America Online recently released the search queries of more than 650,000 of its users for ?research? purposes. The data contained three months’ worth of searches that were attached to unique user IDs. No names were included with the release, but private information was easily gleaned from some of the queries.
The U.S. government pushes back at the search giant, insisting that a request to examine millions of Internet users’ search queries would not violate privacy rights. This could lead to the most fevered technology trial since the Microsoft antitrust case. Check out an excellent Truthdig essay on the issue here.