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Thread: AOL releases search histories of 500,000 users. Deliberately!

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    AOL releases search histories of 500,000 users. Deliberately!

    Last week, AOL deliberately made available online the private search histories of half a million of its users. The move caused uproar and resulted in the company pulling the data over the weekend.

    Among the worries that have been expressed are:

    * How easy it might be to identify some of the users, even though the information was supposed to be anonymous

    * The possibility that google's recent successful court battle with the US government to keep such information private may be undermined

    In addition, there's the high likelihood that spammers and other bad hats will make illicit use of the information. And that fear remains very real even though AOL removed the data because - surprise, surprise - it's still readily available after a whole bunch of mirror-download sites sprung up!

    More in this HEXUS.lifestyle.headline.
    Last edited by Bob Crabtree; 07-08-2006 at 03:09 PM.

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    Senior Member kalniel's Avatar
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    People use AOL?

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    HEXUS webmaster Steve's Avatar
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    It won't just be spammers and unsavoury types using this data. There'll be people who'll study it to see just what information can be obtained just from somebody's search history, so as to reveal just how much of a privacy breach giving up such a dataset can be.
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    I shall never tire... BEANFro Elite's Avatar
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    I'm sorry but, why did AOL do that?

    Blimey! well on the one hand it serves the users right for using AOL's browser (I'm assuming thats how the data was obtained in the first place, but hopefully AOL will recieve a nice juicey fine to teach them a lesson to be lame at thinking up their publicity stunts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve
    It won't just be spammers and unsavoury types using this data. There'll be people who'll study it to see just what information can be obtained just from somebody's search history, so as to reveal just how much of a privacy breach giving up such a dataset can be.
    Steve,

    Quite right but, in my view, if the people who have this data really cared about the bad hats, they'd only dole out the info to others they know can be trusted, rather than making it available for anyone to download.

    That said, once the cat was out of the bag, all the bad hats who want the information would have been have been able to get hold of it, for sure, but likely would have had to pay for it, possibly quite large sums, and that just might have put some of them off.

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    Its profit, It will go to anyone who pays.

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    Absoloutely ridiculous, I'm sure this breaks some sort of law.

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    awm
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    AOL tries to go beyond the bottem yet again. When will they learn people want a cheep, fast, private internet connection with reasonable customer service?

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    Somone managed to do something interesting with it http://edge.i-hacked.com/a-face-is-e...her-no-4417749

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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckskull
    Somone managed to do something interesting with it http://edge.i-hacked.com/a-face-is-e...her-no-4417749
    Nice link!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Crabtree
    Nice link!
    Shows how simple it is to find someone through anonymous data.

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    Who the $%£# told you you could eat my cookies?! Oobie-'s Avatar
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    Always hated AOL and this again proves why

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