AOL reported to FTC
You got mail, but you don't have any privacy...
AOL has been reported to the Federal Trade Commission for deceptive trade practises for releasing search logs for half a million users.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) made the complaint. It alleges that AOL's action in releasing the information was in breach of their own terms and conditions - that customer information would not be shared with third parties.
The information included 20m search terms from 658,000 AOL users. User names were not included but some individuals may be identifiable from their searches. The New York Times identified user number 4417749 as 62-year-old widow Thelma Arnold.
The EFF found searches from 106 users which seem to contain Social Security numbers and 4,000 searches which included street addresses.
AOL said at the time: "This was a screw up, and we're angry and upset about it."
More from the EFF here.
There are several sites where you can search the weird and wonderful world of what people search for. Try AOLStalker for a disturbing glimpse into a stranger's search box. ®