Marketing Momentum

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Doh! Moment for AOL

In posting its report of 20 million search queries, AOL neglected to remove sensitive information of the 650,000 subscribers performing those queries like users' real names, social security numbers and various other personal information.

And if that wasn't enough, the report also detailed searches for specific people, addresses, telephone numbers, illegal drugs and more - making it easy for law enforcement, employers or friends to identify these people.

AOL posted the 440-meg downloadable file called "500Kusers.tgz" on its research web site, research.aol.com. After several blogs started linking to it, the company took it down.

AOL spokesman Andrew Weinstein told the Associated Press, "It was an innocent enough attempt to reach out to the academic community with new research tools, but it was obviously not appropriately vetted. If it had been, it would have been stopped in an instant."

Gosh, after learning this, I don't feel so bad about my goofs.

Read the full article at TechCrunch.

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