AOL Search Data Shows Users Planning to commit Murder.

*** Update****  Monday July 7th 7 PM PST  

Users in the comments are pissed off at the idea that people can be arrested for planning a crime like murder, calling it minority report like.   I ask you why is it that americans have no problems arresting people that are planning or researching how to conduct terrorist attacks?  Yet if a person plans on killing his wife that is ok, until he actually does it?   How many people do you have to plan on killing before its ok for a company like AOL to hand your records over to the government? I am not taking sides,  I’m just pointing out the obvious double standard.  This story will open a can of worms, and will decide just how private your data online really is.

http://research.aol.com released a list of 20 million + searches by 500,000 AOL users.  Contained in this list are social security numbers, credit cards and other personal information.   There are some truly scary things in this database.

There are hundreds of searches from people looking to kill themselves and even more scary are searches from users that seem to be looking to commit murder.

Check out the search history for  user 17556639,  most recent search is at the bottom of the list..  Does this look like the search history of a user wanting to do something bad? 

17556639 how to kill your wife
17556639 how to kill your wife
17556639 wife killer
17556639 how to kill a wife
17556639 poop
17556639 dead people
17556639 pictures of dead people
17556639 killed people
17556639 dead pictures
17556639 dead pictures
17556639 dead pictures
17556639 murder photo
17556639 steak and cheese
17556639 photo of death
17556639 photo of death
17556639 death
17556639 dead people photos
17556639 photo of dead people
17556639 www.murderdpeople.com
17556639 decapatated photos
17556639 decapatated photos
17556639 car crashes3
17556639 car crashes3
17556639 car crash photo

This is the very data that google won a legal battle to keep from the government.   What is going to happen to the search industry now?   What are peoples privacy rights?   If people are using AOL to search for ways of killing their spouse  what should be done about it?

I think because of the data contained in these search results the government is going to be taking a lot closer look at the search industry and things will definitely change. 

Techcrunch has more on it here talking about the stupidity and coming fallout that AOL is facing..  

*******Update*****  Monday July 7th 10 AM PST  AOL Officially comments in the comments section below.

Andrew Weinstein – AOL Spokesperson  

All –

This was a screw up, and we’re angry and upset about it. It was an innocent enough attempt to reach out to the academic community with new research tools, but it was obviously not appropriately vetted, and if it had been, it would have been stopped in an instant.

Although there was no personally-identifiable data linked to these accounts, we’re absolutely not defending this. It was a mistake, and we apologize. We’ve launched an internal investigation into what happened, and we are taking steps to ensure that this type of thing never happens again.

Here was what was mistakenly released:

* Search data for roughly 658,000 anonymized users over a three month period from March to May.

* There was no personally identifiable data provided by AOL with those records, but search queries themselves can sometims include such information.

* According to comScore Media Metrix, the AOL search network had 42.7 million unique visitors in May, so the total data set covered roughly 1.5% of May search users.

* Roughly 20 million search records over that period, so the data included roughly 1/3 of one percent of the total searches conducted through the AOL network over that period.

* The searches included as part of this data only included U.S. searches conducted within the AOL client software.

Our apologies again.

Andrew Weinstein
AOL Spokesperson  

461 Responses to “AOL Search Data Shows Users Planning to commit Murder.”

  1. Techcrunch Says:

    AOL Proudly Releases Massive Amounts of Private Data

    Further Update: Sometime after 7 pm the download link went down as well, but there is at least one mirror site. AOL is in damage control mode – the fact that they took the data down shows that someone there had the sense to realize how destructive this…

  2. lala Says:

    do we have more search data on him? would be cool if we could somehow identify who it was :)

    • Lisa Says:

      It’s in the movie “Terms and conditions may apply” it’s one of the writers of cold case, writing a new story. His wife is fine ^^

  3. Stephen Says:

    Can (and should) the search engines really do anything? Since it’s not a crime to search for such things.

  4. michael arrington Says:

    It’s very late and my head is starting to hurt, but this post is adding a whole new angle to the story. It isn’t just about AOL doing something bad, its about people doing bad things in general and what to do about it. Should law enforcement know when someone types “how to kill my wife” into a search engine? Or “child porn”? I dunno..there are arguments on both sides but the chilling effect could be massive. Lots to think about.

  5. Markus Says:

    Michael I agree the shit is going to hit the fan…

    119 unique users in my 7/8ths complete dataset searched for terms containing “child porn”. The number of users using other search terms that mean the same thing is far higher. Advocacy groups are going to have a field day.

    I predict the social networking bill that is infront of congress is going to get dragged into this. Yahoo and AOL could fall under the definition of social networking as users have a profile and yahoo even bills their search as “social search”. The question is with all the fear mongering that will come, what are lawmakers going to do and will this industry be facing regulation.

    Now that this data is public,  its just a matter of time until AOL is dragged to court to find out who this user is and what he has done.   This will probably become a test case of some sort.

  6. Stephen Says:

    This same question gets asked with the introduction of every new piece of communications technology. Should the government be able to preemptively monitor your email and IM communications for certain keywords and phrases? Or your telephone calls and snail mail? I think the answer is no, at least not preemptively.

  7. AOL präsentiert: Die dümmsten Momente in der Geschichte des Internets … live! at pl0g.de Says:

    [...] Zwar sind die Suchprotokolle nicht mit dem zugehörigen AOL-Usernamen sondern einer anonymisierten-ID verknüpft, dennoch lässt sich so manches Suchprotokoll recht leicht dem Urheber zuordnen. Nicht selten wird von Nutzern nach dem eigenen Namen oder denen von Verwandten und bekannten gesucht. Nicht selten enthalten Suchanfragen genaue Ortsangaben. Gelegetlich enthalten Suchprotokolle aber auch durchaus Verstörendes. [...]

  8. numlock Says:

    I’ve often wondered if people with access to google’s logs ever comb through it looking for things like this. And what would happen if they found something really scary, say.. someone polling google news for “wtc attack” hours before it happened, what would they do?

  9. seedhcl Says:

    Full archive here: http://aol.br3f.net/AOL-data.tgz (~470MB)

  10. Bigmouth Strikes Again » Blog Archive » AOL goes nuts Says:

    [...] …and releases the search history of 500,000 AOL users. Here’s what user 17556639 has been looking for: 17556639 how to kill your wife 17556639 how to kill your wife 17556639 wife killer 17556639 how to kill a wife 17556639 poop 17556639 dead people 17556639 pictures of dead people [...]

  11. brosinski.com/stephan » Blog Archive » AOL search logs: Scary datamining for the masses Says:

    [...] The data has always been there. But seeing with your own eyes what  500,000 users searched for over the past 3 months: plain scary.  If you look through the AOL search logs you will find people interested in buying drugs, killing their wifes, building bombs. It’s not a crime searching for these things, but search engines are one way to predict the future. By typing words into a search engine people show their possible intends. Majority Report comes to my mind. I’m sure the FBI and other organizations are datamining search logs for years already. But this is the first time the public is able to see them and we are about to see very heated discussions. [...]

  12. Jonty Says:

    Horrendous, despicable, stupid, criminal. This is what AOL has done. Anything else?

  13. Jonty Says:

    Horrendous, despicable, stupid, criminal. This is what AOL has done. Anything else? Sorry, my first URL was wrong.

  14. whateva Says:

    if you don’t do anything wrong, then you have nothing to be afraid of – even if people can view your search history.

    besides, don’t you think that the government can track a large amout internet usage already.

  15. danabbamont.com » AOL Data Reveals Murder Plan Says:

    [...] Absolutely mindblowing. Link to original posting « AOL Declares Holiday for Search Spammers   [...]

  16. :Ben Metcalfe Blog » Blog Archive » AOL releases search data on 500k users… and then tries to take it back Says:

    [...] People’s names, identifiable locations, sensitive subjects, etc – it all gets concerning when you can cluster search terms to a specific user via the unique user id. It’s even alleged on the blogosphere that there are signs of someone plotting murder from their search terms. [...]

  17. Jimmy Daniels » AOL Releases Searchs From 500,000 Users Says:

    [...] Remember the big hubbub of the Government trying to get search data from Google and Microsoft last year? Well, apparently no one at AOL does, they just released search data from 500,000 users, they removed the AOL username, but just changed it to a random id number, so all the data is still collected by user, and apparently, it includes lots of stuff that lots of people would be embarrassed by, or jailed over. According to this blog, it includes user searches for terms like “how to kill your wife”, “how to kill a wife”, “wife killer”, “pictures of dead people”, “decapitated photos” and many more. I wonder what that guy is up to? Hopefully, someone can check him out. [...]

  18. Know It Or Blow It » Blog Archive » AOL Search Data Says:

    [...] While browsing the data, I/others found quite some interesting stuff, like people wanting to commit murder, but I also want to point out the following user-trace (note the timestamps of the last two lines): [...]

  19. Blogger Skills » AOL Search Data Leaked! Says:

    [...] 17556639 how to kill your wife 17556639 how to kill your wife 17556639 wife killer 17556639 how to kill a wifeHere [...]

  20. Stressbacke,Hase und Tiger Says:

    [...] Von Stressbacke, 7. August 2006, 16:12 Uhr [...]

  21. Dr Nic Says:

    If you were an author of thriller/horror fiction, you might commonly enter “how to kill my wife” into Google…

    Search is an extension of our inner thoughts. Doesn’t mean we’re going to do anything about it (recent case in Sweden aside).

    Perhaps Google will be the real-world incarnation of the Minority Report law-enforcement model? I hope not.

  22. ansemond.com » Blog Archive » Privacy: the big flaw in Web 2.0 Says:

    [...] While I understand many of the benefits of Web 2.0, the downsides have always bothered me. Few people realize that everything they do online is public knowledge. Techcrunch is up in arms about AOL’s recent release of data (Google cache). User 17556639 may well find himself in trouble pretty soon. [...]

  23. nuno mira flash blog » 17556639’s Wife - Take Care Says:

    [...] I didn’t look at the whole list (which is 439Mb) but this excerpt is the funny part. Funny for me, not for the wife of AOL user 17556639. [...]

  24. syberghost Says:

    There’s a difference between “law enforcement trolls all the searches and looks for people looking for how to kill”, and “law enforcement has arrested a suspected killer, gets a warrant, and gets to see what he was searching for, to see if he was researching the exact methods that were used to kill the victim”.

  25. How to murder your wife .. the search string - Damon Killians Blog Says:

    [...] In particular, if you 1 user has repetedly been searching for ways to off his wife. Very interesting. Carnage Report | Leave a Reply [...]

  26. a thaumaturgical compendium » Blog Archive » AOL Data Says:

    [...] Clearly, no Institutional Review Board would ever allow such a collection. Users had a reasonable expectation that their searches would not be recorded and openly distributed. Moreover, the ability to link searches of a given user makes this a potentially very revealing data set. See, for example, the user looking to kill his wife. I don’t think that the anonymization of user names is enough to make this usable. [...]

  27. Jonh Says:

    Searching for ‘child porn’ doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a criminal. For instance, I imagine many law enforcement personnel search for this term to find sites that ARE run by criminals.

    Still, I’d bet some of those searches are done by real criminals and pedophiles. Scary stuff.

  28. jtb-in-texas Says:

    Anyone who uses the Internet to search for ways to kill someone needs to make DAMN sure nothing happens to that person while they live…

    There is no privacy on the internet, any more than in one’s garbage… And people ought not to expect it…

  29. Don Says:

    Truly shocking search data there…

  30. AOL’s Search Data Has Eerie Content - CyberNet News: Hardware, Downloads, Gadgets...Technology Done Right! Says:

    [...] The Paradigm Shift noticed one user in particular, with the ID number 17556639 that was constantly doing searches like “how to kill your wife.” That user appeared to be looking for anything they could find like decapitation and car crash photos. If that is just one user it makes you wonder what you’ll find going through the other 499,999 that are in the list! [...]

  31. Sean Says:

    One reason that this data leak is dangerous is that people do make all kinds of assumptions.

    That’s not a nice-looking search history, but it is possible somebody was just researching death on the internet for media or academic purposes. There was a big story last November about someone who searched for murder techniques before killing his wife – I imagine there was a spike of ‘death’ related searches when people were researching that story.

    Even if somebody was obsessed with death, it’s a big leap to say he looks like he’s about to murder someone. You don’t picket the crime shelves at bookstores, do you? Or stop people going to see (nearly all) films because of their death content, do you?

  32. JHackett305 Says:

    I don’t see how you can dare to conjecture what this person’s searches mean in regard to his/ her intent. For all you know this person is in a forensic sciences program and is doing research. This is a gross invasion of privacy, it is foolish to jump to conclusions based on what people decide to look at on the Internet. Morbund interest is hardly intent to kill. You should not be held accountable for things you search for on the Internet, considering something and doing something are completely different. I’d rather live in a society that was less safe then one where everyone was watched all the time, and judged for our searches on the web.

  33. Joe Says:

    “hould law enforcement know when someone types “how to kill my wife” into a search engine? Or “child porn”? I dunno..there are arguments on both sides but the chilling effect could be massive. Lots to think about.”

    The answer is a strong NO. If you can report these things or if the Gov can monitor these things its only a matter of time until the are checking on everything, and then search terms that dont mean breaking a law will be investigated. Its not a crime to research something, and nobody said he will ever act on it even if there was considerable evidence he might commit a crime it doesnt mean he will.

  34. wangarific » Blog Archive » AOL Does What Google Smartly Avoided, Releases Search Data Says:

    [...] Now check this Minority Report-esq find by Markus of Plentyoffish… check out the search queries of User 17556639 and postulate what this user is trying to find out more about. Looks like AOL opened up the can of worms that was bound to be opened and we’ll have to see how this all shakes out. [...]

  35. cream Says:

    i like how he or she decided to search for “steak and cheese” and “poop” in the middle of his or her research…

  36. FOTA Says:

    Why are you guys relying on non-public entities (i.e. corporations) to keep your data private? Haven’t you learned anything in the last 20 years? You give your phone number away once and you end up with telemarketers calling. Give your address away once and you end up with tons of credit card spam letters.

    So why are you putting the onus on corporate search engines to keep your searches private? They could be selling them to other corporations for all you know. There’s nothing criminal about what they’ve done. It’s criminally stupid for you all to have trusted them in the first place.

  37. Andy Says:

    I am pleased to see that not everyone is jumping to the opinion that user 17556639 is a bad person planning on committing murder. There could be a number of explanations for the user’s search. We should not lose our privacy on the Internet, otherwise we could find ourselves living in an Orwellian world monitored by thought police ready to arrest us for thought crimes (if you haven’t already, read ‘Nineteen Eighty-four’).

  38. Jeff Brown Says:

    There was a Twilight Zone episode about a man who could hear the thoughts of others and who overheard the thoughts of a bank guard planning to rob the bank. He finally got the police to investigate but they turned up nothing. Later, the guard (an older gentleman) admitted that every day for many years he HAD been planning to rob the bank but it was an idle fantasy he never intended to act on. Beware seeing menace in the query habits of others. Some people just like to read about murders and dead bodies while noshing on cheese steaks.

  39. Cameron Says:

    Hmm… why is everyone assuming that user was a male?

    Maybe it’s a woman wanting to kill the bloke’s she’s sleeping around with’s wife!?!

    Look between the lines rather jumping to conclusions.

    This is exactly the reason why search data should be kept private.

    It would be like scanning video store rental lists, and snooping on those that rent slasher flicks more than others…

  40. Tom Cruise Says:

    Didn’t any of you see minority report?
    Do you really want to be found guilty of something
    you haven’t done because someone else believes they can read your inentions?
    Also.. this idea that if you aren’t doing anything wrong then why worry about
    someone invading your privacy makes me want to vomit. My business is my business
    until such time as I break the law.

  41. Peter Says:

    not sure why anything would or should change. i mean, this data may put to rest that the notion that the internet is just a place for Republican politicians to check out gay porn, but that doesn’t mean the government should have any more access to those crooked-ass politicians’ data. 4th amendment and all that. nothing different than people going into a bookstore and reading from books.

