AOL recently released the search records of thousands of “anonymized” users. Except, user 4417749 was pretty easy to track down. She’s a 62-year old from Georgia and the New York Times tracked her down and interviewed her.
AOL’s response? “There is not a whole lot we can do.” Stunning. Thanks, AOL, for proving once again that you don’t get it. Of course there’s nothing you can do because you should have done anything in the first place. Why, in the name of all that’s holy, did you post that information in the first place?
As some in the article point out, now we can talk about the long-term aspects of the breaching someone privacy like this and the boundaries of where our data can and can’t go. It’s a long overdue converstation. Too bad we had to drag the search habits of a grandmother into the street in order for us to talk about it.
New York Times article