2006/08/08

AOL's Massive Data Breach

And they gave it all away without even a federal court order. In fact, it wasn't even a DoJ request for search queries like we saw last spring with Google and MSN. AOL put up this stuff for "research" purposes, and took...you know...reasonable precautions like anonymizing the user names--not that it matters. The information is so specific that one could probably narrow down an individual with just the data on hand. You also won't have to worry about the information disappearing from the Internet. AOL removed it (DUH!), but the whole database had already been mirrored.

And what a treasure trove it is too. Take user 311045 for example. This person apparently lives in Florida, owns a Scion XB that could use some brake work, and has an ex that elicits queries like these:
how to get revenge on a ex
how to get revenge on a ex girlfriend
how to get revenge on a friend who f---ed you over
replacement bumper for scion xb
florida department of law enforcement
crime stoppers florida
With portals like these, who needs a subpoena?

9 Comments:

the only solace i can take from this is the sickening revelation that when this kind of info is available, we are all in the same boat (i.e. most of us will appear dangerous to some degree or another). what to do with all these dangerous citizens? hmmm, all those detainment camps we keep hearing about? well, at least i'll be in excellent company. remember Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago? Or how about Thunderclap Newman's old song "Something in the Air"? D.K.
It looks to me like your DoJ is run by a bunch of voyeuristic perverts. Maybe you should all put something in the hat toward buying them a subscription to an up-skirts site.
As I recall, AOL is struggling to make profits. This type of stunt sure won't help their bottom line, which is fine by me. I hope they lose every single subscriber.
I just think they should be more honest in their advertising and more open about their abilities to know how folk use their service. It ain't the Internet. It's AOL: a closed system which gives it's users access to the Internet.

It COULD BE a great thing for most folk, especially those with small kids. Instead it's ... whatever it is, eh.
Yikes. And I've been paying for this (until yesterday) for 12 years?
The other ISPs aren't much better when it comes to our privacy. They all have a privacy policy and they all violate it without a second thought.
AOL is evil. I've always hated them. Then my sis who's a professor told me horror stories of how they try to foist their bad software on universities and it all comes from someplace in Saudi Arabia. She got threatened because she gathered a bunch of profs to make sure they didn't get the software. But the profs won (for now). I'm not kidding. I probably sound like a paranoid freak (again) because it was a couple of years ago she told me & I'm sure I don't still remember the facts... maybe I'll look 'em up.

I hate AOL!! "Assholes On Line!"
The thing that's really strange is that AOL was some completely incompetent about how they handled their response. Odd.
AOL = idiot's internet

my step-mom uses it and had me help her..seems they can't send to an email address longer than - such and such - record length..they even state so on their web site..

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