  42. Or..The alternative is...TADA Says:

    What if it is the gov doing a spoof just to get this thing back on the radar…

  43. Monica Says:

    I’m a writer and research extremely weird topics, including torture. I spend lots of time at the Crime Library. Should I go to jail, or even be investigated, for my interests? This is nothing but Big Brother lurking. Cops suspect you of murder, or planning a murder. Let the goddamn cops do their job the right way, not looking at search engines with their hands on their asses.

  44. egon Says:

    eh, teaches them to still be using aol :)

  45. typhoid Says:

    fucking minority report, man…

  46. techborg » Technology » AOL Goofup leades to Google Highest Keywords Leak?! Says:

    [...] Plentyoffish.wordpress.com  has already begun to analyze the search data and is posting the results of his analysis. Some of the queries are downright disturbing. Specific posts include “Aol data shows users planning to commit murder”, “AOL data showing Myspace growing SEO spam” “Myspace killing dating sites“ [...]

  47. Freak Stomper Says:

    Well look at the fucking shit people are searching for! Dataminging and government surveillance are a good thing. Child porn stings rock. One by one, we’ll catch all of you sick fuckers. Lets look forward to more sex offender lynchings also. Fuck the privacy of any piece of shit that searches for stuff like that.

    Whats more is that all you pathetic fearmongers and big bother conspiracy theorists are so way fucking off. Its all just a big distraction. My father, a vet from veitblackops, always told me…”no matter where you are, always remember somebody is looking at what you’ve been doing.” mainly in the early 70’s. Privacy has been gone for a long time, they are just starting to reel in the lines.

  48. Absolute Perspective Says:

    This is ridiculous FUD. This guy could be an author trying to get ideas for a book. Maybe he’s a COP trying to find out how a married woman might have been killed by her husband. Maybe it’s a college student studying law writing a paper about murder.

    It’s all out of context and you (most of you) are evil for not even realizing how destructive you are becoming over this topic. How can you even think to push an investigation or want to find out who this person is when you have no context. You could be ruining someone’s life.

    Releasing personal information to anyone for any reason (even the government) without permission or warrant due to *real evidence* which this is not, is wrong. This country (USA) is going to facist hell at the speed of light.

  49. Robert Says:

    You know I read the post someone made about if you are not doing anything wrong you have nothing to worry about. I will tell you what. Just for you let us take away your right to privacy here so the whole world cans see your searches. Do you ever search for your SSN#, phone number and/or name on line to see if it was posted without your consent? Do you ever worry your day care provider might be a child molester so you search for child molestation and the care takers name or their business name? Do you ever want to find ways to explain sex to your teen age daughter? Gee I wonder what those search terms might look like? Are you famous? Imagine if you type in the name of restaurant you want to go to and the word paparazzi to see if they are known to hang there. Let’s hope they do not see that? Oh, do you have a rare disease or maybe you are pregnant and are looking for clinic in your area so you type in your zip code? In a rural areas that might leave oh 1-30 people it could be? Oh, maybe you think your son is gay? I wonder what you would search for then? Do you have any fetishes or other unusual hobby that might be embarrassing for people to know about but is not illegal. Remember that rural issue again? Getting it yet, because I could go on and on. This is an personal invasion at its most basic level. Not only does it expose personal details of peoples lives, but it is open to wild misinterpretations. Take the wife killing search. Has anyone thought they were simply looking for news they had heard of on the topic, looking for a good book they had heard about with that topic whose title they could not remember, were a wife worried their husband was thinking about this, or maybe that it was exactly what they were looking for but it was only a private fantasy that let them cool off one day after an angry argument? Without context any term can seem scandalous or even criminal. Finally, there is the greater issue. When you start taking away more and more privacy. Each time you chip away at the greater fundamental concept that you deserve this right at all. Each time the barriers are weakened and easier to ignore. If the process goes unchecked eventually the concept will mean nothing at all. Hey try this, ask an adult what they think about metal detectors, random locker searches, drug sniffing dogs, drug tests and pats downs in schools. Now ask a child from a school that has done these things all their lives. You will see what this decay does to what they consider ok and normal. It is not rocket science to see this is a path we do not need to be heading down.

  50. Rich Says:

    google trends results for “kill wife”

    http://www.google.com/trends?q=kill+wife&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all

  51. elkabong Says:

    You are EXACTLY right Robert. The US government has somehow twisted everything the founding fathers believed in, and now we need to search for malevolent ideas.

    And worst of all, the American people have fallen for it.

  52. LordAndMaster Says:

    Hmm, the simple fact here is that people are innocent until proven guilty, merely searching for something like this does NOT make you a criminal…

    The privacy issues are staggering.

  53. The Bardguy’s Blog » Scary - Says:

    [...] The Paradigm Shift » Blog Archive » AOL Search Data Shows Users Planning to commit Murder. So sometime last week AOL decided to release the seach history of all of their members…according to some estimates it’s more than 20 million searches by 500,000 users. Someone has gone through the database and located one particularly scary set of searches by one user. [...]

  54. US Attorney General Says:

    In analyzing the comments on this blog, I hereby suspect that many people who have posted comments are considering doing very horrible things to their wives. Just look at all the terrible things they have written! Surely their ISPs have logs of this, and this warrants furthur investigation. Maybe I can look for patterns of other webblogs on which they have posted such atrocities. If enough evidence comes up in their ISP logs, I will feel morally obligated to warn their wives of this serious matter, so that they may have the opportunity to seek safety, or decide for themselves if their husband truly loves them, or if something more sinister is going on.

    After all, if they’re really innocent, they have nothing to worry about, so why not check them out? I could warn the wives of all husbands posting such horrible things in the comments of this webblog that their husband recently has posted the following phrase: “…” (not repeated here, as I am morally pure and cannot even speak of the unmentionable phrases written here–besides, someone might take it out of context and think *I* was the one thinking it).

    If nothing sinister is going on, then no one should object to this right? Those who object likely do so because they do not want to be found out. I should investigate them as well.

  55. Chubbs Says:

    All this happening on the verge of AOL canning it’s ISP service and going to a “content portal”. Nobody is going to use any of your free services AOL, because your trustworthiness if terrible.

    If you give away your subscribers information, you damn well will give away your users who don’t pay!

  56. AOLSearchLogs.com Says:

    A lot of people has a sense of false security that their trace on the internet is anonymized. But isnt it. If the government can access logs from multiple search engines and cross index them, information will become even obvious. Now the data file is out on the internet, given enough people (the net), some more interesting findings will be discovered.

  57. Fred Farkle Says:

    This stinks

  58. Cyril Dent Says:

    Maybe I’m just too naive :-) but maybe that searches belong to Dan Brown who is planning his brand new bestseller. Does this make him a criminal? Every coin has two sides, and I think the presumption of innocency is one of the building stones of justice in a democratic land.

  59. 17556639 Says:

    Hello guys, I don’t see what the fuss’ all about.

    Now, can anyone of you point me to places where I can find dead wife pictures?

  60. grubygrub Says:

    minor of file here
    grubygrub.pininxweb.com/aol/

  61. Gman Says:

    How do you know that some of these people aren’t looking this stuff up for a school project or something like that?

  62. Dickard Says:

    I think the creepiest part is that he searched for “poop” in the middle of this.

    BUT, if someone posted a want ad looking for someone who “knew a thing or two about acing your wife” — don’ t you think that might warrant inquiry by the police? How is this any different?

  63. concerend Says:

    You have to make a lot of assumptions to believe that a series of searches reveal a person’s intent. Remember, “innocent until proven guilty”.

  64. DaddyDik Says:

    What about the SSN and credit card numbers?

  65. Jeremy Says:

    Ok, but Steak And Cheese?

  66. observer Says:

    Definitely sick but funny as well, note how the searcher after searching for all the death and murder related stuff actually got hungry and searched for “steak and cheese” —- lunchbreak before continuing haha

  67. Captain Shagnasty Says:

    I love the way that these dicks figure they know what people are really thinking because of what they type into a search engine window. The REALLY scary thing is not what these idiots searched for, but the fact that the government will try to put limits on the Internet and our rights because of retarded things like this web page.

  68. Andrew Weinstein Says:

    All —

    This was a screw up, and we’re angry and upset about it. It was an innocent enough attempt to reach out to the academic community with new research tools, but it was obviously not appropriately vetted, and if it had been, it would have been stopped in an instant.

    Although there was no personally-identifiable data linked to these accounts, we’re absolutely not defending this. It was a mistake, and we apologize. We’ve launched an internal investigation into what happened, and we are taking steps to ensure that this type of thing never happens again.

    Here was what was mistakenly released:

    * Search data for roughly 658,000 anonymized users over a three month period from March to May.

    * There was no personally identifiable data provided by AOL with those records, but search queries themselves can sometimes include such information.

    * According to comScore Media Metrix, the AOL search network had 42.7 million unique visitors in May, so the total data set covered roughly 1.5% of May search users.

    * Roughly 20 million search records over that period, so the data included roughly 1/3 of one percent of the total searches conducted through the AOL network over that period.

    * The searches included as part of this data only included U.S. searches conducted within the AOL client software.

    Our apologies again.

    Andrew Weinstein
    AOL Spokesperson

  69. Cowicide Says:

    The absolute idiots on this message board that think someone typing in those things should be no hunted down and exposed should be hunted down, exposed and deported to China.

    That could very easily be law enforcement looking for troublemakers by performing those searches or someone researching for writing a crime book, just morbid curiosity/goofing off or countless other reasons besides someone looking into committing a crime.

    FUCK YOU, THOUGHT POLICE. DIE.

    Read books like ‘1984’, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and LEARN from them.

    I’m disgusted with you nazi morons…

  70. sue Says:

    YES I agree it is truley shocking search data.BUT it is also none of MY business.It is only ANYONES business if this person is charged or suspected of an ACTUAL crime!!!!

  71. andy Says:

    “Steak and cheese” is a site like rotten.com…

    He probably saw an image with the steakandcheese.com watermark and was checking out the site.

    … no lunch break…

  72. jonny Says:

    I’m with FOTA. I mean, for real. I know everytime I search for ANYTHING, it is being compiled and tagged. It is just the way things are done. Period. If we don’t like it, we can change it. But who is changing it other than the government and corporations making the rules in their favor?

  73. Rose DesRochers Says:

    This is as bad as the guy who murdered that Oklahoma girl and blogged about his plans to eat her. Sad really sad.

  74. Mark Black Says:

    Troll. This might have been more meaningful if not for the gratuitous link back to your own site. Nothing to see here, move along. :p

  75. Dana Cline Says:

    In case those poor hoodwinked Republicans haven’t noticed, the government _is_ monitoring internet usage. As well as your cell phone and land line usage. And they claim its all perfectly legal in the war against terror. Anyone complaining is labeled “pro-terrorist”. Anyone suing over this has their suits dismissed by some or another conservative judge.

    Either get used to it, or get out and vote for someone who won’t stand for this kind of 4th amendment abuse.

    Logically, though, the data is there. No one has any privacy, not even within their own homes. If you do evil stuff, you probably will get caught eventually.

    For an interesting reference, read The Light Of Other Days, by Arthur Clarke and Steven Baxter.

  76. king Says:

    How can we assume that he was trying to kill his wife. We dont know the context of his search. Without that we cannot make any assumptions.

    For example “what if he was a writer researching his new book – a murder mystery?”

    This argument could be applied to any of these search incidents without presumption of motive.

  77. understudy Says:

    Department of Pre-Crime ala Minority Report.

    _

  78. abc Says:

    I found some stuff like “nsa job offering”, probably someone’s cover will be blown ;)

  79. Yoni Brett Says:

    haha – a funny (hopefully fake) article I found that links to this one…

    http://thesarc.blogspot.com/2006/08/aol-user-says-just-kidding-about.html

  80. AOL not only released search queries to the government, they're available to EVERYONE - The Liberty Lounge Political Forums Says:

    [...] Remember back in January when Google got all that praise for resisting the federal government’s effort to collect a big batch of search queries for a separate case? Google got all sorts of praise for supposedly protecting the privacy of its users, even as many other companies turned over the data. Among those who turned over the data without question was AOL. Apparently, they’ve figured that, if the government has such data, why shouldn’t everyone else? Perhaps they just figured that the government was likely to leak the data anyway. No matter what the reasoning, they’ve decided to simply hand it out themselves for "research" purposes to anyone who might want it. SiliconBeat points us to someone who noticed the release of search logs from 500,000 unlucky AOL users. While the data had been made somewhat anonymous by replacing usernames with numbers, in plenty of cases the data is clear enough to work out who the user is. It seems that the outrage over this has convinced AOL to pull down the data, but plenty of copies are already out there. It’s really quite stunning, given the debate just months ago about the importance of Google protecting this data, that anyone at AOL would think it was a good idea to basically release the same exact type of data into the public, exposing the private searches of thousands. More… Here’s the original (I think this is the original article): http://www.ugcs.caltech.edu/~dangelo…ch-query-logs/ Here’s one AOL user that seems like he might be interested in murdering his wife. The Paradigm Shift Blog Archive AOL Search Data Shows Users Planning to commit Murder. If you want the list, here: AOL search data (that site can be found on digg and all of the other sites that had this story) [...]

  81. littleman Says:

    Notice that the would be killer is also a typical AOL idiot — he searched for a domain.

  82. Online dating » AOL Search Data Shows Users Planning to Murder Wife Says:

    [...] OPW — Aug 7 — Markus Frind, CEO of PlentyofFish.com, from his blog ‘The Paradigm Shift‘…  [...]

  83. Rose DesRochers » Blog Archive » AOL Releases Massive Amounts of Private Data Says:

    [...] Contained in this list were social security numbers, credit cards and other personal information. The list also revealed some frightening findings.  [...]

  84. Randy Jensen Online Blog | randyjensenonline.com/blog Says:

    [...] Well, even when AOL tries to save face and look like its doing the right thing, they screw up. Shortly after freeing up their services, they posted 650,000 AOL users’ search results (over 20 million results/2 Gigs worth!). According to TechCrunch the data included all searches from each user over a three month period, whether they clicked on a result, addresses, social security numbers, names, essentially anything that you could possibly see yourself typing into search box. The Paradigm Shift got a hold of the data and posted some pretty screwed up searches as well. [...]

  85. Pat Says:

    Well the worlds full of strange people! No child porn shouldn’t beany where anytime on the net or any where else. 2nd offing your wife sites i can say shouldn’t be , either. But there is a retro -spec. with offing the wife. See there are lawyers out there, cia , fbi, even just a normal person who may have seen something happen and was just trying to get the information out . ican understand but most likely this information would be kept in a need 2 know site!

  86. Pat Says:

    … and sometimes a person wants to know how a person has past on , so they can try to not make it happen to them! ahhhh!

  87. bigemo Says:

    I agree with robert

  88. Ron S Says:

    Well it will be interesting to see if the rolls at aol decrease in number after/if this hits mainstream news…On the other hand these ARE aol member we are talking about right ;-0)

  89. reader11 Says:

    What if the person is searching to write an article? what if that has nothing to do with his wife; what if he wasn’t married (it would be funny wouldn’t it?)

    why don’t we look at it the other way around; know how to protect yourself by knowing how you might be harmed!

  90. Standard Mischief » Blog Archive » AOL releases their customer’s raw search data. Says:

    [...] Translation: We meant to do this, but at the time we didn’t consider how the public would perceive it. The backlash stings, I tell you. If our left hand knew what the right hand was doing, we would have never done this. [...]

  91. SteveC Says:

    Your silly conclusion illustrates why we should be more open and less willing to give up our personal liberties to the government for the sake of security. Searching for “dead people” or “how to kill my wife” is absolutely no indication that this user has homicidal tendencies. There’s no evidence that this person has a wife, or is even a man for that matter. It could easily be some 13 year old or group of 13 year olds (just guessing from the spelling and other searches) looking for crushed skulls on ogrish.com.

