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AOL: get out of my underwear drawer!

There’s a big flap, as there should be, over AOL releasing information about searches that is detailed enough to identify individuals. Google says they’d never, ever, ever do something like that. Sure, they could, but they wouldn’t. Honest.

On the other side are privacy advocates saying all this information needs to be safeguarded by neutral third parties. Or someone trustworthy. Or something.

Let’s step back a moment, and think about why search information needs to be saved. It’s not to help you recover lost searches which you forgot to back up. It’s not to help scientists discover the Grand Unified Theory of Information. Searches are saved so that the search engine can target ads more precisely. Precise targeting allows the search company to charge more for ad placement.

We’re supposed to live under a constant spiritual colonoscopy, as it were, so that Google can make money.

I don’t think so.

Privacy should not be the last priority. Marketing should not be the first. It’s way past time for legislation that puts those two in their proper relationship.