If You're Going To Kill Your Spouse, You Probably Shouldn't Google 'How To Commit Murder'

from the just-a-suggestion dept

Back in 2005, we noted that your Google searches can be used against you in a court of law, after a man who searched on Google for “neck snap break” just before his wife was murdered, saw that evidence presented at his trial. The latest is that a woman is accused of searching for a variety of incriminating phrases days before her husband was murdered. Among the searches were “How to Commit Murder,” “instant poisons,” “undetectable poisons,” and “fatal digoxin doses.” She also researched various gun laws in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. A week and a half later, her husband was murdered using a gun bought in Pennsylvania (and soon after the woman had obtained a prescription for a well-known “date rape” drug). Whether or not the woman is actually guilty, it is a reminder that your Google searches can (and probably will) be used against you, if you happen to research your crimes that way.


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Comments on “If You're Going To Kill Your Spouse, You Probably Shouldn't Google 'How To Commit Murder'”

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114 Comments
sad says:

Re: Re:

please someone help me. my husband has mentally abused me for 30 years. i have not the guts to leave, help! we have a gun i want to die. i cant take this presure of every day living on egg shells. never know when he go off. answer me this why do i love him at times?he used to beat me. he hasnt in years but he always digrades me. in front of people.that really hurts.i wish i could of met a man who was different

Officer Friendly says:

Re: Re:

Because Google keeps LOGS. Every time you do anything on Google, they log what you do, what you searched for , and also the IP address and time and date. So, even though you have an IP address that changes every time you logon, only YOU had that address at that particular date and time.
Between the USGOV and the BIG CORPS, we have absolutely no privacy at all.

Just remember, every thing you do or say on the Interweb, can be traced back to you. Consider email like a postcard. Dont write anything that you would not want the entire world to hear or see what you wrote.

Secret Agent says:

Re: sammys comment

“by sammy on Mar 14th, 2007 @ 7:52am
how do they know it is you who is searching. Especially if you have dynamic ip address?”

Google says they’ve revamped their privacy practices, announcing they’ll make search data largely anonymous after 18-24 months “unless we’re legally required to retain log data for longer” (which is very possible). “By anonymizing our server logs after 18-24 months, we think we’re striking the right balance between two goals: continuing to improve Google’s services for you, while providing more transparency and certainty about our retention practices,” says the company. Either way, if you’re planning a murder, you should probably avoid Google entirely.

Also, read Officer Friendly’s post. Good advice for all…..

jdawg says:

Re: How do they know

The same way they know to show you ads based on stuff you’ve searched for. And most people that use google are logged into their google account so they can open their e-mail easily.

But even though you may have a dynamic ip address your ISP is required to maintain records of what device has an IP at some specific point in time.

Dam says:

Re: this article

In any criminal investigation, searching a victim’s computer is now standard. If you’re signed into Google, your search history is captured and can be viewed at any time. You can turn off the search history, but it’s on by default and I’ll bet most people don’t know it can be turned off.

Your search also stays in your browser, unless you’ve cleared your history, again, something average users won’t or don’t know how to do.

russ says:

Re: Re: this article

thats a machine issue, ya know, well now you do & here i cant beleave this, where posting to it, like im doing now, geeeeez, i just did it, google search, cause i seen it on t.v. yikes to see there is such a thing & as allways searching because we all now have the internet should go as follows, the address box only, as in http://www.howtodothings.com, never invole search enjin,s because thats where we get malware= more machine issues, thank yous, 🙂

rtfa says:

Re: this article

i believe these phrases (included inthe article) should answer your questions:

“At exactly 5:45:34 on April 18, 2004 a computer taken from the office of the attorney of Melanie McGuire, did a search on the words “How To Commit Murder.”

and

“Jennifer Seymour, who worked for the State Police digital technology unit, testified thismorning how she examined the digital contents of computers and hand held devices obtained as part of the investigation”

and

“She testified that she isolated data that was accessed in the weeks leading up to the murder, by inserting the keyword “search,” which showed activity by Google and MSN search engines, with the searches center-ing on poisons and gun laws.”

and a few more references to the computers which were confiscated and had the search histories pulled from them.

