After the AOL mishap where individually identifiable search terms were released into the wild (one woman from Georgia has already been identified by those hard-hitting journos at the New York Times) – Google has insisted that such a catastrophe couldn’t happen to its users’ data.
"We have systems in place that won’t allow it to happen" said CEO Eric Schmidt. Oh dear, famous last words eh? "Never say never" were his final words, after he’d said that Google were ‘reasonably satisfied’ a security breach couldn’t happen.
Google won’t be criticising AOL too much – they do own a 5% stake in the company and they’re ‘a good partner’.
Online data security is an important issue as we place an ever greater reliance on the Internet, and particularly on search engines. Think about all the things you search for online, and what someone could find out (or assume) about you if they got hold of that information. Let’s hope Google really have got their systems secure.