Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Times article on Academic use of AOL Data

the times has a good story on academic use of the AOL data, and how many academics are turning their back on the data. my prediction is that someone out there will really take the time to do a good job of anonymizing this data, and more academics may start to use that better scrubbed dataset.

what really got my goat was a quote from the article about Dr. Chowdhury, the AOL researcher who released the data (he was fired by AOL). the man is certainly very stupid if this is true:
Professor Etzioni said Dr. Chowdhury was horrified by what had happened. “He didn’t anticipate that this kind of data could be used to track down individuals.” Dr. Chowdhury declined to comment, at the advice of his lawyer.
idiot. sure, i wouldn't expect the average person to understand how easy it is to use this data to track down individuals, but an AOL researcher working with query data -- come on. i imagine that google didn't recently invest heavily in AOL for its technical people.

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