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Christina's LIS Rant
Monday, August 07, 2006
  AOL Research made a big, big mistake
Also read Danny Sullivan's discussion of "Private Searches Versus Personally Identifiable Searches."

Update 8/9: Article in NYT (free reg. req. or find it @ your library using Barbaro, M. and Zeller, Jr., T. (2006, August 9) A Face Is Exposed for AOL Searcher No. 4417749, NY Times Technology).
Asked about Ms. Arnold, an AOL spokesman, Andrew Weinstein, reiterated the company'’s position that the data release was a mistake. "“We apologize specifically to her,"” he said. "There is not a whole lot we can do."

Mr. Weinstein said he knew of no other cases thus far where users had been identified as a result of the search data, but he was not surprised. "“We acknowledged that there was information that could potentially lead to people being identified, which is why we were so angry."”
Seems to me that people doing research at organizations like AOL would have to sign off on understanding how to deal with data -- for proprietary information as well as for privacy. It's hard to believe that thtruly truely not authorized. I think normally when you do research with a dataset you're required to sign a bunch of stuff. Maybe heads should roll for this.
 
Comments:
Here's a link that shouldn't require registration. There's also a nyt link creator.
 
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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Christina Kirk Pikas

Laurel , Maryland , 20707 USA
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