New York Times turns corporate privacy violation into story about puppies

The New York Times looked at the pile of supposedly private user records AOL had released over the weekend. There was a user obsessed with rape porn. A user researching how to kill his wife. A user searching for kiddie porn. The Times had a tough call — which user's identity was most newsworthy?

The Times decided to hunt down User Number 4417749, who searched for "numb fingers."

Yes, the Times, whose earlier coverage of the AOL privacy violation focused on AOL removing the data (and not, say, AOL putting the data up in the first place), managed to find Georgian widow Thelma Arnold. And they got a photo with her doggie.

Because deep inside every hard-hitting article about corporate wrongdoing lies the soul of an insipid human interest piece trying to break free.

A Face Is Exposed for AOL Searcher No. 4417749 [NYT]
Earlier: Find the scariest AOL user search record [Valleywag]