AOL releases search logs to the public.

NuvoNuvo Forum LeaderVPS - Virtual Prince of the Server
If you've visited Digg within the last day or so, you no doubt have heard this incredible news.

As many will know, Governments have been trying to obtain data from large search engines such as Google (who refused and got in the brown), Yahoo! and MSN.
A majority of the companies (Yahoo!, Microsoft and so on) agreed to allow government officials to access their search logs for a set period of time, effectively giving them the ability to find out what people were looking up, when and where (they just have to find out where you are using your I.P., but this can be beaten by systems such as Tor).
Google decided to do the right thing (for most people) and defend the privacy of it's users.

AOL, a company you should all know and hate more than Satan himself, decided to try and play this kind of thing to their advantage.
The company has been losing out in the internet services area to companies such as Google, which offer a simple and clean interface and have better search features and their ISP arm is losing out due to stupid software and poor services.
Google owns a stake in AOL, but even their intellectual might could not prevent AOL's monumental blunder.

Rather than simply allowing Bush and co. to read logs, they decided to let everyone access some of their search logs.
These logs have had I.P. addresses and such removes, but not the search keyword.
This means that if you happened to search for something private such as a shipping number or account details, they might be listed in the logs (19MB each and there's at least 10, so I don't advise loading them as your browser will die).
The scary thing is that this is not leaked, AOL did it willingly.
Their idea was that if they did this, these logs would be used for research and would then appear in research documents that could give them a boost in users.
The logs were removed from AOL's site (best viewed in Firefox by the way, not Internet Explorer which is what their AOL browser is based on) after a flood of complaints, but not before at least half a dozen people got hold of them and put them up elsewhere.

Now AOL has the problem that users won't trust them enough to use them and there's no way of preventing the data from being redistrobuted and used for any purpose that the holder sees fit.

I do know of a site which is mirroring these files and yes, a 19MB .htm file will cripple any browser it's loaded into (I tried with both Firefox and Opera 9 and both were pretty much destroyed by it, but Opera 9 did show that these are real).
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