The Attention Trust Blog reports some of the details of the AOL user data leak in this post here. Imagine if everything you ever searched for on Google, Yahoo, MSN or AOL became available to people. Looking up old friends? Searching for some ahem something you shouldn't be? Are you trying to lose weight? (I am). Etc. etc.
What I have discovered since installing the Attention Recorder on my browser is that there are times when I stop myself and hit the pause button before I continue on to the next site. This awareness becomes even more important when you think not only of the personal things you do but also the competitive or business related things you do. I have a badge on the right hand side of this blog that shows a list of the top sites I clicked on and the gainers and losers. VCs? Competitors? Business Partners? It's easy to get a sense of what one is doing with click data. Installing the recorder has allowed me to become more cognizant of the power of that information. It has also made me even more cognizant of all the data the various portals have on my combined surfing history going back a long time. I think at some point a lot of people are going to wake up to this and start becoming more vocal in word and deed about how information about them is collected and how they can take control of that information.