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Google Pressure Cookers and Backpacks: Get a Visit From the Feds

timothy posted 1 year,26 days | from the advise-you-to-do-this-right-now dept.

Privacy 923

An anonymous reader writes "Massachusetts resident Michele Catalano was looking for information online about pressure cookers. Her husband, in the same time frame, was Googling backpacks. Wednesday morning, six men from a joint terrorism task force showed up at their house to see if they were terrorists. Which raises the question: How'd the government know what they were Googling?"

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Wireshark (0)

Brian (2887359) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448445)

or similar

Re:Wireshark (1)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448543)

Wonder if they would have got picked up so fast if they used anon search engines like startpage.com or duckduckgo.com?

Re:Wireshark (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448817)

Have you guys not been following US news for the last two months?

Re:Wireshark (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448571)

Except that google.com defaults to https. So whoever was wiresharking had Google's SSL key or some other kind of inside access.

Re:Wireshark (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448593)

What. Impossible! [theguardian.com]

Re:Wireshark (1)

Brian (2887359) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448623)

you must be new here

Re:Wireshark (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448707)

you must be new here

sweet!!!!!!!!!!!

Re:Wireshark (2, Insightful)

Tr3vin (1220548) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448653)

Google does not default to https. It only does that if you are signed in with an account. If these people weren't, then anybody could have seen their searches with relative ease.

Re:Wireshark (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448667)

Uhhh...I thought it was common knowledge that the search engines and the feds are all buddy buddy? Not that it would have really mattered since we now know about the wiretap they have on the AT&T trunks which everything goes through at one time or another.

What I find ironic about all this is if they EVER catch a single terrorist thanks to all this big brother crap? It'll be the kind too fucking dumb to have been any good at being a terrorist, your Richard Reid "useful idiot" kind of Muslim extremist. Any terrorist that could actually do any damage, your Abu Nidal mean motorscooter types aren't gonna be so damned retarded as to Google for instructions with zero obfuscation, not when you have multiple free anonymizing services and search engines that don't log like DuckDuckGo and Scroogle.

So once again we have the government wasting huge piles of money and infringing the rights and privacy of everyone for a program that won't work...must be Thursday.

Re:Wireshark (5, Funny)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448893)

.I thought it was common knowledge that the search engines and the feds are all buddy buddy?

But, but...the NSA head and several Congressmen have assured us that they aren't blanket monitoring everyone. And surely they wouldn't lie!

How'd the government know what they were Googling? (5, Insightful)

csumpi (2258986) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448447)

You really need to ask this question? Or you just playing stewpit?

Re:How'd the government know what they were Googli (4, Insightful)

jaymzter (452402) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448469)

I'm just glad the phrase "begs the question" wasn't used in this regard.

Re:How'd the government know what they were Googli (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448519)

I'm just glad the phrase "begs the question" wasn't used in this regard.

This. Someone is learning.

Re:How'd the government know what they were Googli (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448523)

Yeah, god forbid someone use proper english as she is spoke instead of obeying some retarded mistranslation of "seeking the principles".

Re:How'd the government know what they were Googli (3, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448689)

It's not a mistranslation. "petitio" in latin means request. It's cognate with the english "petition". Begging is a request.

As for proper english as she is spoke, I don't see what sense of "beg" means the same as "raise". It *might* make sense if you anthropomorphise the question, and say that the question begs to be asked. But by normal rules of grammar the phrase "begging the question" clearly has the question as the subject, not the object of the begging.

Re:How'd the government know what they were Googli (4, Insightful)

alphatel (1450715) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448515)

The title has changed to "get a visit from the cops" since it was confirmed that it was the Long Island Task Force. However, the FBI was "aware of the operation".
I am sure they are aware, of a a lot more things. Damn pressure cooker backpacks...

Re:How'd the government know what they were Googli (5, Funny)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448637)

Oh, god. Now I really want to Google 'stewpit', but I'm worried it's some keyword for a terrorist cannibal org.

