PDA

View Full Version : AOL Proudly Releases Massive Amounts of Private Data



Celtkin
08-07-2006, 02:45 PM
This is just one of many reasons that I wouldn't use AOL even if it was free:


AOL must have missed the uproar over the DOJ’s demand for “anonymized” search data last year that caused all sorts of pain for Microsoft and Google. That’s the only way to explain their release of data that includes 20 million web queries from 650,000 AOL users.

The data includes all searches from those users for a three month period this year, as well as whether they clicked on a result, what that result was and where it appeared on the result page. It’s a 439 MB compressed download, expanded to just over 2 gigs. The data is available here (this link is directly to the file) and the output is in ten text files, tab delineated.

The utter stupidity of this is staggering. AOL has released very private data about its users without their permission. While the AOL username has been changed to a random ID number, the abilitiy to analyze all searches by a single user will often lead people to easily determine who the user is, and what they are up to. The data includes personal names, addresses, social security numbers and everything else someone might type into a search box.

The most serious problem is the fact that many people often search on their own name, or those of their friends and family, to see what information is available about them on the net. Combine these ego searches with porn queries and you have a serious embarrassment. Combine them with “buy ecstasy” and you have evidence of a crime. Combine it with an address, social security number, etc., and you have an identity theft waiting to happen. The possibilities are endless.


TechCrunch.com (http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/08/06/aol-proudly-releases-massive-amounts-of-user-search-data)

SkapePhin
08-07-2006, 02:52 PM
I envision alot of poor saps losing their jobs due to their affinity for squirrel porn...

Spray Mucus
08-07-2006, 02:53 PM
I envision alot of poor saps losing their jobs due to their affinity for squirrel porn...

:wave:

like2god
08-07-2006, 02:53 PM
I really have to switch :shakeno: .

Thanks Celtkin

.

Alex44
08-07-2006, 02:55 PM
I felt bad untill the end :lol:

Who the hell types in 'buy ecstacy' with noble intent?

Spray Mucus
08-07-2006, 02:55 PM
I really have to switch :shakeno: .

Thanks Celtkin

.

you've switch hit for years.

like2god
08-07-2006, 03:26 PM
you've switch hit for years.

You would know......BTW Spray, your hands are so soft.

:lol:

.

d-day
08-07-2006, 03:39 PM
You would know......BTW Spray, your hands are so soft.

:lol:

.

keep buttering him up l2g - this might be your only chance to ever have sex

Spray Mucus
08-07-2006, 03:41 PM
You would know......BTW Spray, your hands are so soft.

:lol:

.


thanx for noticing!

I use cocoa butter. I did an AOL search on it to find that out. Now my employer knows about it too, good thing, his hands look like he washes with battery acid.

Spray Mucus
08-07-2006, 03:41 PM
keep buttering him up l2g - this might be your only chance to ever have sex

he's trying to get me to join Los Lonely boys.

time for an AOL search!

d-day
08-07-2006, 03:48 PM
he's trying to get me to join Los Lonely boys.

time for an AOL search!

is that one of those my-space groups? stick w/ aol, spray - even if they've proudly released massive amounts of private data...

like2god
08-07-2006, 03:51 PM
keep buttering him up l2g - this might be your only chance to ever have sex

:lol:

My only chance with Spray?

I'll pass.

.

like2god
08-07-2006, 03:52 PM
he's trying to get me to join Los Lonely boys.

time for an AOL search!

If you like beating on trolls and defending FH from people who like to come here and spit on this site, you're in.

:wink:

.

like2god
08-07-2006, 03:54 PM
is that one of those my-space groups? stick w/ aol, spray - even if they've proudly released massive amounts of private data...

:lol:

I'll say the same thing that you said to me about being on your buddy list.

"come on, you know you want to be a part of it"

.

d-day
08-07-2006, 04:00 PM
:lol:

I'll say the same thing that you said to me about being on your buddy list.

"come on, you know you want to be a part of it"

.

i wasn't talking about my buddy list - i was talking about my penus stretcher

edit: that i found using aol search

like2god
08-07-2006, 04:26 PM
i wasn't talking about my buddy list - i was talking about my penus stretcher

edit: that i found using aol search

:lol:

I stand corrected.

.

Muck
08-07-2006, 06:38 PM
Back on topic....

Here's an interesting quote from the link given.