  92. Alex Says:

    Let the guy, who had defected a fascist country (Russia) for US to say a word… OK?
    Tom Friedman said lately (I think it was in Charlie Rose interview):”We are one more 9/11 away from fascism…”
    I disagree.
    This juicy episode shows that we are already THERE! Congratulations!

    What we see here is a INTENTIONAL LEAK! Nobody can convince me in the opposite. This whole situation has been made up. I’m not a paranoic, but this is just a SECOND step (the first one was courting Google for the same information). I know fascism and fascists very well, this is how they operate.

    I would suggest the guys who speculate here about ‘intentions’ of other people based on this information TO STOP AT ONCE! NOW! This is you, who consume the information obtained by illegal means right now. This is you, who violate the rights of those people!

    This is the main trap of fascism! Fascists make EVERYBODY to behave as criminals and in this way make all people criminals (consult memoirs of concentration camps guards! read what they say!).

    Congratulations once again!

  93. Markus Says:

    Most likely the person that the excerpt pertains to has issues; however, there are other possibilities. For example, if I were writing a book and needed a plot — and the plot was the murder of a spouse — then I certainly would need to research such things.

    I guess what I’m trying to point out is the danger in taking things out of context. There are plenty of authors that would take exception to people reading their minds, their search criteria, etc, and then burning them at the stake. (Isn’t that what we used to do?)

    Also, consider the ramifications of intellectual property theft. Someone searches on their name, or some other personally identifiable information, and then uses search to aid in their work. Mining could conceivably give competitors insight into what companies are working on.

    A person searching on information to commit a crime does not have to use the web…they can simply go to the library. Since the majority of us are just trying to live our lives, does it make sense to allow our every move to be tracked, processed, and analyzed for malicious behavior? Who sets the standard for what is right to “think” about and what is wrong to “think” about? What is wrong to search on…and what is right to search on?

  94. Rob Says:

    Maybe user 17556639 was looking for: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058212/

  95. Akkam’s Razor Says:

    [...] Check out the search history for  user 17556639,  most recent search is at the bottom of the list..  Does this look like the search history of a user wanting to do something bad?  From the Paradigm Shift: 17556639 how to kill your wife 17556639 how to kill your wife 17556639 wife killer 17556639 how to kill a wife 17556639 poop 17556639 dead people 17556639 pictures of dead people 17556639 killed people 17556639 dead pictures 17556639 dead pictures 17556639 dead pictures 17556639 murder photo 17556639 steak and cheese 17556639 photo of death 17556639 photo of death 17556639 death 17556639 dead people photos 17556639 photo of dead people 17556639 www.murderdpeople.com 17556639 decapatated photos 17556639 decapatated photos 17556639 car crashes3 17556639 car crashes3 17556639 car crash photo [...]

  96. AOL leaks massive amount of user search data - PC & Network Services: Blog Says:

    [...] http://plentyoffish.wordpress.com/2006/08/07/aol-search-data-shows-users-planning-to-commit-murder/ [...]

  97. George Says:

    ABSOLUTELY wrong of AOL to do this. That data should not be considered their property. It belongs, in bits and pieces, to the users that created it. They should not be selling or giving away that info. As for the privacy issues, they are numerous. Should the government, or anyone else, be able to see that I might be searching for Hezbollah? Perhaps I am doing a book report or want to investigate the crisis for myself. Why should I EVER have to justify my actions to some group or government agency because they think I might be a terrorist. Since I can not trust everything my current government tells me, or allows to be made public, I resort to my own investigations. AOL had no right doing what they did. This will only lead to users mistrust and therefore deceit upon setting up accounts. It was stupid and destructive to the American freedoms that our country is based upon.

  98. Smetty’s Soapbox » AOL: de grootste search en privacy blunder ooit Says:

    [...] Andrew Weinstein, een woordvoerder van AOL, vertelt in de comments (inclusief verontschuldigingen) van de plentyoffisch blog wat er precies vrijgegeven werd: [...]

  99. Online dating » right through to youAOL Search Data Shows Users Planning to Murder Wife Says:

    [...] s OPW — Aug 7 — Markus Frind, CEO of PlentyofFish.com, from his blog ‘The Paradigm Shift‘…  [...]

  100. SoulCast Says:

    How long before the gov’t starts tracking all this data? It sounds like the minority report.

  101. Lantheaume.com :: AOL releases searches - this is too insane for words. Says:

    [...] Read this article: http://research.aol.com released a list of 20 million + searches by 500,000 AOL users. Contained in this list are social security numbers, credit cards and other personal information. There are some truly scary things in this database. [...]

  102. TJATAW Says:

    The Lowlifes who want to kill their spouse, make a bomb, look at nekkid children, steal someone’s identity, and do any one of the hundreds of things that can now be accomplished in anonymity thanks to the Internet, should be at the same risk of detection as the ordinary scumbag had to undergo before Al Gore invented it, the Internet, that is. I think that search engine logs, of the same type that AOL recently used to step on it’s collective genitalia should be made available to the public as a matter of course. This fact should be advertised. P. S. A’ s should be made about it, both TV and radio. This would have the effect of driving the incipient scumbag back into his hole, deprived of the method of easily obtaining the information necessary to carry out his sculduggery. Therefore, criminal behavior would be limited, a little. Of course, there will still be stupidos who put their entire life history into a Google search. But nothing can be done about them. Fortunately, people who are that dumb usually don’t have anything worth stealing anyway.

  103. Peri’s Wrinkle » Blog Archive » Unbelievable Says:

    [...] I was over at Rose’s blog reading about AOL’s latest fiasco and I followed one of her links to this AOL Customer Service experience. [...]

  104. Jan Says:

    It would NOT be “cool” to identify the guy searching for how to kill his wife. This would destroy his life! Make access to the data as hard as possible. Do not share them on P2P, shut down the mirrors. Think.

  105. John Bokma Says:

    How much more can you milk a short story? Man, imagine someone having plans on writing a novel and looking for ideas, plots, and images in order to create a realistic story.

    You’re wildly speculating, but hey, everything for a few hits.

  106. Publishing 2.0 » Lawyers, Priests, and AOL’s Data Release Says:

    [...] I would be remiss if I didn’t comment (along with the rest of universe) on AOL’s apparently accidental release of 20 million+ searches by 500,000 AOL users. Markus over at The Paradigm Shift has some horrifying data on homicidal and suicidal intentions mixed in with all the research and buying intentions: This is the very data that google won a legal battle to keep from the government. What is going to happen to the search industry now? What are peoples privacy rights? If people are using AOL to search for ways of killing their spouse what should be done about it? [...]

  107. Arthur Says:

    The Bush administration has proposed and is trying to force all ISPs to keep two years of data tracking all Americans’ searches and surfing.

    Many in this discussion point out the dangers of taking search terms out of context. The government has shown it intends to do analysis of search terms and surfing tracks in a big way (if it is not already doing it).

    I am sad for my country. Over two hundred years: thousands of brave men and women giving their lives for tbe freedom of us all, a painfully slow but glorious evolution towards equal and individual rights for all …

    and within a few years, the combination of new technology and an authoritarian administration destroy it.

  108. Augury » Blog Archive » AOLicide Says:

    [...] The Plenty of Fish weblog reveals some very concerning searches conducted by one AOL user. (Plenty of Fish is actually a dating site, so I have no idea why this guy is writing about it.) Makes you wonder what impression others could draw from your own searches if exposed in a similar way. Especially as a fiction writer and a naturally inquisitive person I’m certain I’ve searched some dubious terms over the years. Still, it’s hard to see the alternate potential explanations when you’ve got someone looking up, “killing your wife” and “steak and cheese” (Steak and Cheese is presumably a repository of images of corpses and the like, although I have no interest in validating the claims). Posted in Technology, Miscellaneous by Cineris at 1:45 pm Leave Your Comment [...]

  109. Larry burns Says:

    My Favortie part of his search history is the random cheese steak query in the middle of the all the death photos. Murderers gotta eat too! LOL

  110. Joe Says:

    I’d like to see a side by side comparison of AOL users searching for murder versus Google users searching for murder.

  111. Polyhead Says:

    The thing is, you can already see some of the htings people search for on google by watching apache logs. You can see the search words that brought people to your website from google there. Its kind of distrubing what you see in there once in a while. People really do search for things like “rape fuck sex” and “little girl fuck rape.”

  112. Philip Says:

    Not just checking search engine queries – I would like the government to have the capability of monitoring everyone’s thoughts, so that if anyone forms the intent to commit a crime, or has any immoral thoughts, they can be locked up before they do any harm.

  113. Polyhead Says:

    oh, and just to show what i’m talking about, here is the first thing grep snagged off of my logs.

    68.46.29.15 – – [14/Mar/2004:19:38:27 -0800] “GET /Services.php HTTP/1.1″ 200 3510 “http://www.google.com/search?q=PHP+Sucks&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&start=10&sa=N” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)”

    It also shows the IP of the machine reqeusting it, looks like this guy wants to know why we all thing PHP sucks. That person could ultimatly be tracked down if i had the time and will.

  114. Sigmund Fraud Says:

    2303405 has some interesting issues, too. :^)

  115. Doc Holliday Says:

    >if you don’t do anything wrong, then you have nothing to be afraid of – even if people can view your search history.

    If this weren’t so scary, it would be funny. This entire concept was created by the government as a way to use guilt to get people to say things that are not in thier own best interests.

    It is not what you have done “wrong,” it what the government says you have done wrong, or thinks you have done, or thinks you might do wrong in the future, or… Laws are intentionally written with a great deal of ambiguity, so no one person can say exactly what a law means. And, based on subjective interpretation, the resources of the government can align against you to “prove” that you did something “wrong” – not something you think was “wrong,” something they THINK was “wrong.”

    The essential realization here is that the government is not benign, it is not here to help anyone but themselves and the government has never and will never be in the business of “helping” people. They are in the business of arresting, convicting, imprisoning and putting people to death. Cops and other government officials don’t get good performance evaluations, raises or promotions for making things safer, they get them for arresting people, whether a crime has been committed or not. Law enforcement and regulatory agencies are not proactive – they are not intersted in stopping things before they happen – they are entirely reactive. They wait until crimes have happened, or until they believe they happen, and then arrest/fine/control people. If there aren’t enough real crimes/regulatory violations/etc., they have to make them up to in thier own minds, (for example, Michael Jackson) in order to assure themselves a “good” career path and steady employment.

  116. Trollfessional Says:

    Why was he searching for “steak and cheese”? Did all those pictures make him hungry or something?

  117. AJWM Says:

    See the 1965 movie “How to Murder Your Wife” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058212/), With Jack Lemmon and Virna Lisi. A cartoonist ends up on trial for murder because of a series of comic strips depicting the murder of his fictional character’s wife, and the fact that his own wife has disappeared.

    Maybe this was just some would-be mystery/thriller novelist doing research?

    What bothers me is the “steak and cheese” thrown in there. I’d have second thoughts about accepting a dinner invitation…

  118. Eric Says:

    Let’s step back a minute.

    Presumeably, this whole collection is actually interesting and informative data
    about peoples’ patterns of interest. Yes, the privacy violation of including any personally identifying searches is terrible, but that’s water under the bridge now.

    Here’s a question. Are we, collectively, afraid of finding out what human beings are really like? What our statistical behaviour actually suggests, as opposed to what sanitized morality-focused religious “education” would have us believe about peoples’ nature?

    The “shocked and appalled” tone of the responses certainly suggests that we are afraid of finding out the truth about ourselves. Some of the negative reaction is, justifiably, about the dumb release of identifying information,
    but what of the rest of the negative reaction? Surely it would be fascinating to do some statistical socio-psychological research on this data, and other data like it, and find out answers to questions like “what are people interested in,
    in general, and relatively how much are they interested in various topics, and various connections between topics. This would tell us a lot about the behaviour of the human animal. Are we ready to know these answers?

  119. Ambrose Says:

    There is actually a movie called “How to Murder your Wife”, before we jump to the most obvious conclusion.

    The most obvious conclusion IS probably the right one, but I just searched for HTMYW the other day and don’t particularly want a knock on the door just because I enjoy Jack Lemmon comedies.

  120. BlogReader Says:

    “AOL Search Data Shows Users Planning to commit Murder.”

    Ehm, no. While those searches appear weird, you don’t really know what that person’s thinking. It might just as well someone getting information on what is available on the Net on that topic. Or, now that those terms are out there, someone else trying to figure out what that user got as search results, retyping the terms.

  121. Peter Says:

    Hey, I got an idea! A Internet Explorer/Firefox plugin that publishes your internet searches to a website with your random user id. This is first recommeded for the people that say they ‘aren’t scumbag’ and ‘have done no wrong’

    I have seen the enemy and he is us!

    At what level does/should this monitoring occur. Should it target child molesters, murders, drug dealer? I can tell you this, if it works, that list will only grow… Political dissenters, small time tax evaders, inventors, homosexuals, jews? The problem with keeping these logs is that I nor You can predict the future. What is considered legal today may be the focus of tomorrows witch hunt. These logs should under no circumstances be kept.

    Hypocrite? Me, no. I administer and run a few of my own websites. I do keep seach terms to see what is popular on my site, but I do not keep the time or referring ip address.

  122. m3 Says:

    The kid can’t even spell, sounds like a big turmoil over a childish search. Pathetic to release it, yes, even more pathetic to put that particular search as an example of anything worthwile.

  123. Oxfordmike Says:

    While the search terms are cumualitvely very creepy and potentially damning, this might also be a writer or researcher.

  124. Archena Says:

    Leaving aside the search terms themselves, it seems a very strange oversight that AOL could release this information without considering the consequences.

    Their research site is timing out for me now. I guess the took it down, but once something’s on the Internet it doesn’t go away easilly. They’re too late if they want to try and prevent people from seeing these now.

  125. MisterFister Says:

    I think nearly all of us have, at one time or another, entered query terms like “lolitas” and
    “child porn”. Not because we’re looking for the stuff, but because we’re wondering exactly
    what the extent of the problem is. It’s fully expected that after a sensationalistic news
    report about the horrors of porn on the net, that many, many users are going to go
    look for themselves.

    It is impossible to distinguish the millions of “innocent” searches for these terms from
    the very, very rare cases where actual criminals are on the prowl.

    It’s important to distinguish crimes from thought crimes.

  126. Gogelmogel Says:

    AOL’s privacy scam – A major turning point in the history of the digital age…

    Why this inconceivable gigantic privacy abuse from AOL could be the definite Big Bang of the digital information age? Because it’s the biggest privacy nightmare which movies, books and futurologists were talking about. And it happened in the most famo…

  127. Tech Meat » AOL Search Data Shows Users Planning to commit Murder. Says:

    [...] read more | digg story [...]

  128. Elmer Says:

    It was me. So what’s the big deal. She’s been wishing me dead for at least as long as I’ve been searching for ways to kill her. Let’s call it even.

  129. tronvega Says:

    AOL is establishment and should not be trusted — especially these days.

  130. Working Nomad Says:

    Shocking stuff indeed! What is the World coming to?

  131. mike nothum dot com » AOL users would like some privacy please… Says:

    [...] Now AOL users will have to worry about that information falling into the wrong hands. I would not be surprised at all if some idendity theft cases arise from this data. Also, what happens if a user was searching for terms that relate to drugs, child pornography, or even murder? Will they be getting a call from the Cops? Could this release of search data could create a “Minority Report”-like situation where people are arrested for crimes they were planning to commit? [...]

  132. IT Digest - Ingenious Tejas' Digest - AOL betrayed it's users Says:

    [...] Out of curiosity, I downloaded one search file, wow, somebody is a big fan of “Candice Michelle” (She is Godaddy.com Girl). From 1st March to 19th March, most of this seaches are going to porn sites or porn related search and wow he/she is one big searcher. He searched more then 5000 times . But I will end my curiosity here. But I am sure people would have more time and energy then I have to go through the log files. One other blogger mentions how he found an ID that searched for ‘murder’ related content. [...]

