Mac OS X applications crashing com.apple.datadetectorscore

Recently a friend asked me for help with his Snow Leopard Mac Book Pro. He complained that most of his applications would crash at some point, even the native OSX apps, like Mail and iCal. He reported them all failing with

Exception Type:  EXC_BAD_ACCESS (SIGSEGV)
Exception Codes: KERN_INVALID_ADDRESS at 0x0000000000000000

Far from being an expert, I still asked him for a complete crash dump and noticed that all his crashes occurred in a thread referencing com.apple.datadetectorscore

Thread XXX Crashed:
0   com.apple.datadetectorscore   0x00007fff896e997a _DDCacheCreateFromBytesNoCopy + 32
1   com.apple.datadetectorscore   0x00007fff896e97f8 DDCacheCreateFromFileAtPathWithExtraChecks + 252
2   com.apple.datadetectorscore   0x00007fff896e9549 DDCacheCreateFromSystemCache + 278
3   com.apple.datadetectorscore   0x00007fff896e839d DDScannerCreateWithType + 285
4   com.apple.AppKit              0x00007fff872fba48 +[NSSpellChecker(NSDDScannerBackgroundLoading) _startLoadOfScanner:] + 104
5   com.apple.Foundation          0x00007fff8945d114 __NSThread__main__ + 1429
6   libSystem.B.dylib             0x00007fff86f89fd6 _pthread_start + 331
7   libSystem.B.dylib             0x00007fff86f89e89 thread_start + 13

Upon googling I found very little. Turns out that this is coming from the

/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DataDetectorsCore.framework

which I could not find any documentation about. It creates, or used to create cache files in /System/Library/Caches which look something like this and apparently can get corrupted
-rw-r--r-- 1 root wheel 7603020 Jun 27  2009 com.apple.datadetectorscore.cache.full.system
-rw-r--r-- 1 root wheel  127768 Jun 27  2009 com.apple.datadetectorscore.cache.urlifier.system

As you can see the files are rather old. I asked my friend to delete the files, which solved his problem.

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