Wednesday, August 09, 2006

It's My Life

Poor Thelma out in Lilburn. She got screwed-over royally by AOL. I'd say, well hon, that's what you get for messing around with AOL, but no one deserves the nasty privacy violation the NYT today reports Thelma from Lilburn had handed to her.

From the story:

AOL removed the search data from its site over the weekend and apologized for its release, saying it was an unauthorized move by a team that had hoped it would benefit academic researchers.

But the detailed records of searches conducted by Ms. Arnold and 657,000 other Americans, copies of which continue to circulate online, underscore how much people unintentionally reveal about themselves when they use search engines — and how risky it can be for companies like AOL, Google and Yahoo to compile such data.

Those risks have long pitted privacy advocates against online marketers and other Internet companies seeking to profit from the Internet’s unique ability to track the comings and goings of users, allowing for more focused and therefore more lucrative advertising.

Hmmm... the search saga of Thelma Arnold led me to wonder about my constant Googling. When you install a Google Toolbar on your web browser, as I have, Google has this to say on its Help pulldown, with my additions in parens:
Use of the Advanced Features of the Google Toolbar requires that information about the site you visit (sounds like we only ever go to one site, eh?) be sent to Google. (Like, uh, where at Google?) This is needed to make these features possible. With all advanced features disabled, no information about the sites you visit will be communicated to Google. (And thus on to whomever!)

The full Google Toolbar privacy disclosure thingee is here.

Naturally enough, I wondered what my search history would tell someone. So, I will show you mine, totally uncensored (I swear), if you show me yours. Here's my Top Twelve of Last Things (not sites mind you) Searched on Google:

  1. Boondocks Martin Luther King
  2. Boondocks on Cartoon Network
  3. half man half biscuit
  4. guatemalan
  5. the bird cage spartacus
  6. the bird cage sparticas
  7. italian cafe howell mill
  8. scott selig
  9. Cynthia McKinney district
  10. georgia corporations state
  11. georgia corporations state
  12. lenny's atlanta

Speak volumes to you? Could care less? To me it says, "You are a notoriously bad speller, and frequently use Google just to spellcheck a word." (I once had a teacher tell me that I couldn't spell because I wasn't a reader. Dumb bitch, and I'd tell her so to her face if I saw her again. Only thing is, I can't remember who she was. I know her only by her falsehood. Shame.)

Sometimes, I don't quite heart the Internet as much as I typically do. Today, I admit feeling just a touch of betrayal.

This post put together to It's My Life

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Amber said...

My last 12 google searches (from my work computer, anyway) -

1. signs of bedbugs
2. anchor link problem one true layout
3. define:essentialism
4. firefox extensions affect javascript speed
5. microsoft standards based redesign
6. microsoft css redesign
7. mudsharks
8. photoshop elements open photoshop cs2 files
9. history of the button
10. laureate medical group
11. hello butts county
12. small yellow georgia bird

No idea what that's supposed to say about me.

And I still don't know what mudsharks are.

Paris said...

That is soooooo totally YOU, Amber! Just your search history size. Did you get it on sale? Wal-Mart? Saks? Value Village? Please tell all!!!!