Re:How'd the government know what they were Googli (3, Funny)

virgnarus (1949790) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448699)

You really need to ask this question? Or you just playing stewpit?

Honestly! Redundant questions like that really get me steamed up.

Re:How'd the government know what they were Googli (5, Interesting)

JWW (79176) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448897)

We may know that the government was doing.

But the government has still never answered that question.

And therein lies the problem, in our Republic, there is an expectation that we the people know how our government operates. We aren't necessarily entitled to all the governments information, but full and complete information oh how our government runs is something a "free" country would be expected to know in detail.

Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448465)

Is it because the US government TLA brigade is staffed by hyper-paranoid assclowns that frequently drop the ball when it comes to making use of the illegal intelligence they happen upon?

Re:Duh? (3, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448573)

Is it because the US government TLA brigade is staffed by hyper-paranoid assclowns that frequently drop the ball when it comes to making use of the illegal intelligence they happen upon?

Yes - and skipping all the intelligence they have legally.

Besides, if you're into camping and canning foods you're obviously an insurgent, right?

funnily enough two of the task force should have raided themselves. I think the problem is that you have such a task force ready to go with nothing to do all fucking year long, so they claim to do 100 raids a WEEK and that once a week(1%) they caught something. why is none of those ever reported?

warrant isn't mentioned in the article either, not for getting the data and not for performing the raid(which they i think claim was "consentual", but what the fuck do you expect people to do if you come up geared for a war and want in..)

Re:Duh? (2)

sycodon (149926) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448781)

What will happen is that the feds will watch obsessively for people doing this (pressure cookers and backpacks) until someone figures another way to hurt others, then the will switch to that.

That's why we still take off our shoes (shoe bomber) and then sniff our undies (underwear bomber).

I usually eat lots of aromatics before a flight to make sure the undies have a very nice bouquet for TSA should they insist on the Full Monty

Bush (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448475)

If only we could get this Bush guy out of office this stuff wouldn't happen.

Re:Bush (5, Insightful)

Oysterville (2944937) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448535)

Changing the puppet doesn't not necessarily change the puppeteer.

Re:Bush (5, Insightful)

ImOuttaHere (2996813) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448849)

Which begs the questions: Who is the puppeteer? Why don't Americans do something about it?

Re:Bush (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448905)

No will it remove the now well entrenched organizations, laws, etc. established by the predecessor.

Obummer the Messiah will save us! (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448633)

I'm voting Obummer! I hear he's gonna bring us hope and change. He also says he will close Gitmo and end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The word of a Chicago politician is un-impugnable.

Re:Obummer the Messiah will save us! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448745)

When will Americans get their heads out of their ass and accept that this is not about any single president? This is bigger than the President. It's bigger than either party. And it's not good for Americans regardless of their party, their gender, their age, their color...

When we use childish reasoning it allows the abuse to continue.

Re:Obummer the Messiah will save us! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448747)

And he also insists that he's going to stop all of these NSA spying programs...we really need to get this guy into office!

Re:Let it go, Dipshit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448831)

Oh, Jesus Christ, let it go already.

Your preferred assclown will be in power in another year or two and he can continue the egregious violation and erosion of our civil rights, what few we have left anyway.

It won't be any different, just the name will have changed. Get used to it.

Re:Let it go, Dipshit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448909)

Your preferred assclown will be in power in another year or two

I don't vote Republocrat. So it's doubtful that "my preferred assclown" will make it in.

Re:Obummer the Messiah will save us! (1)

Nadaka (224565) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448861)

You say that as if Romney was any better in that regard. We all know that every president is going to support the military police state. But at least Obama isn't trying to destroy America with tax cuts so that a few billionaires can masturbate over an even larger pile of cash.

Re:Bush (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448809)

The problem with bad leaders is that their bad choices continue to do damage long after they're thrown out.
We're not going to let you forget Bush. Get used to it.

Re:Bush (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448871)

And we're not going to let you forget Obama. Get used to it.

