|Ask Dave and an Observer named Virgil have uncovered an interesting situation with the preference files for Navigation Services in MacOS 8.5. It appears that personal information and other data from a user's hard drive is stored within these files. Navigation Services uses two preference files ("Navigation Services Prefs1" and "Navigation Services Prefs2") and this stored information appears in both of them.
The data seems to be related to the preview feature of Navigation Services, though Dave Hamilton, the author of Ask Dave, found archived e-mail from years ago tucked away in his own preferences. This e-mail had not been opened for years, certainly not since the release of MacOS 8.5 itself. As such, it should not have been included in the recently opened files, which is where the preview information comes from.
The potential danger is that this data could be accessed by a malicious programmer out to grab information on an unsuspecting user.
Mac Observer Call: We are currently performing more tests on this matter and request feedback from Observers with more information.