I attended the MSN Search Champs today....and what a day. Given the recent news and concerns around the data MSN Search, Yahoo and AOL provided to the government, there was a session set up where the 57 bloggers / online experts at MSN Search Champ were invited to discuss the topic with senior MSN management (Senior VP Yusuf Mehdi and VP Chris Payne).
As Robert Scoble wrote, MSN VP Chris Payne took the opportunity to confirm that no IP address or PII (Personally Identifiable Information) was provided. It became apparent to me at least, that many (maybe the majority) of the MSN Search Champs didn't realize this prior to today's event. I think this misundertanding is one of the reasons there was such a deal and story made front page news in the media and in the blogosphere.
And so conversation started.
And it carried on into the night, even after the event was over - here's a podcast (mp3, 42 mins, 10mb) recorded tonight to discuss what we heard and learnt today. We had five Web 2.0 Workgroup members on the podcast: Fred Oliveira (post), Dion Hinchcliffe (post), Joshua Porter (post), and myself. We also had Chris Pirillo, Thomas Vander Wal of Infocloud the organizer of MSN's Search Champs, Brady Forrest.
- download the podcast (mp3, 42 mins, 10mb)
Update: Thursday 26 2006: One point of clarification since the podcast was provided to me by Ramez Naam, director of program management at MSN Search: the DOJ did not ask MSN for PII specifically. They asked for MSN Search logs. MSN told them that they would not give them PII and they were fine with that.
The major push-pull between MSN / DOJ was in the amount of data - they asked MSN for a much larger volume of data, and it was scoped down to a relatively small period.