  133. Insider blogging: the great AOL search caper - stocks blog Says:

    [...] Other bloggers were less bold-and-all-caps than Michael and Jason. Matt Marshall at Silicon Beat said he and the team were “cringing” and wonders if anyone else thinks “they’ve gone over the line with this.” (I’ll go ahead and answer for you: yes, lots of others do.) But mostly, people were just having fun analyzing the data. Lots of AOL users, evidently, want to “commit murder,” says Paradigm Shift. There’s a man in Fayetteville, NC who wants a girl who will pay for sex, says Jason Stamper. Someone wants to find a gay escort in Bombay, says Yeah, About That. [...]

  134. 1uk3 Says:

    Quite a bad thing to happen really! I wouldn’t be supprised if there aren’t law suits over this. I’d be taking action against my ISP if they did this with my info.

    Too bad that the database is spreading all over the internet like wild fire!

    Not had a chance to check it out get but will have a good look tomorrow.

  135. Be Careful What You Search For - YellowHouseHosting Says:

    [...] The plentyoffish blog presents one of the more frightening search histories released and admittedly it does seem like someone should be checking out user 17556639, but do we really have any idea why user 17556639 typed those words into a search engine? Maybe the user actually suspects someone else of the potential crime and is looking for information to confirm suspicions. Maybe the given AOL user had just gotten into a fight with his wife and those searches were away to let off steam. For all any of us know some of those searches are the name of some song by an obscure band. I agree the searches looking pretty incriminating, but it’s impossible to know for certain why those search queries made their way into AOL. [...]

  136. Puddnhead Says:

    Something people should be aware of:

    http://tor.eff.org/

  137. Createe Says:

    How long until some governemnt agency subpoenas AOL to find out who the child porn guy is, or who wanted to murder the wife? And if they can do it to AOL they just got reasons to do it to Google.

    Let’s just suppose for a moment it was a science fiction writer doing research, or a phychology student researching something, or even more humorus NBC looking to set up and catch child touchers for the program.

    AOL continues its path of utter destruction. I didn’t like them then, didn’t think they had an idea about the merger or worse would destroy the media they merged with (Let’s be thnkful they didn’t) and think their current plan is too stupid for words — now let’s just hope they go away soon.

  138. Adam Sharp SEO Blog » Blog Archive » Will the DOJ subpoena AOL for info related to search data? Says:

    [...] Some of the facts emerging about the AOL search query data they released is disturbing, and could have immense repercussions for all search engines. Andrew Weinstein of plentyoffish.com uncovered that one AOL searcher who searched for terms such as “how to kill your wife”, “wife killer”, and “how to kill a wife” among other disturbing searches. [...]

  139. Andrew Says:

    Those search words are shocking at first, however…Couldn’t it just as easily have been someone doing research for writing a cheesy thriller novel rather than someone who actually wants to kill his wife? Maybe that’s a fat chance, but still…

  140. Stephen Sclafani Says:

    Markus,

    I don’t think anyone has been arrested for JUST researching how to conduct terrorist attacks. Anyone can go search google for plans to build all kinds of bombs and they wont get arrested for doing so, and shouldn’t. Seeking knowledge is not a crime.

    (Second attempt. I think the spam filter here is blocking my posts or something.)

  141. Why the big fuss over some AOL data? » Mathew Ingram: mathewingram.com/work Says:

    [...] Markus Frind of Plenty of Fish has said that the personal search data includes some potentially disturbing info, such as a repeated search by one user for information on how to kill your wife. But how do we know that this person was actually looking to kill his wife? Maybe he’s writing a screenplay. He also apparently searched for “steak and cheese” and “poop,” or at least the same user ID did. What does that indicate about the user’s overall mental state? Probably nothing — although I’ve often thought that people who eat steak and cheese are inherently unbalanced and should be locked up for the good of society. [...]

  142. Rohan Pinto’s blog @ http://localhost Says:

    [...] Plentyoffish.wordpress.com has already begun to analyze the search data and is posting the results of his analysis. Some of the queries are downright disturbing. Specific posts include “Aol data shows users planning to commit murder”, “AOL data showing Myspace growing SEO spam” “Myspace killing dating sites“ [...]

  143. colson Says:

    funny – my site used to rank #1 on Yahoo and I believe #4 on google for the search phrase “pictures of dead people”. I made an off-hand reference to a t-shirt I made using WWI photos that featured a picture of a dead french soldier who was executed for spying. I was getting hundreds of hits a month for that specific phrase coming from those search engines. I ended up referring them all to another site that actually had more graphic photos than what I had on my shirts….

  144. Eric Says:

    if you belive you are not guilty ,.. just wait, the’ll make a new law agianst whatever it is your not guilty of sooner or later.

  145. Stephen Sclafani Says:

    Markus,

    No one gets arrested for JUST doing research. Even if that research is on how to build bombs or kill someone. Seeking knowledge is not a crime.

  146. Spider Tactics » AOL publishes search data of 500,000 users over three months Says:

    [...] #17556639: The guy who either killed or is seriously thinking of killing his wife and thinking about cheese steak. From The Paradigm Shift [...]

  147. Mr. D Says:

    Well, for those of you who don’t feel like grepping through 2 gigs of files, here’s a site that makes things easier. http://www.aolsearchdatabase.com

  148. anonymous bastard Says:

    Markus, nobody gets arrested in america for researching how to kill someone or how to blow something up, aka commit a terrorist attack. But people do get arrested when they hire a hit-man to take out their wife or plot with someone else to commit a terrorist attack. I don’t see a double standard, rather a struggle to maintain privacy.

  149. Melissa Says:

    My question is – what if someone is doing a research paper on “the mentality of a person who wants to kill their wife” or “why perverts post child porn” and they get busted for it. THEY DID NOTHING WRONG. Right? No, Not Right!

  150. tndal Says:

    Move on, Folks! Nothing to see here here but a flock of paranoid overcaffeinated nutballs, each of whom thinks (s)he can read the minds of each and every one of us who surf the Internet. Keep moving, please.

  151. anonymous Says:

    Steak and Cheese is a gore site. The user clearly was looking for gore pictures, that means pictures of extreme violence, like accidents, deaths, etc.

    That’s disgusting to most people, but not that unusual. It also does not allow by itself to draw any conclusions about this person. At best, the person has just found out about how sick the internet can be for the first time, and is just curious. At worst, the person really enjoys this kind of stuff.

    I have actually used a gore site at one point myself—when looking for a video that is evidence of an US war crime in Iraq. The video was made from a helicopter gunship, and shows (in nightvision) how the US kills wounded enemies.

    Anybody who thinks that the search terms above are evidence of a crime intent needs to take a good look at their own naivety.

  152. Der einzig wirksame Datenschutz … | ceterum censeo ... Says:

    [...] Punkt 1) muss jeder mit sich selbst ausmachen. Punkt 2) aber ist einfach nur grober Unsinn. Das zeigen die Verluste von Kundendaten bei hochangesehenen Banken in letzten Jahr ebenso deutlich wie der jüngste Fall bei AOL, wo einfach mal (zwar teils anonymisiert, aber doch noch offensichtlich genug) Daten der letzten drei Monate über die Suchanfragen bei AOL.com frei zum Download im Internet bekam. Und natürlich gibt’s die Daten auf zahlreichen Mirror-Sites immer noch. Ausführliche Informationen zu dem Thema hat Markus Frind in seinem Blog-Beitrag “AOL Search Data Shows Users Planning to commit Murder” geliefert (englisch). [...]

  153. doomguy Says:

    regarding 17556639, he could be writing a book for all you know.

  154. Sökmotorer och forskningsetik at Det perfekta tomrummet Says:

    [...] Den här bloggposten har ett digert kommentarsflöde kring incidenten. [...]

  155. timw Says:

    Maybe not that sickening – just doing some research?

  156. Online Keywords Blog » Blog Archive » Free keyword research data from AOL Says:

    [...] If you are the person looking to kill your wife then I would start to worry. [...]

  157. Polyhead Says:

    You know, I read some posts here that say “now aol users have to worry about..” etc. I can’t think of a more deserving group of users to lose their privacy. Heh, thats what you idiots get for choosing AOL, who has a long, long history of fucking its users over. Really, what did you idiots expect?

  158. tmo Says:

    Man… that guy obviously didn’t want to kill his wife. Just imagine: If you wanted to kill your wife, would you enter “how to kill your wife” in a search engine? Definitely not. You might want to search for “cheap knife” or stuff like that.

    “How To Kill Your Wife” might as well be the title of a book, or the name of a movie, or…

    If you look at the other search strings I assume he’s a bit sick in the head, but obvously not tryin’ to kill someone.

  159. Alex Says:

    did anybody even check http://www.murderdpeople.com?

    AOL FUCKED UP AGAIN

  160. Igel weekly » Большой Брат видит тебя Says:

    [...] Казалось бы, невелика беда – поисковые запросы. Однако ключевое значение имеет привязка запросов к пользователю: личность человека можно вычислить по его запросам (он может искать своё имя, свой адрес и т.д.). Вычислив человека, дальше его запросы можно использовать множеством способов: от шантажа, если он ищет детскую порнографию, до ареста, если он хочет убить жену. Не прибавлет AOL-у очков и то, что когда полгода назад американские власти потребовали от гугловцев аналогичные логи даже без идентификации пользователей, те решительно отказались, и тогда сетевая общественность долго восхваляла Google (в отличие от Yahoo!, MSN и того же AOL, которые тогда данными поделились). [...]

  161. Mishca Says:

    Just because people are looking for information doesn’t mean they are planning to commit such crimes. Wanting information, on anything, should not make you a suspect. It’s how they use the information that is the issue.
    If they are going to use these search queries for crime prevention it should be by removing any hits that contain illegal data, eg. instructions, from the internet, not punishing the person for searching it. I mean, the guy searching ‘How to Kill Your Wife’ is obviously mentally retarded – for searching it in the first place, for even letting the thought of killing his wife enter his head – he’s probably not actually going to do it. If he was seriously considering it, wouldn’t he be a bit too paranoid about being caught to type it in a search that could be traced to him? And if he needs to search for instructions on how to murder, he can’t really be considered a huge danger. Yet. It depends on whether he can find the information he’s looking for….

  162. Jonty Says:

    Now Google can sing – ‘We are the champions of the privacy cause, we fought with the DOJ, come to us…’

  163. Markus Merz Says:

    Manual trackback.

  164. Opintovapaalla » Blog Archive » Isojen tietokantojen vaarat Says:

    [...] AOL lipsautti hakutietokantansa dataa nettiin. Tämähän se juuri on isojen kantojen ongelma… Mutta valtioiden keräämälle henk. koht. datallehan ei voin näin käydä, siitähän meillä on mm. USA:n lupaus lentotietodatan kohdalla Tästä vielä lisää jonkun blogissa. Kehotan kaikkia myös pistämään selaimeensa Googlen sivuille cookie-eston. Haittaapa edes vähän datan keräystä. [...]

  165. CheeseDoodle Says:

    After suffering through your horrible grammar and inane prattling I realized that you know jack shit about law. I do so love you paranoid type. Where is your tinfoil hat?

  166. Oikeita totuuksia » Blog Archive » AOL, hakuprofiilit ja murhahaku Says:

    [...] Hakujen yksityisyyden kannalta hyvä juttu. Jossain määrin joku saattaa kuitenkin kohta saada lisää vettä myllyynsä. AOL:n hakujen joukosta löytyy esimerkiksi käyttäjä, joka vaikuttaisi suunnittelevansa vaimonsa murhaa. [...]

  167. The TrustedID Blog » Blog Archive » More on AOL Data Breach Says:

    [...] Not surprisingly, an aspiring entrepreneur has built a nice search interface for the breached AOL search data, appropriately named http://www.aolsearchdatabase.com.  You can see a directory of mirrors of the data located here.  Meanwhile, competitions are in progress to find the most disturbing search data, currently led by “Paradigm Shift” who found one AOL user apparently planning to murder his wife. [...]

  168. Robert Knight Says:

    Regarding the alarmist (and perhaps actionable) complaint that compromised AOL user “# 17556639″ was “looking to commit murder”:

    I believe the allegation is highly inappropriate and offensive to due process.

    It is no crime to look at pictures of dead people – many journalists do so routinely for insight or background, especially during times of war. Nor is it inappropriate to include the terms “steak and cheese” and “poop” while online waiting for an AOL search session to complete its own dirty work.

    But what really alarms me is that the author does not even consider the more innocuous and plausible explanation:

    “AOL USER 17556639″ COULDN’T REMEMBER THE EXACT TITLE OF THAT FAMOUS 1965 JACK LEMMON COMEDY, “HOW TO MURDER YOUR WIFE”.

    Is that movie off-limits now?

    While I appreciate the author’s coverage otherwise, doesn’t an alarmist assumption here, where there’s a perefectly plausible explanation, and NO EVIDENCE OF AN ACTUAL CRIME, simply repeat the oppression and privacy crimes of Bush’s “Big Brother” administration?”

    Isn’t this exactly what the First and Fifth Amendments (and the entire Bill of Rights) are all about?

  169. jed Says:

    i agree. the search terms do look ominous at first glance but who knows what the real context of this is. what is scary about the proposition that you could be prosecuted for your searches is the gray area. murder is obviously a crime but what about searching on adultery, or theft, or jaywalking?

    besides, punnishing people for unacted upon thoughts is god’s domain.

  170. Calypso Says:

    For those that do not know Steak and Cheese is a website very much on the same level as Rotten.com or Faces of Death. That is, it is a snuff website. Now to say what the persons motives were for searching these sites, when you look at the pattern of said searches you will see a pattern far more disturbing than a simple “He forgot the title of a movie.” Can we judge based off this? Not really.

    Will 17556639 be known in the future as the number that finally closed the door on the anomity of the web? Only time will tell.

  171. Stephan Says:

    Regardless of what people are planning, it DOES NOT give the gov. the right to persecute them. It’s the governments job to persecute criminals AFTER they have commited a crime – not because they thought about it.

    Keep your eyes and mind out of my life. Minority report, anyone?

  172. Stall The Ball - AOL dumps user data on the internet Says:

    [...] A couple of sites are dealing with AOLs latest escapade where they released a load of data on their users search patterns. AOL quickly moved to remove the data from their site but the damage was done. The data is now mirrored and one site has gone to the trouble of sticking it into a MySQL database so you can search quiet easily. [...]

  173. Jim Says:

    This is rediculous! Next thing you know they’ll start arresting drunk people in their cars because some other drunk person caused an accident and obnoxious mad mothers made a big media spectical over the whole damned thing. Having the potential to commit a crime or even fantasizing about it is not a crime.

    Who’s thinking Minority Report when 1984 is right in front of you?

  174. Amy G. Dala » links for 2006-08-08 Says:

    [...] The Paradigm Shift » Blog Archive » AOL Search Data Shows Users Planning to commit Murder. (tags: search technology) [...]

  175. Meltin’ Posts » Blog Archive » AOL data leak: consequences and opinions Says:

    [...] Some scary but interesting data start to pop out after data miners’ analysis of search query records: a lots of people seem to be planning murders! [...]

  176. Robert Knight Says:

    What’s the difference between auto-stimulation by:

    (1) imagining that an electronic screen image denotes an actual sex experience; and

    (2) imagining that an electronic search term using the word “murder” means an ACTUAL MURDER has taken place?

    Both involve pornographic fantasies.

    One is sex porn, with IMAGES of busy bodies.

    The other is “morality porn” for busybodies and amateur “detectives” who accuse people without any facts or proof of crimes (other than browsing).

