Sep 262006

AOL Search Data Release: Class Action Lawsuit Filed

Danny Sullivan at SEW comments on a class action lawsuit filed against AOL for releasing search data.

Only a tiny number of the 658,000 affected individuals suffered any real damage to their privacy. But a small number did. If I were the judge, I'd throw out the class in favor of individual suits.

According to TechCrunch,

The suit also demands that user search data not appear in further search results and not be used for commercial or non-commercial purposes. Though this is probably an unrealistic demand to make, it's also a broad attack on many of the most interesting developments on the web today.

Search data not be used for commercial purposes? Too much money at stake -- never going to happen.

The greatest impact this suit will have is increasing the awareness of search logs in the public consciousness. Look for evening news and 60 Minutes coverage on web privacy over the next few weeks.

Check out the AOL logs for yourself:

Amusing cartoon from xkcd about the logs:

(not making light of a very serious issue -- just find the cartoon funny)


One Response to "AOL Search Data Release: Class Action Lawsuit Filed"
Betrayed says:
I just found out that my data was released by AOL. After finding my data and reading it, I discovered there were several pieces of information that could potentially identify me. What disturbs me most was HOW I found my "private information" was made public on the web. I'm a website owner, and used the name of my website for a search. I was horrified when the number one search result was AOLstalker, one of the many websites still showing AOL's search data. Needless to say, I'm both humiliated and embarrassed by this. I want the remaining AOL data sites shut down, and AOL to pay for the humiliation they caused me and my family. Anyone know how I can do this? Can I start my own lawsuit against them, or do I have to join the class action suit already in progress? Any help on this would be greatly appreciated!

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