Be careful little hands what you type

see update at bottom of story

A story today in The Atlantic Wire tells the story of a couple who searched wrong.   There is also a writeup from the wife about her husband’s experience.

They searched for backpacks and later searched for pressure cookers.   Obviously, this could only be the work of a terrorist cell.

The question that comes to mind first is how did the government know?  Google searches are generally SSL encrypted.   This would have to be access at the Google servers.

The next thing that comes to mind is who will make the first parody add for a Google Search competitor.   “Use Google, and get a visit from big brother.”

After September 11th, people demanded to know why the intelligence community didn’t put the pieces together.   But this isn’t putting pieces together.   This is sifting everyone’s lives looking for evidence.  It reminds me of pre-Internet when the police might try to get access to library records because Lord knows reading Catcher in the Rye means you’re about to commit murder.


The Atlantic Wire uses a stock photo showing a swat team with a shield at the door of a house.   This is irresponsible journalism.   The write-up from the wife describes six men in casual clothing


The Suffolk County PD has reportedly issued a press release.  This release is not currently on their website.  But a copy is posted at

Suffolk County Criminal Intelligence Detectives received a tip from a Bay Shore based computer company regarding suspicious computer searches conducted by a recently released employee. The former employee’s computer searches took place on this employee’s workplace computer. On that computer, the employee searched the terms “pressure cooker bombs” and “backpacks.”

So, that answers how the police became involved.  It wasn’t NSA intercepts.  The big brother here was the company IT guy.


One Comment

  1. I think the moral of the story is, never assume your private web searches / emails are truly private. With the NSA’s reach clearly expanding into our daily lives one must consider the impact of their actions as seen by the government.

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