  177. aquadoodiloop Says:

    How To Commit Suicide

    This weekend AOL released 36 million lines of search query indexed by an anonymous id. The thinking was to provide something neat for research purposes. By using an anonymous id they thought that they had removed all personal information. Boy were they…

  178. T. Longren » Web Interface for AOL Data Says:

    [...] Markus Frind has put together nice post detailing how one AOL user likes searching for ways to commit murder. Some of his commenter’s are upset, but Markus asks some good questions: Users in the comments are pissed off at the idea that people can be arrested for planning a crime like murder, calling it minority report like. I ask you why is it that americans have no problems arresting people that are planning or researching how to conduct terrorist attacks? Yet if a person plans on killing his wife that is ok, until he actually does it? How many people do you have to plan on killing before its ok for a company like AOL to hand your records over to the government? I am not taking sides, I’m just pointing out the obvious double standard. This story will open a can of worms, and will decide just how private your data online really is. Related Posts: •AOL Releases Private Data•Ok…•More on Google Analytics Posted on August 08th 2006 to Internet, Personal, Search, Security [...]

  179. » AOL Search Data Shows Users Planning to commit Murder. - Haiku Headlines | Headlines of Today. In 17 syllables. What more do you need? Says:

    [...] What are you searching? AOL spills the details What will your wife think?read more | digg story [...]

  180. » AOL “frigiver” 20 millioner søgeord fra 650.000 af deres brugere. » Søgemaskiner, internetmarkedsføring og trafikanalyse - Notabenes Blog Says:

    [...] AOL kritiseres kraftigt for at dataen indeholder søgeord, som virker ret stødende på mange mennesker. Det handler bl.a. om voldtægter, selvmord, fremstilling af bomber, terrorisme, hvordan man planlægger et mord og mange andre uhyggelige søgninger. Læs evt. mere her. [...]

  181. rx Says:

    The amount of idealism posted in the previous comments is beyond logical.

    “Regardless of what people are planning, it DOES NOT give the gov. the right to persecute them. It’s the governments job to persecute criminals AFTER they have commited a crime – not because they thought about it.”

    I hope you find your common sense sometime in the near future, as you may soon find yourself weeded out, appearing as a nominee for the Darwin Awards. It is the Government’s job to protect it’s citizens. It is becoming more common place in our (I cringe writing this) post-9/11 world for them to take preemptive action against WOULD-BE criminals.

    I am an advocate of privacy on all levels, but if the Government has evidence warranting a closer look at someone, due to say, suspicious search strings, why should they not take that opportunity to prevent someone from harming others? Do you believe someone has a right to plan a crime with impunity? Is it within the realms of normalcy to have every last detail ironed out? Is it not safe to assume that someone searching for information on how to murder someone, may be considering doing so? What harm is done if that person is watched closer, only to reveal that they were simply researching for a paper on information available on the internet? What harm is stopped if that person is found to be hours away from carrying out the act?

    Is another human beings life worth your right to search for tits and ass anonymously?

  182. Rob Says:

    For those of you who can’t download or store the AOL data.. I’ve created an Overture-like tool that shows top 1000 results for any give keyword/phrase. The tool then allows you to view the websites clicked and their average page placement. We DON’T show the user data cause even we are a little miffed about the privacy concerns..

    The one that i have seen before seems to not work.

    http://dontdelete.com (the domain is still replicating)
    OR the IP
    63.212.167.185

    Let me know what you think..

  183. Welcome to falconsox.com » Blog Archive » AOL screws up even worse than usual Says:

    [...] It’s a really serious situation with a lot of room for intellectual debate, but there are moments of completely innapropriate humor. Who knows what horrors lurk within the search results of men? Apparently murder, murder, more murder, and steak and cheese! [...]

  184. » Thoughcrime may get a facelift: AOL makes its search results public. Says:

    [...] The potential for personal reputational injury and embarrassment as well as unlawful accusations is really unprecedented, and mass-media hysteria about the internet doesn’t help one bit. On the The Paradigm Shift blog, various users discuss the fact that a certain, alarming percentage of AOL users are planning to kill their wives. [...]

  185. Homeland Security Watch » The AOL search data leak: implications for homeland security Says:

    [...] A research site at America Online posted three months of search records for 500,000 people (over 20 million searches) on the Internet recently. The data was discovered over the weekend and news of it quickly spread across the blogosphere. AOL rapidly removed the data from its site, but the cat’s already out of the bag – the files were copied, and have been replicated all over the Internet. Anyone can download the 439mb file, just like I did last night. People are already poring through the data, finding some very disturbing search patterns among a number of AOL’s users. In theory, there is no personally-identifiable information on the database, but if people ran searches that identify things about themselves, it often becomes easy to figure out who they are. In many ways, this is a worse privacy loss than the laptop stolen from the Veterans Administration employee earlier this spring, if it had been compromised. [...]

  186. nemo Says:

    some of these longer ones are so sad:

    all i ever wanted out of life was happiness but instead all i recieved was emptyness i feel as my life has ended for the last time’god why am i so hurt i just want to die.i hate the way things go for me i want them to be right i want to feel free i want to breathe the air i want to see the light but thanks to you i just want to die.why did you take my youth why did i bare your child why is life so cruel that why i want to die i never wanted to be hurt i never wanted you to make me cry i only wan

    kendra you need to take a shower you smell like a teenage girls locker room and you know that stinks i have thrush so dont touch me i bet that would keep you away yeah okay kendra would you like to see a picture of my neighborhood why no you was too busy looking at julio. all you saw was his sstupid

  187. daily dos: hands on, hands off on mun2 :: Spanglish Without Barriers Says:

    [...] Careful what you search for: AOL has posted the internet searches of 500,000 users. One person was apparently searching “how to kill your wife”. (via Slashdot.org) [...]

  188. Make You Go Hmm: » Somewhere under the rainbow Says:

    [...] Me? I’m not an AOHell fan, but I’ve written here before that I don’t mind my search query data being shared. Don’t mind the stats of this blog being shared either. And what’s to say that user 17556639 on AOL searching for how to kill his wife is actually, really contemplating this abhorrent act? Maybe this is a horror fiction writer researching his current book? I’ve researched some heinous things as part of writing some of my horror fiction. Stuff I would never dream of doing in real life to any human being but needed to learn more about for plausibility. Why should search queries instantly make somebody guilty? [...]

  189. BH Says:

    Has anyone considered the fact that this may be staged so that it serves a purpose (political or another) with the context “to protect you from the bad people you have to give up all your privacy rights, but feel free and more secure”.

  190. Balloon Juice Says:

    [...] People are already poring through the data, finding some very disturbing search patterns among a number of AOL’s users. In theory, there is no personally-identifiable information on the database, but if people ran searches that identify things about themselves, it often becomes easy to figure out who they are. In many ways, this is a worse privacy loss than the laptop stolen from the Veterans Administration employee earlier this spring, if it had been compromised. [...]

  191. Liam Says:

    @BH
    Yeah, that’s what I was just thinking.

    Also, I think this data should be private, AND I don’t believe it’s okay to use NSA wiretapping and other constitutional breeches rationalized by The Patriot Act. Seriously, I don’t care how many people are trying to harm themselves or others. The data should be private, because search engines are tools everyone uses. The search engine is such an integral part of the internet that making the search data public is much the same as broadcasting people’s private telephone conversations.

  192. Platinax News » AOL’s huge data blunder Says:

    [...] The blog Plenty Of Fish helps underline this by pointing out search queries that suggest someone may have been thinking of killing their wife. [...]

  193. The Blue xB » Murder and AOL… Says:

    [...] Courtesy of AOL releasing the searches placed by their members someone created a list of user 17556639 searching for stuff about killing his wife. You can see all of his searches here. [...]

  194. Bran Says:

    We imported the data into a database, enabled fulltext searching and are making it avaliable for everyone to use and check out. Here is the url http://simplifiedsec.com/KeywordDigger.html

    Let me know if you have any suggestions on it to get more relavent for you.

  195. mmmm Says:

    re: “steak and cheese”

    it ain’t cuz the guy wants a philly steak…

    look here:

    http://www.steakandcheese.com

    or here:

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=steak+and+cheese

  196. Jamie Says:

    You’re making the assumption that anyone who searches for “how to kill your wife” and photos of dead people and car crashes is seeking to kill someone. It’s possible that the individual is a psychologist, graduate student, cop, or journalist doing research on a related topic. As a journalist, I’m always doing “strange” research for story ideas, leads and fact-checking so I’m sure my search history might be “suspicious.”

  197. pinano Says:

    Many are claiming that this is obviously a case of conspiracy to commit murder, a felony in our judicial system. However, I am very sure that it is not:

    1. Why does the user search for poop in the middle of this foray? Clearly, they are someone with a sick sense of humor.
    2. c.f. steak and cheese, a well-known adult humor/sick joke site.
    3. All the searches for dead people, car crashes, decapitations? Probably not looking to commit those, just look at them. I don’t think that’s illegal. Perfectly acceptable under the Constitution and the Amercain legal system.
    4. Finally, the user only searched for wife-icidal phrases four times, amongst a bed of gallows humor and photos. The first result on Google? KillMyWife.com, a site with such horrendous things as The OJ trial as told by Dr. Seuss.
    It’s about as harmless as Bitch, Make Me a Sandwich — nothing more than a crude artifact of questionable humor on the World Wide Web.

    Stop trying to accuse everyone of doing something wrong! So much paranoia surrounds people who are using the Internet for what it’s best at. I’ve searched for those kind of things before; I’m pretty sure the user wasn’t going to kill anybody — they’re probably 16 and laughing their ass off while looking at pictures of poop and dead people, just like my friends and I were doing 5 years ago. It’s not illegal to search. It’s illegal to conspire — that is, agree to break the law with another person — to do some of these things, but it is NOT illegal to research death, decapitation, and the killing of wives.

  198. Doug Brenner Says:

    The act of concluding that these search queries indicate a plan for murder is a quantum leap which is as dangerous as the AOL privacy leak itself.

    If it ever becomes generally accepted that these queries represent murder plans, then everyone can kiss their online privacy goodbye since it would effectively become politically untenable for benign search services (such as Google) to continue their policies of nondisclosure.

  199. David McGuire Says:

    I typed “how to kill your wife” into my search engine because I was looking for this article.

  200. foo bar Says:

    A particular user, 8581027, searches for preteen sex for awhile. Then he searches for a specific person in a specific physical location, and later the same person with the birth date of 1999.
    Kind of creepy. Then searches for “grants for english teachers in mississippi”.
    So, while hypothetical discussion of the wife murderer is something discussed in a narrow context, what if searches are showing planning or intent to contact someone?

  201. zurtog Says:

    I just don’t want to see the infrastructure be put into place. It seems to me like the same systems that can be used in secret to stop people from murdering their wives are the same as the programs that can be used in secret to stop political opponents from wining elections.

  202. Robert Knight Says:

    As an investigative journalist, I am mystified and profoundly saddened by the reckless leaps of “logic” by some here who assume electronic curiosity is actual deed.

    It is metaphysically (and legally) IMPOSSIBLE for an online search term to PROVE intent, mental state, conspiracy, or commission of a crime!

    Investigation and prosecution, due process, juridical protections, the First Amendment, and such forgotten components of legitimate law enforcement and investigation are being thrown out the window, so that third-party readers of the search lists can fabricate their own UNINVESTIGATED armchair “murder mysteries” — where no crime exists.

    Jeez, these “keyboard detectives” and their alarmist, unfounded assumptions are even worse that the Bush fascists, and are killing the First and Fifth Amendments — all by themselves.

    A search does not prove an act, and the presence of data does not imply the presence of logic — judging by these constitutionally dangerous and unsupported leaps into fantasy and false accusation.

  203. Down the Hatch: the musings of colin Says:

    [...] What do we do about AOL search user 17556639?. If you haven’t perused his/her fascinating murder/gore/steak/how-to series of queries, you might consider it as a humorous and slightly terrifying aside. [...]

  204. What Says:

    Its funny that the blogger talks about “double standards” without even giving a second thought to the double standards handed AGAINST America. Now that a double standard to talk about.

  205. ye Says:

    Maybe someone can submit this data to fbi or what’s not, and let them investigate this from aol database, that would be very clear.

  206. Accountability Says:

    We shall see if this case will become the impatus for regulation. How will it be mitigated? What about the liabilities for not only hosters and ISP’s, but of the users as well? Will we all have to fill out personal profiles? Will we give up our freedom of thought to seemingly make the world a better place? Do searches show direct intent to commit a crime?

    I don’t beleive so. We all seem to forget that we live in a world of choices and those choices we make affect what happens to us both positive and negeative. It is called personal responsability. We cannot and should not judge someone based on their internal thoughts or studies. Shall we profile and search our day dreams? Will we give up our own thoughts for governence? And to what extent?

    We live in a world where we will be held accountable for everything. Everything. Our words, our actions, our mistakes, and now it seems our thoughts. It is inevitable that we will make ourselves vulnerable to authoritive entities that will profile with extreme prejudice and strong swift enforcement. The sad thing is we are people and that makes us prone to emotions and mistakes.

    But the ultimate joy and majesty of being a living person is the ability to make choices. We should only be judged on our actions and behaviors. To judge someone before any incident occurs is false and terrible. We are not robots to be cast into a structured set of indexes. We have to have choice. The choices to do or not do. The choices to kill or not kill. To eat or not eat. Without the ability or oppertunity to chose we mine as well genetically engineered people to act, look, think, and feel the same all the time. I would be deeply disappointed and truely would not want to live in such a world where the oppertunity of pride and value are stripped and replaced by compliance and enforcement. Thank you.

  207. Andrew Clunis Says:

    This isn’t the first time. I attended a conference several years ago, and a gentleman from Google did a presentation about their company, etc. The coup de grace of the talk, though, was when he fired up an application on his laptop that displayed a live feed of searches being done via google.com. The content displayed differed little from AOL’s leaked data seen above.

    Naturally, this led to about 5 minutes of hilarity, since, as you can imagine, many of the searches were comedic gold.

    No murderers, though.

  208. Mike S. Says:

    Once people lose their privacy and freedom, it is easy to paint them seven colors of villain. They search a high school kid and find a list of names of pretty girls, and suddenly it’s a “hit list” and he’s the next psycho killer. The same applies here. I don’t believe for a minute that everyone typing in “kill your wife” is a killer or that everyone typing in a search for “child porn” is a pedophile. Sure, criminals are out there – but we’re all seeing TV news reports and movies about this garbage every day. Why is watching the movie a ‘normal’ thing but typing the search makes a person a suspect? Only because the TV networks haven’t released their viewer data.

    Yet. (they could do that with digital cable… and no doubt for the right security clearance they already have)

  209. sarahcpwilliams.com » Today’s Blogroll– Internet Privacy/Security Says:

    [...] Some comments on AOL’s original release of this data, and the implications for both marketing and privacy, can be read at Techcrunch, OhMyNews, The Paradigm Shift, and Forbes (title of their article: AOL Shoots Itself in The Foot). I really don’t understand how AOL could have ever thought that releasing the database was a good idea. [...]

  210. Martin Ingram Says:

    This was a really dumb thing to do and is indicitive of a a more general underlying problem. This is all about data classification and the different labels that the players involved would put on the data.

    AOL clearly regarded (for a while) the data as not being sensitive and so felt free to publish it publicly. Users had a different, and understandable, view that this information was confidential. Hence all the fireworks.

    This is not the first time an organisation gets this wrong and I doubt it will be the last.

    Martin.

  211. VALIS » Blog Archive » Roundup Says:

    [...] AOL accidentally released the details of hundreds of thousands of peoples’ search histories – thinking that it would be interesting to researchers. Even though names were removed, in some cases it would be trivial to identify a person, and see the possibly embarrassing things they were searching for. [...]

