NYTimes: A Face Is Exposed for AOL Searcher No. 4417749
This story demonstrates how mining search data, even when it does not have names, can be used to tie a search history to a particular person.
This is exactly why it's dangerous to allow the Bush administration to force Google, Yahoo, and other major search engines to release their search records to them. Even if explicit names aren't given to the government, they might as well be if enough searches are given to them.
I'm not sure why this wasn't mentioned in the NYTimes article. There is definitely a privacy issue when thinking about marketers who have access to this data, but ESPECIALLY with the recent civil liberty violations with the Bush administration and the major search engines, I'm feeling much more worried about government intrusion.