If You're Kidnapping Someone, Maybe Don't Search Google For 'Kidnapping'

from the be-careful-what-you-search-for dept

We've seen a few stories in the past of an people's Google searches being used in court to convict them -- because it strikes people as quite a coincidence when you just so happened to Google the crime you're accused of committing right after (or before!) it happens. Michael Scott points us to the latest such case, where someone accused of kidnapping a 17-year-old girl in Palo Alto apparently searched the news for terms related to kidnapping and sexual assault. Of course, one could argue that it could just be someone interested in the case -- but assuming there's additional evidence, then it could be pretty damning. In the meantime, if you're going out and committing crimes, perhaps don't search for related terms on any machine that can be traced to you...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Ima Fish, May 21st, 2009 @ 10:00am

    Note to self: The next time I decide to kidnap someone, be sure to search for "not kidnapping" in google a few days before.

     

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  2.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), May 21st, 2009 @ 10:07am

    Re:

    Or just hit up your local library.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    pk, May 21st, 2009 @ 10:10am

    from the article itself

    "It added to a growing body of circumstantial evidence against the defendant, who the unnamed victim has never positively identified."

    The prosecution needs all the circumstantial evidence it can get its hands when the victim is unable to identy the defendant.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Ima Fish, May 21st, 2009 @ 10:28am

    Re: Re:

    Yeah, but then I wouldn't have an alibi. My prior searching for "not kidnapping" is clear evidence that I did not kidnap anyone.

     

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  5.  
    icon
    lavi d (profile), May 21st, 2009 @ 10:39am

    Just Like Watching CSI

    ...if you're going out and committing crimes, perhaps don't search for related terms on any machine that can be traced to you...

    Thanks!

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2009 @ 10:39am

    or google some other crime, and your defense can be that you couldn't possibly have kidnapped anyone because you were actually going to commit this other crime, "i'm not a kidnapper, i'm a car thief" or something along those lines. lol

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Ryan, May 21st, 2009 @ 10:44am

    Re:

    Unless your best laid kidnapping plans go awry and you are forced to steal a car during your getaway, in which case you're doubly screwed...

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2009 @ 10:46am

    Re: Re:

    Just don't use your own library card. They do log access!

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Al Capone, May 21st, 2009 @ 10:48am

    That's what...

    That's what disposable phones and disposable computers are for...

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    dan, May 21st, 2009 @ 10:50am

    a lawsuit will prolly ensue cuz some future kidnapper will get caught and convicted and use the defense... "but techdirt said..."

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2009 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re: Re:

    God bless the fucking Patriot Act eh?

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    SRS2000, May 21st, 2009 @ 11:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There is a video somewhere about the librarians who fought the Bush admin and their patriot act BS and won. They wanted all the information on who used their computers and etc and they refused. They were also told how they were not allowed to even tell anyone about it "or else"

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Trevlac, May 21st, 2009 @ 11:53am

    Re: That's what...

    Best way to use a computer is get a laptop and pull out the hard drive. Boot to a small live distribution of Linux and just use an 8-16GB flash drive for temporary storage. That is, if you're doing anything illegal. Flash drives can easily be disposed of or completely erased.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Hardened Criminal, May 21st, 2009 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Re: That's what...

    Whoa there tech nerd! All I have to do is use the google to find out how to kidnap and follow the instructions. Now you want me to use a laptop instead of a computer? And the rest of your post is just jibberish.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2009 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Re: That's what...

    Great advice... but it seems like that obscure little thing called an IP Address my cause you some problems...

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    john, May 21st, 2009 @ 12:31pm

    ip addy my ass. Only idiots, to begin with don't use a proxy, and then leave their search history behind which points to crime. Forget what pc u used or how big it is.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    AC, May 21st, 2009 @ 12:42pm

    IP address

    What's an IP address anyway? Wireless internet dongle with a pay as you go sim card which is unregistered, there you go internet access wherever you want with your own laptop and no way of tracing it back to you if you use a liveCD.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2009 @ 12:56pm

    You could also google terms like, "Donating to Charity", "Helping the homeless", "Spreading peace and joy", and "How to hide that I am really superman" to win over court sympathy.

