Have you ever searched for your social security number to see if it happened to be posted online somewhere? Have you searched for it along with your name? Many do, and it has apparently been confirmed that the massive database of search history AOL released does include searches with users’ social security numbers.
From the Interesting People mailing list:
A search for an SSN shaped regex on the full AOL search data returns a 191 results including repeat searches. Many of these have full names, and at least a dozen include either an addresses, drivers license number, date of birth or some combination of the three in the same query. There’s no telling how much more information an aggregation of other queries by those same user ID would yield.
I don’t know what AOL was thinking…