Refuse the search? (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448477)

This raises another question. What happens when these people refuse to answer questions or allow a search of their home?

Re:Refuse the search? (3, Informative)

tmosley (996283) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448505)

They murder their dogs, and break their arms. Or maybe snap their spines with their jackboots.

Re:Refuse the search? (5, Funny)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448527)

This is why I always answer the door wearing a balaclava.

Re:Refuse the search? (1)

rullywowr (1831632) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448883)

Imagine the dialogue if the person answering the door was wearing a hijab?

Police: "Do you have any pressure cooker bombs?"

Homeowner: "No."

Police: "Fuck you buddy! You just earned a one way ticket to Gitmo!"

Re:Refuse the search? (5, Funny)

mooingyak (720677) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448907)

This is why I always answer the door wearing a balaclava.

Answer the door eating baclava too if you want to get a real reaction.

Re:Refuse the search? (4, Interesting)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448657)

What happens when these people refuse to answer questions or allow a search of their home?

Those people will turn out to be <adjective>-wing domestic terrorists, who were also <group which is politically acceptible to revile>. When the police arrived for a routine investigation the terrorists shot their own dogs and then comitted suicide by shooting themselves in the back on their heads. Twice.

At least, that's what will happen as far as you'll be told.

Re:Refuse the search? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448721)

This quote might be related:

They mentioned that they do this about 100 times a week. And that 99 of those visits turn out to be nothing. I don’t know what happens on the other 1% of visits and I’m not sure I want to know what my neighbors are up to.

Re:Refuse the search? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448823)

I think we already know the answer to that question [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Refuse the search? (1)

Seumas (6865) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448901)

Asserting your rights to remain silent or refuse to be searched are probable cause in and of themselves.

Also, I'm not sure I buy this whole story. There have absolutely been millions of google searches for backpacks and pressure cookers *together* in the last few months, as people searched for the actual news stories or discussions about how in the hell the explosions actually occurred.

Worse, just imagine if you visit any "subversive" sites. Maybe you read a lot of stuff at reason.com, have Three Felonies a Day (or almost any political stuff at all, other than the most recent Rush Limbaugh/Michelle Malkin/Whatever that fat dude's name is who does all the sketchy "documentaries" liberal guy) on your Amazon or library checkout record . . . AND you did a search on "pressure cookers". Now you're really fucked.

quinoa is delicious (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448485)

but the United Stasi of American is not funny

Let's all Google together. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448489)

We should all Google 'pressure cooker' and 'backpacks'. Let's send them for a spin.

Re:Let's all Google together. (2)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448537)

that sound like a good idea maybe we should all make pressure cooker and backpack our sig

Re:Let's all Google together. (1)

ls671 (1122017) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448579)

Using tor so we go on red or orange threat level? We know who you are AC...

Re:Let's all Google together. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448693)

Better yet, on your blog put a script that makes ajax requests to Google for conspicuous terms.

Re:Let's all Google together. (2)

neminem (561346) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448743)

I just did, and I'll tell everyone in a forum I frequent to do that later today. :D

Re:Let's all Google together. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448807)

Keep them busy.

Also look up home-made rockets, construction nails and ammonia.

It has been known for years (1)

tc3driver (669596) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448495)

It has been known for years that the NSA has a handle on all internet traffic, as well as cellular activities. They store it compile it, and if enough of it raises a red flag, some men in suits come to pay you a visit. Home of the free (to be spyed upon), Land of the brave (only once we have enough information on you).

NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448499)

I guess we have no expectation of privacy when online.....

These are the times that try men's souls.

BAD article, better source, and other notes... (5, Informative)

nweaver (113078) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448509)

The Atlantic article is BAD. Not only is it a summary with no additional information (and information removed), but uses a bad and unrelated photograph!

Read the original article on Medium [medium.com] , and I strongly suggest that a Slashdot editor change the article link.