  212. gHacks tech news Says:

    Updates on the AOL Scandal

    Aol released private search queries of 500.000 AOL users to the public. Analysts and Journalists alike are having a busy time analysing the data for various reasons. I was able to identify three different motivations: 1. How big is the privacy breach, …

  213. Alle(s) unter Kontrolle » Blog Archive » AOL veröffentlicht Suchanfragen seiner Kunden Says:

    [...] Hier ein Beispiel für eine Suchgeschichte eines Benutzers. Bei über 650.000 betroffenen Nutzern kann man davon ausgehen, dass dieses bei weitem nicht das peinlichste Beispiel ist. The Paradigm Shift » AOL Search Data Shows Users Planning to commit Murder.: There are hundreds of searches from people looking to kill themselves and even more scary are searches from users that seem to be looking to commit murder. Check out the search history for user 17556639, most recent search is at the bottom of the list.. Does this look like the search history of a user wanting to do something bad? 17556639 how to kill your wife 17556639 how to kill your wife 17556639 wife killer 17556639 how to kill a wife 17556639 poop 17556639 dead people 17556639 pictures of dead people 17556639 killed people 17556639 dead pictures 17556639 dead pictures 17556639 dead pictures 17556639 murder photo 17556639 steak and cheese 17556639 photo of death 17556639 photo of death 17556639 death 17556639 dead people photos 17556639 photo of dead people 17556639 http://www.murderdpeople.com 17556639 decapatated photos 17556639 decapatated photos 17556639 car crashes3 17556639 car crashes3 17556639 car crash photo [...]

  214. tubor.de Blog » Blog Archive » AOL legt Suchanfragen von 650.000 Kunden offen Says:

    [...] Ehemann plant Frau zu ermorden [...]

  215. Jobs Says:

    Really bad news. The search thrends are ok. But when it comes with user details can cause harm.

  216. Ankur Shah’s random thoughts! » Blog Archive » AOL Woes Continue Says:

    [...] With AOL’s recent issues with letting go off their subscribers, and layoffs of 5000 employees, AOL’s troubles continue as they outdo themselves yet again by releaesing of 20 million queries of 650K AOL users to public! The queries now live nicely under a web interface that allows searching through them rather nicely on aolsearchdatabase.com It has released some really scary stuff to say the least. [...]

  217. bad-branding.com » Blog Archive » AOL offentliggør søgeoplysninger om 650.000 personer. Says:

    [...] På nettet er dele af søgningerne offentliggjort. Man skal ikke søge længe for at finde det første uddrag ” User 491577 searches for “florida cna pca lakeland tampa”, “emt school training florida”, “low calorie meals”, “infant seat”, and “fisher price roller blades”. Among user 39509’s hundreds of searches are: “ford 352″, “oklahoma disciplined pastors”, “oklahoma disciplined doctors”, “home loans”, and some other personally identifying and illegal stuff I’m going to leave out of here. Among user 545605’s searches are “shore hills park mays landing nj”, “frank william sindoni md”, “ceramic ashtrays”, “transfer money to china”, and “capital gains on sale of house”. Compared to some of the data, these examples are on the safe side. I’m leaving out the worst of it – searches for names of specific people, addresses, telephone numbers, illegal drugs, and more. There is no question that law enforcement, employers, or friends could figure out who some of these people are.” Eller som denne person som ikke er så glad for sin hustru 17556639 how to kill your wife 17556639 how to kill your wife 17556639 wife killer 17556639 how to kill a wife 17556639 poop 17556639 dead people 17556639 pictures of dead people 17556639 killed people 17556639 dead pictures 17556639 dead pictures 17556639 dead pictures 17556639 murder photo 17556639 steak and cheese 17556639 photo of death 17556639 photo of death 17556639 death 17556639 dead people photos 17556639 photo of dead people 17556639 www.murderdpeople.com 17556639 decapatated photos 17556639 decapatated photos 17556639 car crashes3 17556639 car crashes3 17556639 car crash photo Mit forslag er at personen tage kontakte til hans psykolog og det kan vist kun gå for langsomt. Du får ikke et link til filen her, men søg og du skal finde. Det tager ikke mange søgninger på Google for at finde de 2 GB søgninger og så kan alle se hvem der har søgt efter hvad. Hvem er f….. up næste gang? Denne gang var det AOL der fik fingeren i maskinen, men Google opsamler sikkert også liggende data gemt et eller andet sted. Grunden til at gemme sådan nogle oplysninger er selvføldigt at  så kan man forbedre det man tilbyder brugeren.  Ved du hvad Google gemmer om dig? Som bruger nr 4417749 Thelma Arnold en 62 årig enke som lever i Lilburn, Georgia siger det “My goodness, it’s my whole personal life…I had no idea somebody was looking over my shoulder.” Til det svarede AOL “We apologize specifically to her…There is not a whole lot we can do.” Hårdt oversat “Vi har lagt dit liv ud til offentlig skue, vi beklager.” AOL Google Posted in Bad Branding | [...]

  218. VIPPER Says:

    Robert (August 7th, 2006 at 3:55 pm), it is clear from the context of the other search terms listed here that he was searching for a specific fetish image gallery of which he only vaguely remembers the name.

  219. Pierre Says:

    Woah, hopefully they can catch this guy and arrest him before he commits a murder!

  220. Mr X Says:

    I think that reactions are a bit overboard, in a good way, but overboard nonetheless. The trouble is that “kill my wife” could be a reference to a comedy play. “Dead People” could be a search for a movie. It will take a great deal of skill to determine that there is any scrap of criminal intent judging solely from search data. As someone pointed out, its not a crime till you actually try to kill your wife. Thinking about it, or reading about it IS NOT a crime. It might simply be research for a novel. Perhaps I’m not as cynical as I might be, but no crime has been committed. There ARE NO thought police, and there should not be. Its not even a crime to talk to anyone about the ways that one might kill a wife. Its only a crime when you attempt to do so, or successfully do so. Anyone that thinks such search data should be used to track down evil-doers is absolutely not aware of what the constitution of the US guarantees. That’s right, free speach covers such things. The persuit of happiness may include knowledge of such seemingly evil things. This is what is called FUD. Realistic conclusions cannot be drawn from such search data on its own, and this little group of search data is NOT probable cause for police investigation. So all this search data should remian annonymous and hidden from view. It should not be in the public view, or in the hands of government. I say that simply because it is not an accurate tool for any kind of prosecution or protection. Imagine the FBI busting down the door of a writer who is doing research for a murder mystery? That would be a black eye on the thought police. Sure, if they stopped a murder, it would be awesome, but chances are all that would happen is that privacy rights would be trampled into dust.

  221. Interesting Searches on the AOL Dataset » @ Ambot ah! [ technology news and reviews ] Says:

    [...] So we’ve heard about AOL’s Search Dataset being given out to the public of about 500,000 of its users. Some of the search data revealed people planning to commit murder and suicide. And while AOL apologizes for this oversight, some people are already whipping up pretty nifty tools to rumage thru the search data. [...]

  222. Jimmy Daniels » AOL User No. 4417749 Found Easily Says:

    [...] We know, we already saw the lame apologies, and they aren’t going to be as angry as some of these searchers are going to be, I would imagine, this reporter tracking down Ms. Arnold is just one example, and certainly one of the most public, so far. And, as this story notes, it would be easy for these searches to look like one thing, but be something completely different. Ms. Arnold frequently searched for all kinds of ailments, like numb fingers, hand tremors, nicotine effects on the body, dry mouth and bipolar, leading one to think she might have some medical problems, which, in this case was completely wrong, as she frequently searched for friends ailments to assuage their anxieties. But, what about the more extreme examples, as noted on The Paradigm Shift and this blog entry AOL Search Data Shows Users Planning to commit Murder, where users were searching for “how to kill your wife”, “how to kill a wife”, “wife killers” and many more. What if that user was trying to help a friend, say a friend who is abused and in fear for his or her life? I know by looking at the searches it would seem like they were researching for themselves, but without context, what does it really show? BTW, that site has received 207 comments, definitely some interesting reading. As an example, If you were an author of thriller/horror fiction, you might commonly enter “how to kill my wife” into Google… Search is an extension of our inner thoughts. Doesn’t mean we’re going to do anything about it (recent case in Sweden aside). Perhaps Google will be the real-world incarnation of the Minority Report law-enforcement model? I hope not. [...]

  223. BuzzMachine » Blog Archive » Networked journalism: Feeding the Times Says:

    [...] Michael Barbaro, Tom Zeller, and Saul Hansell wrote a wonderful Page One story tracking a nice little old lady in Georgia by her supposedly anonymous searches revealed by AOL. The bloggers pounced on the AOL story immediately and showed the way; these guys then did a great job of picking up the story, finding a perfect case and putting it in context by interviewing privacy experts. [...]

  224. seoluv / seoluv told you so Says:

    [...] AOL Search Data Shows Users Planning to commit Murder.  [...]

  225. AOL Data Leak Fallout at The Sound of Crickets Chirping Says:

    [...] This guy looks like he’s planning to kill his wife. [...]

  226. Theskyisfalling Says:

    1.Orwell was only a few decades off,search records will be very helpful.
    2.Bush’s New World Order is coming to fruition nicely.
    3.The “poop” search in the middle of the others suggests to me that this is a kid.
    4.Ah gone are the days of self-policing and freedom of the net.

  227. Mark Says:

    Why isn’t this user ID present in the mirrorred date? http://www.aolsearchdatabase.com/

    Weird.

  228. Mark Says:

    Disregard – apparently it’s not a _full_ mirror.

  229. whiterabbit Says:

    i got all 36 million records loaded into my local SQL Server. This is so interesting to query! anyone keeping a forum we can use to compare notes? I’ve found some interesting stuff.

  230. Charlie Says:

    ********************************************************
    ********* **********
    ********* ANOTHER *********
    ********* GREAT AMERICAN DIMISHING RIGHTS **********
    ********* **********
    ********************************************************

    It’s really funny how one thing leads to another. Just amoment ago I was searching for some answers for a problem I’m having and how I stumbled on this news.

    I was searching for “Diminishing Modem Speed” and “Modem SLowing Down”.

    Smiley…

    OK.

    This information that is suplied by AOL – another all seeing company :) is only usefull for marketers. For the common folk its just McDonalds burger wrapping trash. And for most of us we would rather let someone else deal with it.

    This article just shows how most online people are basically internet illiterate. Being internet illiterate is not meant to label them as bad or stupid people – on the contrary they are just ignorant of how to use technology for their own benefit. Then again, I don;t blame anyone who are technology illiterate, it is quite a job to stay in touch with technology. We all know how to operate a tv – but do we all know how it works (I bet 99% of people don’t know – they just accept it as it is – and they don’t need to know – but wait – did you know how much radiation is emitted by your common TV – I thought so). But. its ok not to know all these things.

    But, people are also lazy, the information for anything is out there – just google.com it. It’s better to be an internet junkie than a COUCH potato. Get some neurons working rather than accumulating “bum fat”!

    The really big thing that really really PISSES me off is that companies like these are playing it really rough and one day the consequences will come knocking on their doors.

    I am also pissed off with the SYSTEM that lets this kind of CRAP go unpunnished.

    Oh, one other thing, Americans are loosing their rights exponentially.

    Common, LAW ENFORCERS – DO SOMETHING, I want to see you on the 6 oclock news here in Australia. This also can’t happen because the the people who are playing the game are the ones who wrote it and they have built it for their own benefit.

    “The thought is mightier than the pen. – John Dogan 2006.08.08″

    John Dogan
    Living in a world of unfairness

  231. abc Says:

    I’m interested in figuring out why everyone assumes the person who did those searches was male! Any reason everyone seems to be assuming this?

  232. AOL användare nr. 4417749 avslöjad Says:

    [...] Plannerat mord på frun avslöjat via AOL-missen? (tveksamt…) [...]

  233. Jon Swift Says:

    I published some explanations for my searches that might be misunderstood just in case this sort of thing happened:

    http://jonswift.blogspot.com/2006/01/google-searches.html

  234. VEDOCCI » Les informations confidentielles d’AOL - Veille, Documentation et Cinéma Says:

    [...] et que : “Le blog Paradigm Shift donne l’exemple d’une liste de requêtes effectuées par un seul et même utilisateur autour de mots-clés tels que “how to kill your wife” (comment tuer sa femme), “decapatited photos” (photos de décapitation) et “car crashes” (accidents de voiture).” Source : Vnunet Bookmark on del.icio.us – [...]

  235. connection 2.0 » AOL PR disaster Says:

    [...] It’s sort of scary to see how AOL deals with this kind of information, because replacing the names with id number doesn’t do the trick. The NYTimes identified an AOL user by putting together the clues. More interesting things can be found on this site, which lists planning to commit murder. [...]

  236. Matt Says:

    I put up some of the best ones I’ve seen on http://www.dearaol.net

  237. Mr. Way Late to the Party » Blog Archive » AOL OOPS Says:

    [...] http://plentyoffish.wordpress.com [...]

  238. Jason Blogs » AOL Privacy Leak Says:

    [...] the ones with something to hide, like the person who searched on how to kill his wife (source). permalink| [...]

  239. chris makarsky's blog » aol data Says:

    [...] While an admittedly small sample was released (approximately 1.5% of all search queries executed over three months), the available data does present interesting research opportunities. But it also opens the door to other questions, especially concerning privacy rights. For example, take the following search results from the same user (collected using the unique identifier key) Check out the search history for user 17556639, most recent search is at the bottom of the list. Does this look like the search history of a user wanting to do something bad? [...]

  240. Omega Point » Blog Archive » Says:

    [...] The New York Times describes how they identified a woman from Lilburn, Georgia based on her sort-of/maybe/accidentally leaked-on-purpose-but-it’s-for-researchers- and-also-those-responsible-have-been-sacked AOL search data. They imply that this was due to clever legwork and don’t actually say that she typed in her Social Security number, but there are certainly plenty of examples of searchers who did. [...]

  241. Maurice Says:

    To say nothing of the fact that he wasn’t looking to kill HIS wife, but someone else’s (‘how to kill A wife’, ‘how to kill YOUR wife’).

  242. Simon Says:

    I myelf am not too worried about this happening. Understandably people are worried about the severe breach of privacy, but the search results can’t prove anything criminal has gone on so no one should feel afraid of being wrongly accused just because they were bored one day and went on a search trawl for “baby eating”. Deniability is what counts and these search results cant take that away.

    What is scary is not the fact that if you searched for your own name your results can be traced back to you, because even then your just being paranoid, deniability is what counts and its entirely possible that someone know knows you searched your name, and im sure there are more than one Joe Blogs in the world, so the fears of it being tracable to you as a single people are not very well based – and the fact that it could be narrowed down to say five hundered people in america with your name is just being paranoid. What is scary however is that people searching for their credit card numbers and social security numbers, in that case the results can be narrowed down and this is where aol are at fault.

    Leaving the search key phrases linked to a random UID is fine, what isnt is leaving in personally identifiable infomation which can be linked to the UID and therfore connect all search phrases with the same UID to that personal ID. Names are not personal infomation, as you share the same name with many people in the world. What is personal infomation is data that can be identified to you and only you. Such as Credit Card Numbers, Social Security Number, NI numbers, bank accounts… i could even stretch to mobile numbers as they arnt usually publicied on the net but im not sure if house numbers should be excluded because that would exclude people searching for buisnesses by number.

    There are a great number of issues with what AOL have done, yes it was a mistake and yes they should have vetted the data and removed any “personal” data from it. But thats hindsight for you, and hindsight is never usefull unless your retaking a year of education. It is too late to do much about it, as the data is already propegated on the net and in the hands of thousands of people, a lot of whom probably wont do anything with it as they just downloaded it out of curiocity.

    Anything and everything you do on the internet is traceable, from email, instant messaging to simply browsing. You publish something online and even if later on you delete it, copies will have been propagated in catches, logs, etc all over the world. Unless you use an encrypted link then your IM conversations may be logged somewhere along the way between you sending and your friend receiving and in america are probably being intercepted by the feds lol. Email can be read from servers, as they keep logs of all data and backups of that data which can last for decades. Everything you do on the internet is logged by your isp, these logs are there for them to be able to fix technical problems however in the wrong hands (government agencies) they could be used to trace anything you do and link that to other logs they have from other sources. if you want to ensure at least in part some secured privacy, then use encryption in your emails, encryption in your IM and possibly even an encrypted proxy. However I feel that that would be very much overkill, and that this whole AOL log file thing has been blown out of proportion. Yes there are problems with it, yes there may be future problems caused by it. But people are making wild accusations as to what the data could be used for. Yes it has the possibility of being used wrongly, but similarly it has the equal possibility for being used right – but at the end of the day thats human nature – and no matter what you say that will be true.

