As the fallout
from AOL's mistake of letting vast amounts of user search data slip continues to settle, privacy group EFF
is petitioning the Federal Trade Comission to start investigating AOL
. Citing, quite obviously, privacy violations and the potential damage to people's lives, the EFF wants AOL to make amends and repair any damage that has occurred or may occur.
"We've asked the FTC to make sure that AOL rectifies the damage that's been done and improve its privacy protections for the future," EFF attorney Kevin Bankston said. "But this problem isn't limited to AOL -- every search company stores this kind of data. Hopefully, AOL's shocking violation of its users' privacy will spur Congress to clarify that the same law that prevents these companies from disclosing our personal emails also applies to our search logs."
All of this comes as people become increasingly aware of the type of data search engines store, and how easily it can be tracked back to an individual. While I hope this doesn't end up with all search engines having disclaimers, it does bring to mind questions about what sort of responsibility the search companies have over any data they retain.