Your Life as an Open Book

From the New York Times:

Privacy advocates and search industry watchers have long warned that the vast and valuable stores of data collected by search engine companies could be vulnerable to thieves, rogue employees, mishaps or even government subpoenas.

Four major search companies were served with government subpoenas for their search data last year, and now once again, privacy advocates can say, “We told you so.”

AOL’s misstep last week in briefly posting some 19 million Internet search queries made by more than 600,000 of its unwitting customers has reminded many Americans that their private searches – for solutions to debt or bunions or loneliness – are not entirely their own.

So, as one privacy group has asserted, is AOL’s blunder likely to be the search industry’s “Data Valdez,” like the 1989 Exxon oil spill that became the rallying cry for the environmental movement?

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