Although circumstantial, this implies one of two possibilities. Either Google is voluntarily looking for "suspicious" searches and reporting them to law enforcement, or law enforcement (using a warrant, a wiretap, a NSL, or similar) is either forcing Google to look for such suspicious searches or simply wiretapping Google.

Re:BAD article, better source, and other notes... (1)

dirtypoole (2609871) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448589)

This. Seems like the two best possibilities. Or at least plausible imho.

Re:BAD article, better source, and other notes... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448649)

Well the guy is a known journalist and that means he is a subversive.

So there.

Re:BAD article, better source, and other notes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448677)

Plausible??? How much direct whist-blower presented evidence do we need? I mean, Snowden has destroyed his life to get the truth to us, the least we can do is give the information he sacrificed all for [theguardian.com] a little more weight and consideration...

Re:BAD article, better source, and other notes... (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448669)

Either way this should be illegal.

Re:BAD article, better source, and other notes... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448695)

simplest way is to provide google with a (secret)court order to do it and let google bill them for doing it.

that's the simplest way even if they have rolling logs of everything.

Re:BAD article, better source, and other notes... (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448825)

Shame on her husband for allowing jack booted thugs into their home. Never consent to a search, and never speak to the police, except to assert your right to remain silent and request a lawyer. Every citizen who consents to these searches encourages them to do more.

Re:BAD article, better source, and other notes... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448827)

Although circumstantial, this implies one of two possibilities. Either Google is voluntarily looking for "suspicious" searches and reporting them to law enforcement, or law enforcement (using a warrant, a wiretap, a NSL, or similar) is either forcing Google to look for such suspicious searches or simply wiretapping Google.

It might be Google related, but it certainly doesn't have to be.

On a tour of a Comcast server room, all their hardware was shown and explained and gloated about. Except a big box in the corner. "That's the NSA box. Don't ask about that."

One OTHER possibility... (1)

nweaver (113078) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448839)

Which is being pointed out by others on twitter: Some random neighbor called in "these people are suspicious".

No comment yet reported from the local PD which sent the investigators.

Did you even RTFA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448531)

They were visited by local police, not the feds. Bit of a difference.

Re:Did you even RTFA? (1)

ulricr (2486278) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448881)

it's because the title of the article has changed during the day, it used to the be "the feds", look at the footnote in the article

Was local police, not Feds. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448545)

Title needs updating, was local police, not Feds.

Even admitted in the article.

Re:Was local police, not Feds. (5, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448577)

Oh well just the local police, that's fine then.

[/sarcasm]

Remain calm (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448547)

Everyone currently reading this article should expect a visit from the Federals*. Do not be alarmed citizen, remain calm and submit yourselves to your own protection.

They can't get all of us (4, Funny)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448561)

Maybe overload is the only way to combat this sort of thing. Encourage all of your friends to search for pressure cookers and backpacks today.

Re:They can't get all of us (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448719)

They can't get all of us at the same time. Making a long list of people to get, whenever they please, is just providing them job security.

Re:They can't get all of us (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448785)

add "how to make fireworks" to the search to get a quicker response.

catchpa: honest

Seems obvious (5, Insightful)

stewsters (1406737) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448563)

Because they are not just looking at the metadata of what you search on the internet, they are looking at the content of those searches.

Re:Seems obvious (1)

Dunbal (464142) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448777)

Yup. One more lie from Obama, in an ocean of lies. Anyway that's the last time I listen to an American when he starts going on about "freedom and democracy".

Re:Seems obvious (2)

Applekid (993327) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448805)

Because they are not just looking at the metadata of what you search on the internet, they are looking at the content of those searches.

If metadata is data about data, then clearly the data about the data in your data is also metadata, isn't it?

Re:Seems obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448863)

Because they are not just looking at the metadata of what you search on the internet, they are looking at the content of those searches.

