Search Privacy Concerns Humanized As The New York Times Tracks Down Anonymous AOL Searcher

A Face Is Exposed for AOL Searcher No. 4417749 is an excellent read from the New York Times, where you can meet the person who is about to become the most famous searcher ever: Thelma Arnold, a 62-year-old from Georgia. Using the released AOL search records, the New York Times figured out who she was and interviewed her and her searching habits for the story. No more discussing whether anonymous search records might contain enough information to identify people. In some cases, they do (or at least enough to make an extremely good guess and get confirmation from the person themselves). Thelma Arnold now becomes the face of search privacy issues. Meanwhile, though not naming people, News.com has a good look at more searching behavior from the records: AOL's disturbing glimpse into users' lives.