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: data.aolsearchlogs.com
Amusing cartoon from xkcd about the logs:
(not making light of a very serious issue -- just find the cartoon funny)