  243. Photogabble Says:

    AOL Search Results

    I just commented the following at this blog, afterward I noticed that its pretty much a blog post so im adding it here too  
    I myelf am not too worried about this happening. Understandably people are worried about the severe breach of privacy, but…

  244. aw Says:

    I’m more sceptic to the steak & cheese search this guy did in the middle of his search.

  245. marchism.org » Blog Archiv » und was suchst Du? Says:

    [...] was machen, wenn jemand nach how to kill your wife sucht? [...]

  246. Anders Hovmöller Says:

    I don’t see why people are so negative against Minority Report. A scenario where an entire US state has NO murders is somehow a bad thing?

    The only thing stupid and immoral in that movie was the punishment. Why do they incarcerate people when they can clearly and obviously prevent them from doing harm again?

  247. jenjen Says:

    This search shows no intent at all. The cinemas, TV and books are filled with stories containing murder, decapitation, car crashes. To produce all these fictional stories requires a range of people who get paid good money to get the details right. The searcher could be:

    – A mystery writer
    – A film director
    – an artistic director
    – a script writer
    – a props manager
    – an artist doing a piece about the prevelance of violent images in our society
    – a crime writer trying to understand how a real life murdered might have planned the murder of his wife, and exploring what state of mind he must have been in to decapatate her.
    – a researcher investigating the prevelance of explicit violence online
    – an anthropologist, who noticing the vast amount of violence and wife murder in our culture is doing a PhD on our cultural relationship with murder, corpses and gore.

    The biggest danger of this search data is our ability to jump to conclusions.

  248. Michel Leblanc, M.Sc. commerce électronique. Marketing Internet, consultant et conférencier » Fouiller dans les poubelles d’AOL Says:

    [...] L’affirmation est démentie par New York Times qui identifie Thelma Arnold et ses recherches sur les maladies de ses amis et sur la gent canine qu’elle affectionne particulièrement. Il y a cependant plus inquiétant aussi tel cette série de recherche sur comment tuer son épouseet sur l’atteinte fondamentale à la vie privée que révèle ces bases de données. Ainsi donc, pourquoi les engins de recherches ne feraient-ils pas, comme le suggère Calcanis, l’arrêt complet de l’archivage des requêtes de recherches. Cela règlerais certainement le problème des fuites et de par le fait même, celui de l’érosion de la confiance des internautes qui ne manqueras certes pas de s’ensuivre suite à toute cette affaire? D’ailleurs, la proposition est déjà récupérée par le métamoteur Ixquick qui se présente comme le premier métamoteur à éliminer le Big Brother des archives de recherches de ses usagers. [...]

  249. OBinario - Podcast sobre novidades da tecnologia e links interessantes » Obinario episodio 7 Says:

    [...] Exemplo de data da aol [...]

  250. broomberg Says:

    this should be played like judo: if, from time to time, everybody (or very manybodies) just randomly launch “scumbag” searches, the whole privacy issue will fall apart: no investigation could follow millions of “evil” …and innocent…searches…

  251. wes Says:

    Some of the reactions to the search logs are shocking.

    If people want to search for ways to murder their spouse then what has that got to do with you?

  252. The Community At Large » More bits on the AOL Search data Says:

    [...] Also, have a look at this! AOL Search Data Shows Users Planning to commit Murder. (via.)     Send this post to a friend [...]

  253. Weekly Linkage [08-11-06] at Experience Planner Says:

    [...] AOL Search Data Shows Users Planning to Commit Murder [The Paradigm Shift] [...]

  254. Trickyelf Says:

    Top Ten Excuses for AOL User 17556639’s Search History

    10. Doing some private research for Tom Cruise, craziest guy in the world.

    9. Looking for lyrics to ‘Smack My Bitch Up’, but couldn’t remember the title.

    8. Scoping out the competition for my next Web 2.0 property, blogging tools for the dead.

    7. Collecting ideas for next Subway ad campaign: ‘Eat Fresh or Die’

    6. Isn’t the Internet great? I mean EVERYTHING’s out there…

    5. Dude, Iron Maiden is touring again!

    4. Sometimes when you have to poop, doesn’t it make you a little grumpy?

    3. And hungry?

    2. Would a saxaphone be considered a blunt instrument?

    1. I see dead people.

  255. PsicoIT Support Says:

    Somos lo que buscamos

    Al encarar este tema me acordé de un artículo que no hace mucho leí, …

  256. Don Says:

    Just to let you know, steak and cheese is a website so i’m going to assume the person was searching for that, rather than food.

  257. Thurgald Says:

    This type of invasion of privacy is just the beginning. When someone types out their thoughts or emotions in a search engine they are sharing a personal, private part of their life with the rest of the world. Publishing of data by any search engine is taking the combined worries, questions, ponderings, and imagination of a nation and putting it up for public scrutiny. Are we all saints? Surely not. Do we all have bad days? Yes. Are we all sometimes curious about that which is taboo in our society? Yes. Do we ever have questionable motives? Sometimes. Should we be punished for being curious about our universe? No.

    Does AOL have the right to publish your private thoughts? Right now they do. Don’t worry the government has already downloaded all this information. AOL probably gave it to them ahead of time.

    What worries me is the reactionaries and religious flakes that will attempt to use this information to further inflame their war on terror and a their war on our rights as Americans. They want to restrict our freedom and make us like them. So they don’t have to feel afraid anymore, poor ego strength. Its okay for us to worship god as long as it is their god and we do it how they want us to.

  258. The Places Google Sends It’s Traffic · Thrive Web Marketing Says:

    [...] A few days ago AOL released the data (mirror link) for 20 million web queries from 650,000 of its users. This has created some huge privacy issues – for example we now know that user 491577 searched for “florida cna pca lakeland tampa”, “emt school training florida”, “low calorie meals”, “infant seat”, and “fisher price roller blades” and it also showed that others are searching for some pretty disturbing stuff. [...]

  259. Fool for Five :: Why Was AOL’s Release of User Search Data Wrong? Says:

    [...] What about the other users? Many a blog has commented on disturbing searches, like the user who was constantly searching for “how to kill your wife,” “dead people,” and “photo of death.” But for all we know, these people might be simply venting some frustrations. [...]

  260. Xine Says:

    I hope someone mentioned that steakandcheese.com is a site with similar images to rotten.com. I’m sure this person didn’t really want to kill their wife. I’m pretty convinced they just were into goregasm and that type of stuff. While it’s not for everyone I think there’s several points I’d like to make.
    1. THANKS AOL – you idiots. What in your right mind thought that this was ok to do?
    2. Responsible journalism. Do some research on what the user was searching for. Another userID was searching for preteen sex pictures, virgin sex stories, then tamagachi.com. Someone’s 12 year old is driving on the computer again without supervision obviously. I don’t think that it’s some child porn hound.

    The day it becomes a crime to search for messed up stuff on the Internet is the day I unplug this house from the Internet.

  261. Life is a venture » AOL Data Debacle: this is where it all started … Says:

    [...] There are some truly scary things in this database. Markus Frind found the following searches by user 17556639: [...]

  262. Aussi Says:

    AOL à commis l’irréparable !…

    AOL viens de commettre l’irréparable en diffusant les requêtes de recherche de ses utilisateurs ! La base de données qui contient 20 Millions de requête de plus de 650 000 membres étalé sur trois mois à étés diffusé publiquement dans…

  263. Leslie Says:

    it is truly stupid that you think someone doing a search for “how to kill a wife” “poop” “dead bodies” “car crashes” is planning a murder. are they also planning a poop? people are just curious about what will show up on the internet. it’s quite obvious to me this person has a facination with looking for gross material. so what? this is not a crime. it is not a crime to look at a photo of a dead body, or to WANT to look at a photo online of a dead body. why do you think rotten.com is so popular? why aren’t people up in arms over that entire site?

    we are entering into a dark age if we start accusing crimes for what is searched for online. curiosity is not a crime.

    furthermore, AOL sucks. always has.

  264. KevinofBorg Says:

    I’m not sure why I’m even bothering to explain this… it seems like you’d be able to figure it out yourself but perhaps not.

    “I ask you why is it that americans have no problems arresting people that are planning or researching how to conduct terrorist attacks? Yet if a person plans on killing his wife that is ok, until he actually does it? How many people do you have to plan on killing before its ok for a company like AOL to hand your records over to the government? I am not taking sides, I’m just pointing out the obvious double standard. ”

    The answer is simple. There is more than one of us over here in the States. So some people may leave comments on your blog and some people may run for elected office and institute a “War on Terror” and there will still be many more that don’t participate in either of these activities. The blog people and the terror people may share some opinions on some topics or they may not share any opinions at all. I know it’s crazy to think that all of the citizens of the United States don’t share a collective hive mind but it’s true. We are individuals and capable of individual opinions.

    But blog away Mr. Internet.

  265. Bhavesh Patel Says:

    you’re nuts if you think people should get arrested over those search terms. there are so many non-criminal reasons for those search terms it’s ridiculous. e.g. he could be researching ideas for a book, writing a screenplay for a movie, doing a research project for school, have moribund curiousity, etc.

    maybe you should have been around in the 1600’s, during the witch hunts. or perhaps mccarthyism is your thing. those were great eras in history

  266. K fleitcher Says:

    If you read books about serial killers or murderers, does it mean you are researching how to do it?
    No. It is just a human fascination with such stuff.
    Of course there are people who would do this stuff, but I bet they have their own freaky ideas — they don’t necessarily need a search engine.

    Freedom of thought it a very important freedom. And our freedom to search for information or to view what others have thought about is a very important freedom.

  267. soufulow’s blog » Blog Archive » AOL releasing search data Says:

    [...] The Paradigm shift – Markus’s blog (also recommended.) [...]

  268. nat turner Says:

    The leap to guilt assumptions is a dangerous thing.

    So many people here assumed that anyone searching (doggedly, and repeatedly) for “how to kill your wife” must be planning to kill his wife.

    Every occur to anyone that novelists and mystery writers search for ideas? That a playwright may be looking for a graphic way to create a mis en scene?

    These leaps show the whole danger of datamining, and the current mania for “profiling” and guilt assumptions.

  269. Bran Says:

    Here is one of the fastest tools I have found for searching the database of AOL Search Data

  270. AOL Releases Private Search Data Says:

    [...] Via the Politech mailing list, the news that AOL has released the private search data of over 650,000 users to the public. This is a catastrophic violation of the users’ rights, with all kinds of implications — it’s kind of hard to believe a company can make this kind of a mistake and survive. Like the Sony rootkit fiasco from a while back, big companies are starting to screw up more often and more spectacularly. It will be interesting to watch this play out over the next few weeks.Most casual Internet users I talk to wouldn’t give a second thought about their search queries, where they might go, who might want them, and why one might be concerned about such things.The utter stupidity of this is staggering. AOL has released very private data about its users without their permission. While the AOL username has been changed to a random ID number, the abilitiy to analyze all searches by a single user will often lead people to easily determine who the user is, and what they are up to. The data includes personal names, addresses, social security numbers and everything else someone might type into a search box.The most serious problem is the fact that many people often search on their own name, or those of their friends and family, to see what information is available about them on the net. Combine these ego searches with porn queries and you have a serious embarrassment. Combine them with “buy ecstasy” and you have evidence of a crime. Combine it with an address, social security number, etc., and you have an identity theft waiting to happen. The possibilities are endless. Interesting/scary discussions (albeit with the usual signal to noise ratio) at this Slashdot article and at The Paradigm Shift. [...]

  271. Ikaruga2099 Says:

    Hey Markus, your comparison of googling for morbid terms to planning a terrorist attack doesn’t quite fly. It’s one thing for me to go out and buy all the materials needed to execute a plan (killing your wife or terrorist act or whatever); it’s quite another thing for me to look them up on the web. No, this isn’t a double-standard—it’s common sense. I’m only playing devil’s advocate here, but God forbid that we ever get to the point where browsing “controversial” material gets you locked up in jail. Reminds me of 1984…

  272. Deep Jive Interests » Are You a Pornhound or Manhunter? The Data Valdez That Was The AOL Leak. Says:

    [...] Filed under “Scary, scary sh*t”: Someone’s thinking of bumping off their wife, but that ain’t all the disturbing stuff that has been dug up. [...]

  273. BJ Says:

    Honestly this guy’s searches aren’t all that different from mine. And I’ve got good reason to be searching for this kind of Scary Sh*t – I do props for shows like Law & Order, Six Feet Under, the Devil’s Rejects and more. Scarcely a day goes by I don’t type the word “corpse” into my browser. And that’s why I’m going to defend this guy, or at least give him the benefit of the doubt. We don’t know why he was looking up this stuff. Maybe he’s working on a script.

  274. blaze Says:

    Only have one thing to say, and that would have to be “Big Brother”. Do you really want that to be a future? I dont think It will happen because things like this have seem to always be hited at and the public just wont tollerate something like that happening. If any of you support the goverment being able to look at searches done then I would have to recomend picking up a copy of 1942 and haveing a good read and maybe you will learn something.

  275. Iskenderiye Resources » Networked journalism: Feeding the Times Says:

    [...] Michael Barbaro, Tom Zeller, and Saul Hansell wrote a wonderful Page One story tracking a nice little old lady in Georgia by her supposedly anonymous searches revealed by AOL. The bloggers pounced on the AOL story immediately and showed the way; these guys then did a great job of picking up the story, finding a perfect case and putting it in context by interviewing privacy experts. [...]

  276. KrazyDad » Blog Archive » Some AOL search statistics Says:

    [...] The data contains search records for about 658 million users collected over a three month period from March to May 2006. According to AOL spokesperson Andrew Weinstein, this represents 0.33% of the search traffic conducted through AOL over that period. My own informal test indicates the actual fraction may be higher. The leaked data shows 30 visits to Krazydad over that period, and I actually had about about 480 visits from AOL search engines according to my web logs. Assuming that my web logs only account for half the traffic, this would still indicate that the leaked AOL data represents 3.0% of all AOL search traffic during that period. [...]

  277. DEBBIE Says:

    JUST CANCELLED MY ACCOUNT WITH AOL. I WAS ONE OF THE 500,000 AOL users WHOSE INFORMATION WAS LISTED.

  278. PodCafé #9: AOL révèle ses logs Says:

    [...] Posted by Damien Sat, 19 Aug 2006 01:22:00 GMT AOL a commis une grosse boulette la semaine dernière en diffusant les données de recherches (les “logs”) de 658.000 de ses abonnés. Ce fichier est une vraie mine d’or pour tous les apprentis sociologues qui peuplent le web, et en particulier pour la communauté des bloggueurs qui s’est empressée de le décortiquer. Le New York Times a même réussi de son côté à identifier une abonnée … [...]

  279. DEBBIE Says:

    krazydad you are right about your actual fraction…..my data that has been collected is from January 2006 on. I saw my information on a blog and blew me away. Like I said I cancelled my account with aol and thnking of a lawsuit. Must be careful I don’t want anything to be public……again.

  280. The Life & Times of JamesZ - Blog Archive » AOL Data Splunked Says:

    [...] Last week there was this big thing about AOL releasing 650,000 user’s search query data or roughly 20 million queries. Now that is disturbing, but it doesn’t really break any confidentiality laws because they didn’t give away anyone’s identity. But what really gets the goat (so to speak; is user 927’s search data or user 17556639 who is obviously planning to kill his wife) is the search topics of some users. These can be viewed using a nicely parsed html interface available over at Splunked. [...]

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  282. Steve's Stuff Says:

    What does a search engine know about you?

