I’m furious about the fact that someone released this user data, regardless of their intentions (which were good: to share data with the research communities). This was a huge mistake, and people have to really think before they get all excited about sharing data or APIs. I’m all for being open, but user privacy trumps all the open ideals that we all share.
Frankly, I want us to NOT KEEP LOGS of our search data. Yep, you heard that right… we shouldn’t even keep this data. I know that’s crazy, but I learned this week that Wikipedia turned off their log files. They did this for tech reasons, but they now are keeping them off and not looking to solve the problem because of the huge upside of users knowing their searches on wikipedia DON’T EVEN EXIST!
I think we should use this as a way to brand AOL Search: We don’t record your searches!
What do you folks think, should we turn off our log files and go for it?
You can read more about our response at CNET.