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Google Search for Pressure Cookers and BackPacks Led to Police Inquiry

A writer and her husband entered pressure cookers, backpacks and quinoa in the Google Search Engine. This however led to a police inquiry since the suspected words formed an accidental link to acts of terrorism.

Aug 2 2013, 8:09am CDT | by

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Google Search for Pressure Cookers and BackPacks Led to Police Inquiry
 
 

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Google Search for Pressure Cookers and BackPacks Led to Police Inquiry

Google Search for Pressure Cookers and BackPacks Led to Police Inquiry
Michele Catalano @inthefade

Now ordinary citizens will have to be extra careful what they enter in the search engine slot on Google. A Long Island writer named Michele Catalano explained how a squad of armed professionals paid a visit to her home. They questioned her husband about certain search engine commands that had been found to have been given from the couple’s computer.

The two words that got the authorities in a paranoid state of mind were “pressure cookers” and “backpacks”. The thing was that the former word had been entered by Michele and the latter by her husband separately from the same PC. The missing link was their son who had clicked on the news from the Boston Marathon Bombing.

Catalano claims that it was all done in absolute innocence and they were left wondering what they did wrong. Their haphazard search inquiries on the Internet set off an alarm at the terrorist surveillance department. Michele Catalano’s story about the relatively minor harassment she and her family went through has gone viral by now.

This points to how some mechanisms in Google’s working protocol may take benign statements and fit them together any which way they like.  This would be all the better to frame somebody of terrorism. The way the police asked Michele’s husband all sorts of questions made her very worried. She says that just because their family had an interest in cooking, backpacks and news led to this unfortunate incident.

However the New York writer Michele Catalano has posted the following clarification statement on tumblr few hours ago. She clears that police visited her home because searched words are linked to her husband's old job. She said:

We found out through the Suffolk Police Department that the searches involved also things my husband looked up at his old job. We were not made aware of this at the time of questioning and were led to believe it was solely from searches from within our house.

I did not lie or make it up. I wrote the piece with the information that was given. What was withheld from us obviously could not be a part of a story I wrote based on what happened yesterday.

The piece I wrote was the story as we knew it with the information we were told. None of it was fabricated. If you know me, you know I would never do that.

If it was misleading, just know that my intention was the truth. And that was what I knew as the truth until about ten minutes ago. That there were other circumstances involved was something we all were unaware of.


Source: Techcrunch

 

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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