That *is* metadata as they were referring to it. They don't analyze data, only text or other easily electronically scanable data in the headers of http requests. In headers of emails. In connection data for skype or whatnot. They refer to it as "metadata". You know,

http://www.bing.com/search?q=what+is+wrong+with+you%3F&form=MOZSBR [bing.com]

That is metadata. The URL GET request. It contains everything you need or they care about. METADATA is more important than trying to listen to people's pointless conversations.

Using google... (2)

flogger (524072) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448567)

I use a gmail, so I figure google has tabs on what I email. it is interesting when I send a friend a chapter or short story I am working on and the ads I get after this...

That being said, will the feds come get me if I am sending a short story about an assassination?

A habit that I have gotten into a while back though, so as to not tie my searches in with my gmail, is that I use firefox for gmail and I use Opera in private browsing to search google. After reading this article, I realize that I am probably tracked via IP. This is disheartening.

It's time to invest in an anonymous proxy. I think I am going to start with this article [torrentfreak.com] then investigate further.

I know what I am doing when I get home (4, Funny)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448583)

$i = 0
while $i = 0
wget ”http://www.google.com/search?q=Pressure+Cooker"
wget ”http://www.google.com/search?q=backpack"

'Nuff Said

Re:I know what I am doing when I get home (5, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448751)

$i = 0
while $i = 0
wget ”http://www.google.com/search?q=Pressure+Cooker"
wget ”http://www.google.com/search?q=backpack"

'Nuff Said

When I see an angry dog, I like to poke at it with a stick, too. Rational things happen every time!

Re:I know what I am doing when I get home (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448887)

Pick up that can, citizen.

Re:I know what I am doing when I get home (1)

Doug Otto (2821601) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448865)

Better add "smokeless+powder" for good measure.

Could... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448591)

Could well be their credit card company, flagging 2 purchases like these. Just like in that movie Seven where they know which library books you took out to figure out if you're a serial killer.

Could be google sure, but perhaps they were bragging about their purchases on Facebook/Twitter and someone reported them as dubious individuals.

I can't imagine how they'd ask at the door
"ma'am we're here to search the premises for backpacks and pressure cookers.. we're also calling in at the neighbours because they bought some bleach and soap from the local store".

Don't worry America, you're still free..

has been happening for a while (5, Interesting)

KernelMuncher (989766) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448603)

A coworker of mine is from Pakistan. His son ordered a detailed book on the engineering of the Boeing 777 airliner. Shortly thereafter two FBI agents came to his house to investigate. My coworker called his son down to meet them. When the agents found out he was 11 years old, they laughed, apologized and left.

This happened about three years ago.

Re:has been happening for a while (5, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448691)

This needs to stop.
When they come to your house you tell them to fuck off and come back with a warrant. Cooperating only encourages them.

Re:has been happening for a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448769)

If the officers have ever been in a school they would know 11 year olds can be terrorists.

Re:has been happening for a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448851)

So they will be back in about 4 years?

Need to DDOS the NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448617)

Call it "Privacy At Home". Run a daemon on millions of devices that feeds the NSA line eater via Google queries. See the spook function [whitman.edu]

How do you know it was Google? (2, Interesting)

oneiros27 (46144) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448619)

Yes, she admits to using Google ... but how do we know it wasn't Amazon, or some product review site that was giving the NSA the information? Or even Facebook, with all of the sites that end up linking back to them so you can 'like' their page.

Honestly, if I worked for the NSA, I'd start up my own ad network ... I assume the existing ones are profitable (or they wouldn't exist), so you can undercut them to get lots of sites to use your service, and randomly inject code into people's web browsers. Or just buy them outright. Or just usurp their business and have them do your dirty work for you without having to pay them.

Good thing all terr'ists is dum, rite? (5, Interesting)

pla (258480) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448627)

Which raises the question: How'd the government know what they were Googling?"

I, uh, don't really think we have all that much doubt about that one anymore.

As the better question - Do the wardens of our panopticon really consider the terrorists that stupid, that they would A) try the same attack again, and B) really need to Google the concept of a backpack?