User 491577 searches for “florida cna pca lakeland tampa”, “emt school training florida”, “low calorie meals”, “infant seat”, and “fisher price roller blades”. Among user 39509’s hundreds of searches are: “ford 352″, “oklahoma disciplined pastors”, “oklahoma disciplined doctors”, “home loans”, and some other personally identifying and illegal stuff I’m going to leave out of here. Among user 545605’s searches are “shore hills park mays landing nj”, “frank william sindoni md”, “ceramic ashtrays”, “transfer money to china”, and “capital gains on sale of house”. Compared to some of the data, these examples are on the safe side. I’m leaving out the worst of it - searches for names of specific people, addresses, telephone numbers, illegal drugs, and more. There is no question that law enforcement, employers, or friends could figure out who some of these people are.

Inexcusible.

Muck
08-07-2006, 06:38 PM
Here's an apology from AOL's spokesperson...


All –

This was a screw up, and we’re angry and upset about it. It was an innocent enough attempt to reach out to the academic community with new research tools, but it was obviously not appropriately vetted, and if it had been, it would have been stopped in an instant.

Although there was no personally-identifiable data linked to these accounts, we’re absolutely not defending this. It was a mistake, and we apologize. We’ve launched an internal investigation into what happened, and we are taking steps to ensure that this type of thing never happens again.

Here was what was mistakenly released:

* Search data for roughly 658,000 anonymized users over a three month period from March to May.

* There was no personally identifiable data provided by AOL with those records, but search queries themselves can sometimes include such information.

* According to comScore Media Metrix, the AOL search network had 42.7 million unique visitors in May, so the total data set covered roughly 1.5% of May search users.

* Roughly 20 million search records over that period, so the data included roughly 1/3 of one percent of the total searches conducted through the AOL network over that period.

* The searches included as part of this data only included U.S. searches conducted within the AOL client software.

We apologize again for the release.

Andrew Weinstein
AOL Spokesman

like2god
08-07-2006, 06:55 PM
So does that mean that they could be held responsible if someone steals your identity?

.

Celtkin
08-07-2006, 07:05 PM
So does that mean that they could be held responsible if someone steals your identity?

.

Yes, I would think you'd have a strong claim against AOL if your identity was stolen and you could prove it was stolen from AOL.

like2god
08-07-2006, 07:20 PM
Yes, I would think you'd have a strong claim against AOL if your identity was stolen and you could prove it was stolen from AOL.

Ahhh, but there is the catch. How do you prove that someone stole your identity with the help of AOL?

.

Celtkin
08-07-2006, 07:39 PM
Ahhh, but there is the catch. How do you prove that someone stole your identity with the help of AOL?

.
That would be tough unless there was a confession. Also, since most credit cards (if not all) protect you from losses due to identity theft, all you'd be out is the time it took to contact the banks.

It sucks but that is the way I have seen it work in one incident where Visa allowed a identity thief to change a guys billing and shipping info online and never notified the real card holder that the information had changed. The ultimate victim was my company because we shipped a $900 item to the confirmed billing address of the card holder even though it was the identity thief who had confirmed the identity.

Here's what I learned from that:

1. The original card holder was apparently sloppy in keeping his data secret because it is unlikely that a thief guessed his PIN, his log-in and Password for his bank and his secret question and answer
2. VISA was sloppy because they allowed the thief to change the info and never attempted to send an email to the verified email account of the card holder to let him know that his info had been changed.

We were the only entity who did nothing wrong. We verified the address through Verisign who gets their information from VISA, we shipped to the verified address and had the receiving person sign for the package.

We were the ones who had to eat the charge back. To make matters worse, VISA sent the case to their internal mediation system and despite the facts, we lost and had to pay an additional $450.00 fee for the mediation. Their reason for denying the claim? We didn't ship the package to the real confirmed address. Apparently we were supposed to know that VISA were incompetent and that the card holder was sloppy.

Go figure...

PS: If there is a lawyer out there that would be interested in going after VISA, PM me. I'll split the winnings with you 50/50

Perfect23
08-07-2006, 08:20 PM
:wave:

:lol:

Perfect23
08-07-2006, 08:21 PM
Has long has u aint looking at porn u will be allright

SkapePhin
08-07-2006, 08:23 PM
Has long has u aint looking at porn u will be allright

Bro, is your keyboard broken? None of your sentences ever seem to make sense.