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The Well-Grounded Yuppie

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Monday, August 07, 2006

AOL Search Query Log

Earlier this year, the US government wanted data on search queries from search engines. Most search engines gave up their data without a fight, Google was one of the only ones, if not the only search engine, to say "No, I'm not going to give it to you".

AOL was one of the companies that just handed the government search query data. For some reason, they made the information public over the weekend. This is just my random guess, but were they thinking "If everyone has the same data the government does, it would make the data less valuable and therefore we didn't give the US government something that we aren't willing to give to the public"? The AOL screennames were changed into random number ID's.

Enough people were concerned about it to make AOL no longer post the data, and officially say "It was a mistake and a data leak, we had no intentions of sharing that data".

Of course, no-one can protect any information after it's made public, and many people hosted the data on their own servers after downloading from AOL. Here're some places you can get AOL data(500 MB).



Blogger Andrew said...

So, all four users of AOL Search were found out? Big deal, two of those were my grandparents!

OK, so maybe there were more than four, but I can guarantee none of my search data is on there.

8/07/2006 5:00 PM  
Anonymous Evan said...

it was for search data of 500,000 users. AOL has already come out and said it was a huge mistake, and I saw a story this morning where a user had searched about 50 times on how to kill his wife.

A lot of bad is going to come out from this data out there, privacy concerns are unreal

8/07/2006 8:13 PM  
Blogger Paul Zhao said...

50 queries on how to kill his wife? Niiiiiice. Did he also search for his wife's or his own name? This way we can put an identity to the plotter?

8/07/2006 9:02 PM  
Blogger Brent Brandow said...

i'm scared to think about how many times my wife has searched for ways to kill me

8/08/2006 9:38 AM  
Blogger Paul Zhao said...

Brent, way to protect yourself: Search for ways to kill your wife (on AOL) first. Or did you do that already? Are you the one with the 50 queries searching ways to kill your wife?

8/08/2006 3:42 PM  
Anonymous Brandon said...

thanks for link to the mirrors. i always knew you were good for something. ;)

Funniest post found so far:

UPDATE: More mining = more treasures. Take User #2282, for example: they enjoy “nintendo nes”, “comcast on demand”, “mortal kombat shaolin monks” and “ninja turtles adult nc-17 erotic fanfiction”… um. No. Please, just… no.

8/10/2006 10:21 AM  
Blogger Paul Zhao said...

This wouldn't be Brandon H, the left handed basketball horse player at WBS, would it?

8/10/2006 1:54 PM  
Anonymous Brandon said...

Close. It was I, Brandon H, the RIGHT handed horse player. Have you forgotten my wicked right-handed hook?

.....and by wicked I mean lucky as hell.....

8/11/2006 9:29 AM  
Blogger Paul Zhao said...

You seriously are right handed? Who was the left handed horse player then? He wasn't that great at basketball, so Malic and I always told him he should call "left handed shots" to mess with everybody.

8/11/2006 3:56 PM  

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