The company claimed it was trying to help researchers by providing “anonymized” search information, but experts and the public were shocked at how easy it was to figure out who had been searching on what. Apparently, AOL’s anonymizing process didn’t include removing names, addresses and Social Security numbers. Although the company has since apologized and taken the data down, there are at least half-a-dozen mirrors still out there for all to browse.
This may have been one of the dumbest privacy debacles of all time, but it certainly wasn’t the first. Here are ten other privacy snafus that made the world an unsafer place. Despite the obvious flaws of rankings, we have attempted one as follows, in descending order:
(via Schneier on Security)