In 2006, AOL voluntarily released the search data of 650,000 of its users over a three-month period some 20 million Web queries in total. Although the AOL user name had been changed to a random ID number, one could analyze all the searches done by a single user and deduce who the person was. Understandably, the online community was outraged, and AOL acted swiftly, removing the data and issuing apologetic press releases.
"This was a screw-up, and we're angry and upset about it," spokesman Andrew Weinstein said in one rather honest missive.
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