Re:Good thing all terr'ists is dum, rite? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448709)

How do you shop for backpacks online? I would do a google search or yahoo or bing or amazon. But I know that for my mother, no matter what you tell her, she types it on the google web search box. Tell her to go to amazon.com, she'll type google in the address bar, then type amazon.com as google search. then click the first link. After trying to help her for years, I've given up trying to change this behavior.

This guy has standing to sue (5, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448705)

One of the big problems the EFF has had suing the NSA is that of "standing" - they have a hard time showing actual harm. This guy has standing to sue. He can show actual harm from unauthorized surveillance.

Re:This guy has standing to sue (3, Interesting)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448879)

they have a hard time showing actual harm.

Which is what I don't understand. Why is that necessary? Is the existence of blatantly unconstitutional practices not harm enough for them, or do they like giving the government yet another reason to keep everything secret? Oh, who am I kidding? The answer is obvious...

on mountian halfway between Reno and Rome . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448733)

...we have a chap in a plexiglass dome, who listens and looks into everyone's home
-Dr Suess

Proof! (5, Funny)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448737)

This is proof we're still living in a free country! They didn't die in a hail of military-grade automatic weapons fire.

I'm googling pressure cooker and backpack now! (2)

stevegee58 (1179505) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448739)

Let's see what happens.

Welll.... (1)

robbo (4388) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448753)

She is a boingboing contributor which obviously explains why she is under surveillance. But honestly the medium.com piece seems like a nice bit of creative writing. Did her husband get any selfies with the feds?

I've been watching Breaking Bad... (1)

pongo000 (97357) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448763)

...and since I have an interest in chemistry, I do a lot of Google searches about things that are mentioned in the show, such as the process of meth production and the precursors of meth production. I noticed Wikipedia has an article on meth production, not to mention alternative ways to produce precursors such as phenylacetone without getting the attention of the feds.

So why is it that I stand a better chance of getting a visit from the DEA than does Jimmy?

And no, I don't use Tor because I refuse to submit to a tyrannical government (at least not while I don't have an M-16 pointed at my face).

Never Cooperate With the Cops (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44448833)

Oh my god, the joint terrorism task force was in my house and there were dirty dishes in my sink!

This is just one more reason why you always refuse a search.

More important question (1)

Culture20 (968837) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448855)

Why is someone in the government so stupid as to think that googling for pressure cookers and backpacks would be terrorist activity? Maybe googling "backpack that can fit a pressure cooker filled with black powder", but even "backpack pressure cooker" isn't evil unless the chili you plan to bring to a cook-off is so spicy that it will kill someone with heart trouble.

One thing the article skipped for criteria (3, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448869)

In the middle of the article, you'll see that the husband also had trips to China and South Korea, so the trigger was more than just searching for backbacks and pressure cookers.

Well if you've nothing to hide... (5, Insightful)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | 1 year,26 days | (#44448877)

This is another reason why I hate the, "if you've nothing to hide" nonsense. In the past year, I've bought a pressure cooker, large capacity backpacks, fairly sizable quantities of pure sodium hydroxide (more, anyway, than one needs to unclog the drain), soldering irons and other equipment to work on electronics, numerous tanks of propane, gun powder, and we go to shops and run in social circles frequented by Arabic speakers. Why? Because, respectively, we (my wife and I) have a garden and can vegetables, we like to go hiking, we make our own soap and detergent, I like to fool around with electronics for fun, we use propane to heat our kettles while brewing beer, I hunt with a muzzle-loader, and as Orthodox Christians a great many of our coreligionists are Palestinian or Lebanese.

Of course the protectionist or supporter of the national security state will say, "See, you had nothing to hide. No big deal." But that's just the point. With enough information on people's activities, even the innocent ones can be construed as potentially dangerous. With enough information, anyone and everyone becomes a suspect. To say nothing of the fact that this subjects people to unreasonable searches, it lessens the chances of actually finding a legitimate focus for suspicion.

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