Forget me not, Google

Forbes.com, the online version of Forbes Magazine, is running a fascinating article on Google and its ability to pull up information considered dead and buried.

Much like deleting data from a hard disk, information on the Internet is never completely gone. It gets cached by search engines like Google, and can be pulled back up at the most inoppertune times. “Search engines can store results in their “cache” for between a month and forever. As archiving improves, it will get harder to clean up what’s been revealed. Rarely are leaks intentional: Somebody at work might post a file on a server to download at home, a wrongly configured server might make too much of a hard drive searchable or a Web site’s password-protection might be flimsy enough to be accessible to search engines. Google turned up detailed monthly expenses and employee salaries at the National Speleological Society’s site, caves.org. Says the group’s president Scott Fee, “That ain’t supposed to be up there.”On the site of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. course materials are posted for a class on computer networking, including log-in files that could be of interest to the right hacker.”