In its latest update on the 36 million search records released by AOL, the Washington Post explores the ethical dilemma of those who were against these records being released but had such a need to sift through them:
Even privacy advocates who were outraged by the breach have analyzed the search strings, mainly so they can provide evidence to back up their claims about how invasive the data are.
Matthew Hindman, a political science professor at Arizona State University, said, "My first reaction was horror at the privacy implications," he said. "And then I got excited about all the fun things we could learn from the data."
Imagine the scene as these brave men and women dove into the data. Did tears sting their eyes the whole time? Did they run rapid searches while talking full-speed into a portable recorder to get as much dry clinical analysis logged as possible before they rushed to the bathroom to vomit?
AOL Search Queries Open Window Onto Users' Worlds [Washington Post]