updated 8/16/2006 7:50:21 PM ET 2006-08-16T23:50:21

The backlash against AOL's recent release of its subscribers' search requests continued Wednesday as a privacy rights group filed a Federal Trade Commission complaint alleging the breach was intentional.

AOL spokesman Andrew Weinstein scoffed at the allegation made by the World Privacy Forum, reiterating earlier descriptions of the breakdown as a "mistaken release" by a bumbling researcher.

The San Diego-based World Privacy Forum's filing follows a similar complaint by the Electronic Frontier Foundation,a civil liberties group in San Francisco.

Both groups are urging the FTC to investigate and possibly penalize AOL for its unauthorized release of about 19 million search requests made by about 658,000 subscribers during a three-month period ending in May.

The files containing the search requests were publicly accessible for 10 days before AOL removed the information, giving people time to fetch copies that continue to circulate on Web sites like http://www.aolstalker.com/.

The FTC complaints allege AOL — owned by Time Warner Inc. — engaged in unfair or deceptive business practices by exposing its subscribers' information, which included requests for online pornography, murder tips and medical advice.

Although no names were attached to the search requests, some of the data was revealing enough to figure out the identities of the people behind the queries.

The FTC so far hasn't indicated whether it intends to investigate AOL.

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