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Pressure Cooker Flap Traces To Employer, Not Google
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Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/2/2013 | 9:04:29 PM
re: Pressure Cooker Flap Traces To Employer, Not Google
When I first heard about this, I figured the FBI hadn't shown up on the basis of Google searches alone. For one thing, if every computer whose Internet search histories include "pressure cooker" and "backpack" warranted an in-person investigation, the government would run out of resources in about 10 minutes.

There simply aren't enough agents to act on so little information. Think how much time the authorities would waste investigating every grad student who looked at extremist sites while researching a dissertation on terrorism and foreign policy. Ditto for the wannabe screenwriter who uses Google to research bomb-making techniques so he can add authenticity to his next action movie plot.

So even if Google had been involved (which it wasn't), I never bought that the authorities would have acted on so little. That's not to say we shouldn't worry about privacy, or that we we have nothing to fear as long as we have nothing to hide. But the original story just seemed fishy.
MyW0r1d
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MyW0r1d,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/2/2013 | 8:24:00 PM
re: Pressure Cooker Flap Traces To Employer, Not Google
Sounds like an old Twilight episode (for those who recall the TV series). Nassau County was there, says FBI. No we weren't, try the FBI. We weren't, try Suffolk County. No, not here try the NSA. Who? Are we certain it isn't just a slow Friday or if Ms. Catalano was visited by anyone (temperature was high in that area of the country wasn't it). Blogging has certainly made it simpler for anyone to get their 15 minutes and created many a virtual coffee shop. :-)
Becca Lipman
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Becca Lipman,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/2/2013 | 7:45:41 PM
re: Pressure Cooker Flap Traces To Employer, Not Google
Oh I see now, I was still thinking of the earlier theories. Yet somehow, I still believe it could happen! As Thomas says, call it the Snowden Effect.
OtherJimDonahue
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OtherJimDonahue,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/2/2013 | 7:36:16 PM
re: Pressure Cooker Flap Traces To Employer, Not Google
Becca--No, it wasn't several family members. Just the husband, on a work computer. (Or, at least, all the searches were on the work computer. If he'd brought it home, perhaps another family member used it.) The ex-employer called the cops.

Jim Donahue
Managing Editor
InformationWeek
Becca Lipman
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Becca Lipman,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/2/2013 | 6:34:06 PM
re: Pressure Cooker Flap Traces To Employer, Not Google
What I find most interesting is how a random collection of Google searches conducted by several family members on different devices triggered the alarm as easily as one person doing it all on a single laptop. This story gives us some idea as to the data storage and the software smoothly connecting these searches, it really is mindblowing.


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