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Originally published August 9 2006

AOL search data reveals disturbing details about users

by NaturalNews

(NaturalNews) According to a report by CNET news, internet giant AOL recently published the search histories of more than 650,000 of its users, exposing the lives of regular -- and not so regular -- people to public scrutiny.

While AOL apologized, and the data do not identify the searchers by name, the document was removed from the AOL web site too late to keep it from being replicated across the internet.

This release of this information means anyone can look up three months of AOL search history (Google, Yahoo and MSN searches were not included) for any user whose ID number is published in this directory.

As CNET reports, it gives insight into how much an internet search can reveal about a person. While the information could be skewed by factors such as people who share their user number with other people, the information is still very telling. In their report, CNET compiled excerpts, in chronological order, of other searches released by AOL. The searches are presented as-is, so spelling errors have not been corrected.

AOL user 311045: From the search, it can be surmised that the user probably owns a Scion XB automobile that needs new brake pads, and that the person wants to upgrade with performance oil filters. The user is also likely to live in Florida, and may be contemplating something shady.

AOL user 1515830: Probably a resident of Mahoning County in Ohio, this user did a March 1 search for the calorie content of chai tea, but by March 19, it was revealed that pressing concerns weigh heavily on the user.

AOL user 005315: This user may have been worried that they, or one of their friends, was in danger from an abusive partner.

AOL user 9486162: He or she is likely to be a fan of both poker and the University of Kentucky's football team. On April 26, the user's searches tended toward methods of suicide. It can be hoped that the later, lighter searches were indicative of a change of heart.

AOL user 2708: From the searches, it is reasonable to assume this user is a female with revenge on her mind. She may have set up her ex-boyfriend to receive articles on gay life, Christian literature and possibly Columbia House CDs. Her targeted ex could be a parent living in New Hampshire. The user's search could mean she is also searching for another relationship.

AOL user 4331025: This Massachusetts resident appears to have been focused on his divorce, relocation and the custody of his children, evidenced by the results of his three-month search.

AOL user 100906: These search results probably belong to a Cincinnati woman who is looking to the internet for advice on relationships, spiritual issues and her career.

AOL user 11574916: Likely a male, this user seems to have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol (or maybe cocaine) in Florida, and is wondering if he can avoid the charge in New York. He also seems to be interested in finding a mail order bride.

AOL user 3540871: This user may be a single mother living in Joliet, Ill. with a criminal conviction, hoping to find a job in spite of her past. She may also be the wife of an abusive husband who is about to be released from county jail outside of Chicago.

AOL user 262465: Around April 15 -- tax day -- this user seemed to be interesting in saving on income tax, through any means necessary.

AOL user 3544012: The happy news is this searcher's results suggest a marriage may be on the horizon. The sad news is some of the other search terms beggar the question of whether the spouse-to-be knows about their partner's darker interests.

AOL user 336865: It is no secret that the internet is often used for pornography-related searches, but this user seemed to be obsessed, and not with just any pornography either.

AOL user 591476: These results suggest a female user, maybe a former, current or future student of Temple University in Philadelphia, who has more than a few self-confidence concerns.

AOL user 1755245: While this user's search terms are somewhat disturbing, it is encouraging that they suggest research for a true crime novel.

AOL user 17556639: Hopefully, this user also wanted the information for a true crime novel.

AOL user 59920: These results are scary whether the Colorado resident's research was for a novel or not.


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