    What does a search engine know about you? Who knows it? And do they know it’s you?
    It’s said that you can tell a person by the company he keeps or, in this case, by the questions she asks. The New York Times was able to identify a supposed…

  283. AtomicThoughts » the internet is scary Says:

    [...] On to a different sort of scary. Scary news that no on seems to be freaking out about. Last week AOL posted a massive archive of “anonymized” user search keyword data from about 650 THOUSAND users. Some one must have pointed out how uncool that was, because they pulled the data after a few hours, but it was posted, copied, and now it’s mirrored in several other places. And people are finding alarming searches in there. And here’s another reason to hate AOL, this one having more to do with the lunk-headed “service recovery” efforts of their phone support staff. I swear this guy has a clone who works for Rogers Wireless. [...]

  284. EveryDigg » Blog Archive » AOL Search Data Shows Users Planning to commit Murder. Says:

    [...] http://research.aol.com released a list of 20 million + searches by 500,000 AOL users. Contained in this list are social security numbers, credit cards and other personal information. There are some truly scary things in this database. User 17556639 is constantly trying to find ways of killing his wife.read more | digg story [...]

  285. ID34.com » AOL release search history! Says:

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  286. Tech Industry » AOL Search Data Shows Users Planning to commit Murder. Says:

    [...] http://research.aol.com released a list of 20 million + searches by 500,000 AOL users. Contained in this list are social security numbers, credit cards and other personal information. There are some truly scary things in this database. User 17556639 is constantly trying to find ways of killing his wife.read more | digg story [...]

  287. full :: 1511 » So it looks like AOL is now encrypting data… Says:

    [...] After this post from Marcus, I found it really interesting that AOL is now starting to encrypt some referring search data. That being said, I just wanted to put it out there to see if anyone else had seen similar type encrypted data from AOL search queries. It looks like the site AOL Naked was pretty much taken offline as well. I am guessing that was for legal reasons. [...]

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  289. david kans Says:

    this is really interesting, and scary. are we going to be like these movies where goverment can read people’s mind, and determine weather or not a man is going to murder in 20 years?
    what about errors?

    on the other hand, when comes a search like the one mentioned… where its obvious the guys need to be in jail or at least get proffeccional help… what are we supposed to do? ignore it?

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  292. blog.centripetal.ca » Blog Archive » AOL Releases Private Search Data Says:

    [...] Interesting/scary discussions (albeit with the usual signal to noise ratio) at this Slashdot article and at The Paradigm Shift. [...]

  293. The Void » To bad ‘not logging in’ isn’t enough… Says:

    [...] NY Times article Some dudes blog Some other news site A good post on the orig. Slashdot Article A searchable DB Another blog [...]

  294. AOL’s Big Blunder | inter:digital strategies Says:

    [...] In fact, some bloggers (prior to AOL’s removal of the dataset) already identified some rather disconcerting query groups. Can any law enforcement body conceivably let this issue go without attempting to gain access to the information? The public availability of information this alarming may greatly weaken the court’s resistance to the Department of Justice’s requests for private data. Although the courts have generally been supportive of privacy, this information could very easily sway a judge. [...]

  295. Now this is scary… | My Darkest Desires Says:

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  296. eWisentNet » Blog Archive » www.webmastertraffictools.com Says:

    [...] AOL Search Data Shows Users Planning to commit Murder. The Paradigm Update**** Monday July 7th 7 PM PST Users in the comments are pissed off at the Update**** Monday July 7th 7 PM PST Users in the comments are pissed off at the [...]

  297. craig Says:

    ok if it is illegal or an issue to data mine or tap phones of american citizens would’nt this fall under the same category? I think it is crap that the gov could be able to check someones searches and then come back and arrest them.. how many of you have gone to google with your friends clicked images and typed in some crazy stuff just for giggles… no different than checking my library card to see what books i got (which i believe was supposed to be illegal also)

  298. Asylum Seekers » Blog Archive » user 17556639 Says:

    [...] in this article we see a list of internet search terms entered by a particular user. the private mental space is quickly availible for machine recognition. quiet desperation catalogued. [...]

  299. AOL releases search engine keyword query data for over 500k AOL users!… at Head London Says:

    [...] Other people have analysed the data and found some disturbing things, this for instance… AOL Search Data Shows Users Planning to commit Murder. [...]

  300. tim thomson Says:

    Why are people in such a hurry to restrict freedom? What about the vast majority of healthy searches? Perhaps this person was going through a bad patch and felt morbid. Is there a shred of evidence to suggest that searching of this type is IN ITSELF a threat to anyone?

    Some people have morbid personalities. Would you legislate against that too? Maybe the price of the information and communication revolution
    will by all your efforts turn out to have spawned thought police, but this would be a great shame. All you control freaks should understand no big brother will save you. Who wants to be saved.

  301. nikki Says:

    i just looked it up because. i needed an idea for a creative writing peice about a murder sequel for a murder mystery i had read in that class. I wanted to make it interesting, and not someone just getting shot. But im not looking to murder anyone. But with as many people who search how to murder people it does make one wonder.

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  303. football Says:

    How long before the gov’t starts tracking all this data? It sounds like the minority report.

  304. AlisonM Says:

    I guess it’s safe to say that Big Brother really is watching you then!

  305. Weekly Roundup, August 11, 2006 : Exclusive Concepts Blog Says:

    [...] AOL Search Data Shows Users Planning to Commit Murder [...]

  306. gordie Says:

    just because you search things like “how to kill your wife”, doesn’t mean your a murder, or your going to kill your wife. It just means there is something really wrong with you.

    Law Enforcement and the government don’t need to get their noses involved in the search engine unless someone actually did commit the murder, and they could use it as evidence. Otherwise they would have no grounds to arrest anyone for searching stuff like that.

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  309. techcrunch » Blog Archive » AOL Proudly Releases Massive Amounts of Private Data Says:

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  310. Lardzor Says:

    Web searches are just a glimpse into someone’s head. That’s not enough.

    It’s not in PERSPECTIVE and it’s not proof of anything but curiosity.

  311. baba Says:

    am in ouganda and i intend to kill a person that killed my brother , ihave been watching all tv prog related to crime investigation and how to escape murder lwhat i know is that i wil do it .so not giving info on how i can do it in a smooth way doesnt make any difference .america come get me ,so far i have killed 4 people and i havent been caught ,so i think tht is bullshit .why do american gvt think that americans are the only pple on planete .i need more info on how i can be a terrorist do no think it is only in asia it is spreading everywhere .if they think there police of the world common come get me cause even american can be next .they killed my whole family back in congo all the rest of my time i will be searching info on how to get them especially those working for the gvt

  312. Winston C. Mathis Says:

    Yea, well, some folks live fantasy lives. Some people have lapses in judgment . Who among us has not done something that would be considered a crime, but did not get caught? Human nature does not permit this level of scrutiny.

    Check out the prison load in each state now. The drug war has been worked in one respect — it has overburdened our prison systems. Now we are going to have a cyberwar? Who among us shall be the thought police? If this vision of the world emerges I hope I am one of the enforcers and not one of the sheep.

    Sleep well tonight because the door that locks behind you in the morning may not be your own . . .

  313. Idetrorce Says:

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
    Idetrorce

  314. mitesh Says:

    today u can search for info on anything using various search engines. it do have good and bad consequences. its like a two sides of a coin.

    u cant blame anyone for searching a particular keyword or phrase. It’s very much possible that the individual is a psychologist, graduate student, investigation officer, writer or journalist doing research on a related topic.

    but yes do feel – it can happen – but chances will be merely 2-3%.

  315. John Stives Says:

    Terrorists exist everywhere, that is the simple fact of the matter!

  316. Be Careful What You Search For | TheVanBlog Says:

    [...] plentyoffish blog presents one of the more frightening search histories released and admittedly it does seem like someone should be checking out user 17556639, but do we [...]

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    Search data SHOULD be kept under wraps, not for the protection of a sicko who actually is intending to murder his wife, but for the protection of others who might be conducting suspicious-looking searches for totally innocent reasons. I do not want to have to be looking over my shoulder, wondering if the internet searches that I conduct are going to land me in legal trouble. Such surveillance could have a detrimental impact on the internet, which is currently a very open source of information, and the freedom that people feel in using it.

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  323. ‘How To’ Web Offers Ways To Kill Yourself and Others « TruthHugger Says:

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  324. project10guy Says:

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  330. Update on an interesting data set… | El Mundo Con Otros Ojos Says:

    [...] They might come across the entry for User 17556639 [...]

  331. stuart Says:

    Yet another step in the degradation of our rights and privacy. Is it or should it be a crime to look for information, pose a question or have a thirst for knowledge? I can think of lots of reasons why user 17556639 could be searching for these items legitimately and am shocked that most here have them down as a murderer??? Eg. All Goths are murderers and so are writers of crime and murder in fact anyone who shows an interest in death, murder etc. for whatever reason should be investigated?? Come on get real! I’m sure weve all searched things at some point, that could be misconstrued in the right circumstance? Do you read novels? Have you ever searched the contents of something you read just out of blind curiosity? Just like the extremely high numbers of suspected terrorists that have been arrested and detained without charge and had there lives homes and families turned inside out on the basis of evidence similar to this, only to be RELEASED without being charged of any offence. I think there is massive scope for abuse here and history tells us where media and information can be abused it will be and normally for fiscal profit.

    You can lie to some of the people some of the time, but you cant lie to all the people all of the time.

    Stu

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  333. Privacy Software » Blog Archive » Why Search is the Biggest Online Privacy Risk Says:

    [...] 17556639 searched for things like how to kill your wife. While privacy is important, should data that could [...]

  334. AOL trip over the privacy | What did you mean ? Says:

    [...] large. The catch is that they’ve not done enough to anonymise the data and there’s some seriously dodgy stuff in there. How can they win back the trust of their subscribers? [...]

  335. Jee Says:

    Nothing should be done about it.
    WTF do you want? Thought police?

    Nobody did anything illegal.
    Have you never heard of morbid fantasies?
    Writers searching for information to put into a story, the perspective of one of their characters ? To name a few.

    Are you going to bust down the door of every person who searches “how to pass a drug test” or “how to grow marijuana” or “Osama bin laden hero”

    The internet may help police/the government solve crimes, OF COURSE IT WOULD. But catching some people doesn’t justify mass snooping, invasion of privacy and
    This is not a totalitarian world (yet). You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

    You have been so scared by the media over crime, specifically terrorism, that you are willing to give up all freedom for the slim chance that a naturally occuring thing…crime..humans being violent occasionally… won’t happen. A free and spontaneous society erased.
    Interestingly, if you look up this New World Order stuff, that’s exactly what it talks about.
    Scaring people senseless, scaring them into accepting all this tracking and suveillance and restriction of freedom, thinking it’s needed for safety and ‘for our own good’ until we are all powerless, controlled pawns.

    Go look it up. It is starting to make more and more sense when there are so many over-reacting idiots like you, willing to bend over at any moment

  336. Jee Says:

    Also the original poster missed a crucial fact in their little anaolgy.
    The 2 crimes cannot compare.
    Terrorists are planning MASS murder. Killing a spouse is 1 person.
    Most importantly it does not threaten society in general.
    THERE is the difference.

    A terrorist will also generally use a bomb, which is scary, sudden, hidden, unknown and can’t be fought off, whereas a 1-on-1 attack can usually be fought off, and the victim would presumably be suspicious considering they’d been living with a maniac.

    Hmmmmm and I don’t know where you got the idea that so many Americans (or anyone in general) thinks that. It’s the government who’s doing it. Do you see everyone agreeing to it? Because I don’t.

  337. Dis-moi ce que tu cherches, je te dirai qui tu es Says:

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  338. The places Google sends its traffic Says:

    [...] A few days ago AOL released the data (mirror link) for 20 million web queries from 650,000 of its users. This has created some huge privacy issues – for example we now know that user 491577 searched for “florida cna pca lakeland tampa”, “emt school training florida”, “low calorie meals”, “infant seat”, and “fisher price roller blades” and it also showed that others are searching for some pretty disturbing stuff. [...]

  339. Kai Says:

    …AOL Sucks.

  340. Mac K Says:

    Is there anything that can be done? I have some of this data released; it is not illegal, nor does it include SSN info – but it is uncomfortable to have this search data in Google even if it is two years old. Would writing to the owner of the site posting it, help?

  341. Easy Programing Blogs » Blog Archive » Google An Endemic Threat to Privacy - PI Says Says:

    [...] search users (You may not be serious about what I am talking. Have a look at this blog post, [AOL Research-1], [AOL Research-2] based on the Search history data released by AOL on August,2006. [...]

  342. Ree Says:

    AOL made a huge mistake, but the reason why this is so scary ISN’T because of the privacy issues. The main issue here is that it can be used to condemn innocent people and tarnish their reputations. Monitering internet searches is dangerous and a waste of time. Just because someone looks up stuff about murder doesn’t mean they’re going to commit it. It’s very likely that people will read stuff and jump to conclusions. This guy has alot of evidence agianst him so I think it’s quite likely he really was planning murder, but he may not have been. Let’s assume he only typed in these “dead people photos” and “death”.
    Now, he could be doing anything with these. He could be in/intrested in a job in forensics. He could be writing a research paper, looking for inspiration or information for a horror novel, gothic poetry, or a murder mystery book. He could be making a video presentation to show the dangers of a certain type of thing that causes death (Example: Search “Car crashe photos” or “Death in car crashes”, to get photos to scare teens who may be taking their first driving test. This has been done.)
    By searching “death” one may also mean the personification of Death (like the grim reaper) not death as in murder.
    This is a common search for teens who just enjoy creepy and somewhat elegant pictures of “Death” and dead things. Mostly ones who identify with the goth or emo stereotype, but wouldn’t actually kill anyone.
    Some death related searches may be actually the title of a book.
    Some books have very intresting titles espessially ones involving murder. Just like it’s not a crime to read books about serial killers, it’s not a crime to visit sites about them. The internet is really just that, when webpages are concerned, a giant worldwide book and mail service. You wouldn’t make a big deal about the books people read so you shouldn’t make a big deal about the sites they visit.

  343. Ree Says:

    Expanding on my previous post (sorry if you have a rule about double posting). I’m just saying that the scary thing isn’t what the people were searching for but the simple fact that other people are so afraid that someone MIGHT commit a crime that they are looking at these searches and automatically assuming the worse.
    People look up murder and death related things all the time. My guess is only 2 out of 10, of these people are actually planning it. Something like child porn there’s no excuse for, but about everything else can be completely misconstrued.

    Plus, how many times have you used a friend’s computer or a friend used yours? If you were to track these people based on their computer it would be easy to frame someone. What if a friend borrowed your computer, you threw a party and someone got bored and got on your computer, or someone snuck into your place of residence and purposefully put incriminating things on your computer?
    There’s absolutely no way to prove exactly who was using the computer at the time of the searches.

    Thus, this kind of investigation is useless and you’re probably just going to tie up the courts with alot of false accusations.

    I agree with Nat turner who said “These leaps show the whole danger of datamining, and the current mania for “profiling” and guilt assumptions.”
    We cannot assume that someone looking up crimes is actually planning on commiting them.

  344. Ree Says:

    I take back what I said about the guy having alot of evidence agianst him. I just found out that How to Kill Your Wife and Steak and Cheese are the names of websites. I don’t think he was looking for murder at all, I think he was looking for humor! Sick and twisted humor alright, but humor none the less. I mean come on, murder, murder, murder, poop?
    Though I believe this has been said already, he’s probably just a 14 year old boy having an immature laugh at sick jokes and dead people. He is guilty of no crime other than a sick sense of humor and I’m pretty sure there is law agianst humor. In the case of user 17556639 I don’t think there’s any cause for alarm and I’m willing to bet most of the other searches for wife killing were only looking that specific website.

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  349. Dee Says:

    I am horrified to see the amount of horrific-“how to’s”, But the reason I’m searching is because I am trying to find a book on how my exhusband tried to “do away with me”, so that I can prosecute him, and prove what he has already done..

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