God Watches You Google
Tim Challies posted on AOL's release of search data. I highly recommend you read it. Now. :)
What is so amazing about these searches is the way people transition seamlessly from the normal and mundane to the outrageous and perverse. They are, thus, an apt reflection of real life. The user who is in one moment searching for information about a computer game may in the next be looking for the most violent pornography he can imagine. Back and forth it goes, from information about becoming a foster parent to the search for incestual pornography. One user went from searching for preteen pornography to searching for games appropriate for a youth group. Others, spurned lovers, sought out ways of exacting revenge while still others grappled with the moral implications of cheating on their spouses. These searches are a glimpse into the hearts of the people who made them.
It's hard to be exact with what is going through the minds of people as they search for items. However, it is vital to remember that whatever you post to the internet - whether it be a comment to a story, a blog entry, or a simple search inquiry - is recorded for all eternity.
Even e-mails. As a prof at the seminary once told me, the "e" stands for eternal. (Tiger Woods learned that the hard way.
The best thing you can do with this information though is not to gripe about conspiracies or the coming police state. It is simple confession and repentance. Then, trust in the Gospel's promise to you that your sin is put on Christ. (Consider that for a moment.) Finally, in keeping with repentance and a Spirit-driven life, pray and bring any future thoughts that are ungodly into submission to Christ, that your thoughts always be on Him and His glory and your searches glorify Him. As Challies wrote,
While the search engines may never forget, I am grateful that God does forget. He forgets the sins of those who turn to him and confess those sins. Psalm 103 promises that “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” In Hebrews 8:12 God promises “I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” There is virtue in forgetting.
This leads to one final question. Are there search engines unlike Google and AOL, engines that don't store your searches. Yep. But don't let that be an easy out for you.