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AOL Fires 3 Over Breach

UPDATED: AOL has fired three employees, including its CTO, over a recent disclosure of user data.

Maureen Govern, AOL CTO and head of the AOL department responsible for releasing user search data, and the researcher and manager were fired, according to a memo from AOL CEO Jonathan Miller obtained by internetnews.com.

In a memo to employees, Miller said "Maureen Govern, our Chief Technology Officer, has decided to leave AOL effective immediately." John McKinley will be returning as CTO.

Along with Govern, two other AOL employees were fired, according to those aware of the investigation.

"We are taking appropriate action with the employees who were responsible," Miller wrote in the memo.

The firings may be the result of an investigation AOL announced last week.

An AOL spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

AOL spokesperson Andrew Weinstein told internetnews.com last week the company was looking into how a file meant for researchers spread across the Internet.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation had asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate AOL's disclosure of search data on 650,000 users.

The privacy advocacy group requested AOL inform users and halt the practice of storing search data.

Earlier this month AOL admitted the user information was mistakenly posted on a company site research.aol.com.

"It was an innocent enough attempt to reach out to the academic community with new research tools, but it was obviously not appropriately vetted, and if it had been, it would have been stopped in an instant," Weinstein said.