August 8, 2006 | By Derek Slater

AOL Leak Includes Personally Identifiable Information

AOL has rightly apologized for its massive disclosure of over 650,000 users' search data. But it has also seemed to downplay the disclosure by saying, "there was no personally identifiable data linked to these accounts," even as it concedes "search queries themselves can sometimes include such information."

And thus these records can all too easily be linked to a user's identity, as this New York Times article clearly demonstrates. Without a doubt, many AOL users could be identified like the woman in this story -- whether vanity searches for your name or MySpace profile, or searches related to your city and neighborhood, your search history may provide clues to your identity.

While AOL's apology is commendable, its users deserve more than that to help rectify the damage done and to improve privacy-protections in the future.


Deeplinks Topics

Stay in Touch

NSA Spying

EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

Follow EFF

The Foilies submission deadline is Tuesday! Send us your FOIA horror stories for Sunshine Week. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks... #foiafriday

Feb 12 @ 9:58am

Father of the Internet's solution to software vulnerabilities is threatened by TPP's source code disclosure ban: http://www.michaelgeist.ca/20...

Feb 11 @ 4:13pm

Remembering one of the first constitutional challenges to the CDA—a guest post from the founder of Annoy·com: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks...

Feb 11 @ 2:56pm
JavaScript license information