AOL apparently made a little boo-boo this morning, when it released its search history for the past three months to the web at large. In addition to the obvious concerns many people had about their search history being available to all and sundy, there was apparently a concern among the people releasing the data that people might be offended by what the data contained:
CAVEAT EMPTOR -- SEXUALLY EXPLICIT DATA! Please be aware that these queries are not filtered to remove any content. Pornography is prevalent on the Web and unfiltered search engine logs contain queries by users who are looking for pornographic material. There are queries in this collection that use SEXUALLY EXPLICIT LANGUAGE. This collection of data is intended for use by mature adults who are not easily offended by the use of pornographic search terms. If you are offended by sexually explicit language you should not read through this data. Also be aware that in some states it may be illegal to expose a minor to this data. Please understand that the data represents REAL WORLD USERS, un-edited and randomly sampled, and that AOL is not the author of this data.
I love almost everything about this story. AOL has apologized, but the biggest thing in my opinion is that this is not going to be an isolated incident. In fact, it has already happened before. The fact that anyone thinks that their search data might be in any way sacrosanct is what is amusing.
I'd suggest a perusal of yesterday's Fark.com thread for some interesting data-crunched results of the "slip-up". They're having a field-day over there. Of course, don't expect anything tasteful. It is, after all, Fark.
on Tue Aug 8 17:55:33 2006
Tasteful? Why would I even want tasteful?!
You can read the thread here. My favourite comment? User dbaggins noted "all your sick cravings are belong to us."