Carlo at Techdirt has an article on how a class action lawsuit will only hurt and not help the industry. I’m not sure Carlo would agree if it was his data that he entrusted to AOL and it was released via the Internet. He makes an assumption that Google and Yahoo! are next and this is a ‘search’ issue.
- It’s not a ‘search’ issue at all, it’s a ‘responsibility’ issue. In this day and age, criminals are flocking to the internet to capture and utilize people’s personal information to assume their identity for illegal purposes. Companies are entrusted with our data and must protect it. AOL not only did not protect it, they pushed it out where anyone could find it!
- As for the lawyers getting all the money, it’s not about who gets it. It’s about who pays it. Companies do not have personalities, they do not have a conscience, and the only responsibility they have is to make money for their stockholders. As a result, the only way to punish a company and make them change direction is to sue them for exorbitant amounts of money.
I believe in capitalism and I’m absolutely against frivolous lawsuits. I even believe there needs to be laws passed so that the loser pays all costs associated with a frivolous suit. But this is not one of them. If AOL goes down hard because of this, then other companies will take notice and put the necessary precautions in place to protect our privacy.
We’re paying for their service. They are profiting from our data. They need to be held accountable.