Recently, the blogosphere has been rocked by the bit of news about AOL users’ search being made public. It was supposed to be used for a research or something but there was a security breach. As such, those information were made known to many.
Searching online is probably one of the most common things that people do. Whether it is for personal purposes or otherwise, they have the right to make their search private. The problem here is that the people from AOL should have been more careful about it.
What’s with protecting people from having their search history made public?
I personally see it as something important because people could get suspected of something they are not guilty of, depending on who is the one interpreting the data. Think of it this way: You are college student and you are studying literature. What if you happen to be studying literary works involving crime? On your computer, you will have different readings, perhaps? What kinds of searches would you make? What keywords will you use? You will look for materials on crime, etc. If someone sees your search history and starts thinking that there is a pattern like you have been temperamental and a bit violent compared to your usual self, this person might turn you in just because.
It would be nice to have search histories researched on so that search engines could yield better results when we use them. However, it could be abused too. Hopefully, all the other major groups behind search engines would learn from this gaffe AOL had. That way, people won’t be too paranoid that someone is watching them and accuse them.