Afraid Of Ending Up Like AOL Searcher 4417749? Get “Lost In The Crowd”

Michael Santo of RealTechNews writes:

Unfortunately for AOL Searcher 4417749, there was enough info in AOL’s searcher data, released for 650,000 users, to be IDed by the New York Times. If you’re afraid of this happening to you, Web developers at Unspam Technologies Inc. have a tool for you.

Lost In The Crowd randomly generates queries to confuse anyone who might look through future search records. Users download a search engine bookmark from Lost In The Crowd before going to the search engine and clicking on the bookmark.

Downloading the bookmark hands the Web cookie for the search engine to another computer operated by Unspam, which runs random searches on the searcher’s behalf, several times daily for up to six months. [Source: TechWeb]

We Say: Unspam CEO Matthew Prince said Lost In The Crowd took one week to develop. Here’s my question: just how much extra Web traffic would be generated across the world if we all ran this?

Update: There’s also a Firefox extension called TrackMeNot that does a similar thing.

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When blogs became “hot,” we looked at the category and found a gap. Tech blogs were furiously covering gadgets and gizmos and new products from Asia, and the mainstream tech sites were diligently doing product reviews and news items, but no one was really sitting in the middle and bringing the best of both worlds to one place. Enter RealTechNews (RTN). Our mission is simple: We aim to bridge the gap between the informal and mostly amateur-run tech blogs and the polished but often slow and advertiser-supported tech portals.

[tags]security,aol,search data,aol searcher,4417749,lost in the crowd[/tags]