Heads Roll At AOL Over Search Data Leak

from the sacked dept

In the wake of its release of search data from half a million users, AOL's chief technology officer has left the company (the WSJ reports she was fired, Reuters says she resigned) and the manager and researcher overseeing the search data have been fired. It's sort of funny: for the government and other companies that manage to leak personal information that could be used for identity theft, paying for a year of credit monitoring -- which may not be that helpful -- is about the extent of their response. But AOL, whose release of data really wasn't too damaging, beyond the dent its reputation took, has gone so far as to force out those reponsible for the mistake. If nothing else, the company has shown its employees that it takes users' privacy seriously -- something so many other companies that leak more dangerous data don't really seem to do.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Drama2Sell, Aug 21st, 2006 @ 12:35pm

    Whats the AOL keyword for "Scapegoat"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    ND, Aug 21st, 2006 @ 1:03pm

    Leak wasn't that bad

    The fallout from the leak is totally overblown. I think the net positive of what that data can help with (Lee Gomes had a nifty article in WSJ on the data) is better than the embarrassment of being identified by your search history. With all this focus on the health of the tech sector and search and ad dollars, it's worth noting how many of the searches the data holds are likely to not generate a single click (e.g. those looking for free or asking for how to deal with a cheating spouse). The data, of what people are actually doing, is priceless. Sure AOL could have vetted the info a little better before letting it out, but it had the right idea.

     

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  3.  
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    Sanguine Dream, Aug 21st, 2006 @ 1:54pm

    It sucks...

    to see people lose their jobs but at least some responsitility is being taken. I just wonder if they right ones resigned/were fired.

     

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  4.  
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    Alex Hagen, Aug 21st, 2006 @ 5:13pm

    The decline of AOL continues

    As AOL members begun to realize that this is *their* data, and they start reading some of the things that are being pulled from them, like http://www.somethingawful.com/index.php?a=4016 , and the realize that anyone can go through them with tools like the one at http://czern.homeip.net/aolsearch/index.php , the suits are going to start rolling in. This is going to be very very costly for AOL, both in terms of users and actual settlements.

     

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  5.  
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    Mila, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 4:31pm

    Others at fault, as well.

    Too many companies are not securing customer data properly, AOL is just one of them. Another article I read today tells that Amazon.com isn't securing customers' passwords... This is a website that collects, and gives the ability to SAVE, your credit card information.

    What about the Bank of America data breach in 2005? That was over a year ago, yet we keep seeing similar instances.

    We entrust AOL, Amazon.com, and Bank of America among many others with our business and personal information. They have a duty to do whatever it takes in order to secure this data.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    stew, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 8:48am

    Titanic sunk because of a leak? Hows about AOL?

    I am staggered, as a veteran this is the second time in less than a year that I have been sent scurrying to search my exposure because soem one else does not value my privacy as much as me?
    In the frist example, it was 26.5 million person data base at V.A. wherein an entire GVT file was stolen!!!
    Weeks later it happened again with VA data in the hands od a "contractor".
    But today? Today its AOL!!!
    AOL mind you whom I have AOL Security Edition 9.0, spyware,adware, virus scan, and computer check, computer scan, all to prevent what AOL did intentionaly? Released my information and the searches I di as a matter of routine because I work for an International Security Company and I am very concerned that my and my families and my friends identities are secure?
    calls to AOL go to proffessional apologists who deny it ever happend then admit when you tell thenm you know better and then they pooh poooh the whole thing by saying it was an accident? fer christ sake an accident?
    It was an intentional releas of half a million subscribers activities and it was unvetted and unedited and was manifestly compromised!
    Mz Govern the CTO is a dumb assed mental midget whose reckless conduct endangers me and mine in a time of WAR!!!
    To quote Bill Murray on saturday Night live?
    You dumb ignorant slut!!
    Slut to your corporate ego that did such a thing.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2006 @ 7:19pm

    Get the data here

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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