I'm going to go contrarian for this post: as bad as this is, I'm somewhat relieved that they released it to the public, instead of stealthily handing it off to the highest bidder. It's disturbing that they're so blase about such sensitive information (I'll get to that in a second), but honestly - these slimeballs are going to sell it anyway. If that's the case, the general public should get to see what it is.
And it is riveting. I happened to get a copy pretty quickly (how could I not?) and sat for about two hours going through the first few thousand records (the amount of data is staggering). Since searches are grouped by account, an intense sort of "story" emerges from the chaos. It's all pure speculation, of course, but occasionally you will see different perspectives from different people coming through. What AOL has released is the subconscious of America - real people off their guard, often sharing their innermost thoughts about their health, their finances, and their passions.
I know this sounds over the top. It really isn't. I really felt like I was stepping in someone else's shoes over and over again while reading through these records. The records cut across all parts of the country and all nationalities and religions.
I'm not sure if I should do this, but here are some of the searches that just jumped out at me as humorous, intense, or whatever. I am not putting any health related queries up, although there's no shortage from what I saw - the internet is a huge resource for health related issues. Anyway, I'm putting them here to justify the rest of this post a bit. The ones on the same line are by the same person. And if you think this is wrong of me to post, let me know! I have mixed feelings myself...
And of course,