data Valdez

This expression is in reference to the (former) largest oil spill in North American history when the Exxon Valdez tanker spilled 11 million gallons of unrefined Alaskan crude oil into Prince William Sound. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill far eclipsed that number, spilling an estimated 210 million gallons beginning in April 2010.

A similar debacle of astronomic proportion occurred when AOL intentionally released three months of search queries by 658,000 AOL users. Though the Internet service provider tried to pull back the data, it was too late as it had already leaked all over the net. AOL rightly apologized but in fact, violated its own privacy policy as well as existing federal law. According to experts, U.S. congress should heed the lessons of this "data Valdez" and enhance protections for users' privacy.

AOL's data Valdez released a total of 36,389,629 individual searches. They intended the files to be an academic resource but didn't consider that users might be upset to see their private queries become a research tool.

Click on "more info" below to see "The 7 Ways People Search the Web according to AOL's users."

NetLingo Classification: Online Jargon

See more information about this term