AOL subscribers file privacy lawsuit

Three AOL subscribers who suddenly found records of their Internet searches widely distributed online are suing the company under privacy laws and are seeking an end to its retention of search-related data, an Associated Press report said.

The report said the lawsuit was believed to be the first in the wake of AOL's intentional release of some 19 million search requests made over a three-month period by more than 650,000 subscribers, including the three plaintiffs, two unnamed Californians and Kasadore Ramkissoon of Richmond County, New York.

Filed in a US District Court in Oakland, California, the lawsuit sought class-action status. It did not specify the amount of damages being sought, the report said.

The report said AOL had already apologized for the release, which it blamed on a researcher who had failed to gain proper clearances.

The researcher and another AOL employee had been fired, and the company's chief technology officer had resigned. AOL also pledged to name its first chief privacy officer, the report said.