‘Freakish’ online searches inspire play

From CNN.com: ‘Freakish’ online searches inspire play

A new play in Philadelphia is based on the real life searches of an anonymous AOL subscriber, User 927.

The story’s central clue is the real-life online search log of an AOL subscriber — identified only as User 927 — that was released to the public two years ago in a well-publicized privacy gaffe.

Alltop said he was astonished when AOL intentionally released some 19 million search requests made over three months by more than 650,000 subscribers.

The logs were meant to help academic researchers, but they were posted on a public site and quickly circulated once a blogger discovered them.

Although AOL had substituted numeric IDs for the subscribers’ real user names, there were enough clues for The New York Times and The Washington Post to track down two of the users and identify them by name.

The identity of User 927 is still unknown. But Alltop was fascinated enough by that subscriber’s freakish queries, including some disturbing sexual imagery, to commission a 90-minute play around the search log.

The searches of User 927, culled from the AOL search logs are pretty frightening and strange.  Definitely a hint of mystery and kind of makes you wonder what kind of person this is.

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