You are what you search

Tuesday, August 8th at 7:30 pm Leave a comment

searchAOL recently released their users’ search histories, subsequently retracting the information when they realized that it was, um, kinda bad to make such information widely available. (I love this: spokesman John Buckley says, “It was an absolute violation of what is our corporate policy: not to do stupid things.” Imagine if AOL had that printed up in their annual report.) Ever do a search for restaurants in your area? Look up your work? Your name and your phone, to see if others could find you? Well…gotcha: you’ve become easily identifiable. And there isn’t any law against search engines storing this data.

Should there be? Undoubtedly, if the records are practically handed over to the public (which was not the original intention of AOL). But using it for studies? Isn’t that different? Personally, I would trust a group of researchers with my information (sworn to secrecy, right?) if it meant improving internet usability. But I’m very pro-internet, and I know not everyone shares that feeling. Maybe we as users should have the choice to opt of any such research and gain the ability to delete all (or selective) internet search records, as we similarly can with browsers’ pages-visited histories. In the meantime, be wary of what you type in that seemingly innocent, little white search field. It’s very eager to get to know you.


Entry filed under: technology, the internet.

Why it’s good to live in the States When two equaled one

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August 2006
    Jan »


Hi! I'm Rachel, and this is my blog. I've tended to assume that if I ever blogged, it'd be a sappy diary. But based on what I've favored reading in other posts, I'm going to do this instead: pluck out isolated, varied things/ideas/experiences I find engrossing, try to choose the few right words out of a potential million, and hopefully cleanse my writing skills in the process. Because, you know, when I was little and was questioned about a future career, my answer was typically: "I'm going to be an author."

Oh, and I'm an aspiring film connoisseur. See my ratings at IMDB.

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