A recent Digg article promoted Google Notebook’s search page where you can search public notebooks for content. Sounds harmless, right? I think it is for the most part because users are given the choice to opt-in for making their notebooks publicly viewable, but by default this is disabled which means most notebooks will remain private. It is kinda cool to see some people saving articles that you write.
The problem occurs when some people don’t realize what information they are making publicly available. For example, this page has several email accounts listed along with their corresponding passwords. Even worse is this page which did have Social Security Numbers (SSN) along with maiden names for the people. It looks like that page has since been removed but a small preview is still available through the search along with this fully cached version:
Those searches reveal some personal information but it can also point out some illegal cracks and serial numbers. This notebook has to be one of the larger ones that contains illegal content with hyperlinks to downloads and cracks.
Google might have a problem on their hands but what can they do about it? They could probably start closing accounts for those saving illegal content, but they undoubtedly need to setup some sort of sensor system for the private information. I agree that saving logins/passwords or Social Security Numbers to your Google Notebook is not the brightest thing, but I think Google needs to intervene here. Maybe they already have and that’s why the notebook that contained the Social Security Number is no longer available?