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, has a good
look at more searching behavior from the records:
AOL’s disturbing glimpse
into users’ lives

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