I Love Alaska: Amazing Film Inspired by AOL Search Data Release

Some filmmakers have produced an amazing series of episodes based on one person’s searches discovered in the AOL search data release debacle. Here’s the trailer: And the description from the website where you can view them all: August 4, 2006, the personal search queries of 650,000 AOL (America Online) users accidentally ended up on the Internet, for all to see. These search queries were entered in AOL’s search...

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On the "Anonymity" of the Facebook Dataset (Updated)

(Updated below with responses to comments by Jason Kaufman, one of the lead researchers on this project) (Another update: I’m pretty sure the “anonymous, Northeastern university” from where this dataset was derived is Harvard College. Details here) A group of researchers have released a dataset of Facebook profile information from a group of college students for research purposes, which I know a lot of people will...

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Comparing Search Engine Privacy Policy Visibility
May27

Comparing Search Engine Privacy Policy Visibility

Prompted by Google’s resistance to cluttering its homepage with a link to its privacy policy, I decided to take a quick tour of the major search engines to compare the relative visibility of their privacy policies. AOL, Microsoft, and Yahoo! have visible privacy policies on both their homepages and search results page (which is especially important if you use automatic search toolbars on browsers without visiting the homepage)....

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Are Anonymous Data-sets Possible?

A recent column by Christopher Soghoian on CNet predicts a decline in companies sharing “anonymized” user data with the academic research community. Along with last year’s AOL data release debacle, Soghoian points to a more recent case where researchers were able to de-anonymize a data set released by Netflix, comprising of 100 million movie ratings made by 500,000 subscribers to their online DVD rental service. As...

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AOL Announces "Do-Not-Track" List

Leading into this week’s FTC town hall meeting addressing the growing concerns about Internet and search companies developing the means to track and profile users, AOL has announced plans to enable users to sign up for “do-not-track” lists similar to the popular “do-not-call” lists removing phone numbers from telemarketer databases. Users will be able to opt-out of tracking by the largest advertising...

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