     

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  19.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), May 21st, 2009 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Not the few I have been to around here.
    Although they may have changed in the past two years (that was last time I was book searching at them).
    They don't even scan the card to see that you are there. Only if you check out a book. =)

    It would make good sense though for them to monitor. I guess. Not much use though unless somebody is looking up porn .. or kidnapping.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2009 @ 1:11pm

    Better yet...

    ... How about not doing anything stupid, like kidnapping someone.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Buster, May 21st, 2009 @ 1:12pm

    Hilarious

    Ok I had something to say, but I just spent the last 10 minutes laughing at this poor guy to remember what I was going to say.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2009 @ 1:17pm

    Kinda reminds me of Office Space

    "I cannot believe what a bunch of losers we are. We're looking up 'money laundering' in the dictionary!"

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    cvpunk, May 21st, 2009 @ 2:26pm

    Re: Re: That's what...

    and you need to pull the HDD out why???

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    cvpunk, May 21st, 2009 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: That's what...

    that's what Proxy's and MAC masking is for.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    cvpunk, May 21st, 2009 @ 2:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: That's what...

    or you could just hit up Burger King where they have free internet access.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2009 @ 4:00pm

    "In the meantime, if you're going out and committing crimes, perhaps don't search for related terms on any machine that can be traced to you..."

    Please don't give criminals advice on how to get away with crimes. I get very upset at those forensic file shows because they give criminals the potential of analyzing how scientists reveal and prove that someone committed a crime and that increases their chances of finding ways around it. Then again, I suppose it could deter people from committing crimes.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2009 @ 5:32pm

    "So Johnny, what did you learn in school today?"

    "I learned how to kidnapp someone and not get caught by reading techdirt during computer class"

    >.>

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Trevlac, May 21st, 2009 @ 8:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: That's what...

    Until I read this reply I had lost a little faith in humanity, via the post before this one. Now my faith is restored.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Trevlac, May 21st, 2009 @ 8:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: That's what...

    Oh nevermind, there goes my faith again. Hard drives store any data and therefore EVIDENCE of what you did. Data forensics (my job) specifically caters to retrieval of data for court. We can get stuff that's been erased or formatted over for years. Even off of bad or broken hard drives. So yeah, not having one is the only 100% secure way.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    dude, May 24th, 2009 @ 1:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: That's what...

    Ooook. Linux Distro, on a jump drive, ip masking w/ tor, sec tools to keep everything tight... use a public network outside of the building but still inside your vehicle... or maybe a borrowed vehicle... or better yet a STOLEN vehicle... oh yah... google what crime your gonna do... finish everything up w/ a proper shred on the thumbdrive, "lose" it in somebody's overcoat pocket @ the airport... then do w/e u gots 2 do. Ok. that sounds simple right?

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2010 @ 3:57pm

    kidnappin rules

    im a kidnapper. heres kidnap rules. 1. kidnap the kid while he/she is ALONE and when noones lookin, 2. always make sure u have at least 4 more kidnappers. 3. put the kid in trunk. 4. suficate or kill the kid

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 10:08am

    g

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 10:10am

    haha this is funny some idiot incriminates herself by doing research on the crime she is about to commit. what an idiot. . oh wait? I am about to go and kidnap my son.

    lol. just kidding I don't have a son. did i scare you?

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 10:10am

    g

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    maxtor, May 23rd, 2012 @ 10:00am

    Clules kidnping

    Guys m researching over common crimes 4 a awareness program. So some body can tel me if he/she is a first time crimnal how he/she will start that?

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Liam, Jul 3rd, 2012 @ 8:00am

    Kidnap

    I was researching for a film so I have no real intent on kidnapping anyone :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 5:54am

    Great Job! good luck with your kidnapping! Tom parsons is a good candidate

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Joe, Dec 26th, 2013 @ 7:29pm

    Re:

    If u could be a kidnapper would you

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Joe, Dec 26th, 2013 @ 7:37pm

    Re: kidnappin rules

    How bout not do the fourth step but just the first 3 and instead of kill the kid but just tie him up and hold him against his will but DO NOT KILL HIM!!!!!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Joe, Dec 26th, 2013 @ 7:42pm

    Re:

    You can kidnap me if you don't do step 4 instead of what I wrote before this

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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