Archive for November 13th, 2005

Everything You Google Can and Will Be Held Against You


DURHAM, N.C. — Robert Petrick searched
for the words "neck," "snap," "break" and "hold" on
an Internet search engine before his wife died, according to prosecutors

More than two years after Janine Sutphen’s body was discovered floating
in a Raleigh lake, investigators continue to find new evidence on computers
seized from Robert Petrick’s home that prosecutors say support their arguments
that Petrick killed his wife.

The Google search was the latest in recently discovered evidence found
in the 100 million pages of content removed from computers.

Last week, a forensic investigator discovered that Petrick allegedly researched
lake levels, water currents, boat ramps and access about Falls Lake just
four days before he reported Sutphen missing on Jan. 22, 2003.

So this is what things have come to? Anything you have
ever Googled can and will be held against you. Is it such a leap of imagination
to see the government getting access to this kind of information not
only reactively, as in this case,
after the fact, trying to solve a murder, but proactively, to investigate
crimes, conspiracies or just to mess with people they don’t like or find
offensive or dangerous?

A close examination of anyone’s complete search
history would undoubtedly turn up a few peccedillos. We are sure we
have, at
various times, searched for terms like "bukaki" or "morphine patch dosage"
or "Non-destructive reduction of spongiform crystals in Bacillus Anthracis"
or "Yorkshire Bitches", all in the line of legitimate journalistic
or academic research, of course. Are people going to have to start
surfing and searching with one eye always over their cyber-shoulders?

from WRAL