AOL exposes private info in the name of 'research'

From the Department of "Oh No They Didn't" comes this report via Adam D'Angelo and SiliconBeat -- AOL decided to publish a research report last week in which they used 500,000 of its users as unwitting guinea pigs. They've collected the search terms used by randomly selected users between March and May of this year to use for its analysis. And even though the information collected has been "anonymized" to protect users (each person was given a unique number as a reference), Adam had this to say:


Among user 545605's searches are "shore hills park mays landing nj", "frank william sindoni md", "ceramic ashtrays", "transfer money to china", and "capital gains on sale of house"....I'm leaving out the worst of it - searches for names of specific people, addresses, telephone numbers, illegal drugs, and more. There is no question that law enforcement, employers, or friends could figure out who some of these people are...
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