. Stephen says:

    I discovered the crime in the midst of an extremely inexplicable ludicrous situation to do with other people and the authorities etc (to long to explain here )

    Even more ludicrous, inexplicable, and longer than the above? That’s not possible.

  4. Miss petttte says:

    This email was not ment for this sight it has not been edited, it is not finished
    i would appreate it if it could be deleated i havent got a clue, the remarks were very funny i only got half way through myself when reality struck help i need a good deed. please deleate thankyou

  5. Stephen says:

    Surely no more ludicrous than that you actually read that far, Stephen.

    I couldn’t stop, it kept seeming as if it was about to make sense!

  6. Miss Petttte says:

    Just checking, thanks.
    Your only as good as your last remark, you coulden’t be better without the (my) email. Thanks for the laugh and heres to the people as long as they read my email and dont miss the point, yous on the other hand are spot on im dealing with people who work for someone else for a living.
    goodbye
    Miss Petttte

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