Int says:

id be more worried about..

some of your searches ‘flagging you’ for an investigation
then them starting trouble with you
like i look up a ton of weird shit all the time cause i like to investigate .. news
like the other day i was looking up ‘3000 children missing from florida CPS’ cause apparently florida CPS literally lost 3000 kids, and half of them turned up in other countries, some turned up dead, with no heads, or being used as sex slaves in saudi arabia… nice work CPS..

i was also following info about pedophiles in the CPS… i mean these searches could flag me and get me investigated without any real probable cause..

just for trying to be informed you end up with people spying on you..

any information that can be collected can and will be abused as well…

Lar says:

“.. news like the other day i was looking up ‘3000 children missing from florida CPS’ cause apparently florida CPS literally lost 3000 kids, and half of them turned up in other countries, some turned up dead, with no heads, or being used as sex slaves in saudi arabia… nice work CPS..”

This comment really has nothing to do with the original post – is sounds more like a vendetta against CPS than a comment pertaining to the main subject. By the way, I did a Google search using that exact phrase and got no hits.

Ima Pseudonym says:

Re: Re:

Anyone doing a search for “how to commit murder” should be thrown in jail for life anyway. Nobody does a search for that unless they are contemplating doing it which is the crime of conspiracy to commit murder.

Yesterday I did a search for “hot wookie sex” just to see what I would get. By your logic that makes me a heinous wookiephile.

a says:

Re: Re:

There is nothing wrong with searching, but if there is a wave of wookie rape, maybe you would be a good suspect.

Should the government be looking at people that might need to be looked at? I sure think so. Think maybe someone should talk to your next door neighbor if he is searching and downloading information on how to build bombs? Do you think maybe someone should?

As for writing a book, unless its a really bad book, there is nothing illegal about your activities. Whats your problem?

Lulu says:

Re: Re:

Anyone doing a search for “how to commit murder” should be thrown in jail for life anyway. Nobody does a search for that unless they are contemplating doing it which is the crime of conspiracy to commit murder.

Sure, Einstein. I’m writing a novel and have had reasons to look up many strange search terms over the past year.

Marko says:

dynamic IP

Is traceable and can be corrolated to an assigned computer for a particular duration.

In addition most ISPs who use DHCP use PPoE (Point-to Point of Ethernet) which can require you to “log in” before you are assigned the IP address. if you don’t think your ISP keeps track of this your kidding yourself. It is used to troubleshoot network issues should you call in for customer support.

The Bill says:

Nothing is tracked by IP anymore

In todays world with pretty much everyone using DHCP no one tracks anything anymore that way everyone has started tracking people by MAC address because it is unique to each computer and can not be changed when a normal user is using it. Also most ISP’s keep track of most of the data that goes through them for 2 to 4 days.

Petréa Mitchell says:

At least there aren't that many of them

A few years ago, I discovered I was getting a few hits a month on my Harry Potter reference pages from people searching on “undetectable poisons”. I imagined that the small percentage of total searches where the searcher was digging down to the third or fourth page of results and clicking on everything.

Then I checked on Google and discovered it returned pages from my site at #1, #3, and #4. (IIRC, #2 was an essay on how there are no undetectable poisons.)

They were eventually knocked off the first page of results by all the news coverage of the UK ricin scare.

how.to.commit.murder says:

The Right Way to Commit Murder

Oops my name is how.to.commit.murder that must make me a murderer…..it’s unfortunate that we have people that exist with pathetic logic like some of the commenter’s that could be allowed to be on juries…

Everyone’s guilty lets not bother to explore other scenarios that may prove a person’s innocence.

Now future searchers for this phrase will likely have this site included in their search….amazing how this search technology works….

We are living amongst the idiotic america…god help us

KatManII says:

Murder is easy--so is the STUMBLE defense

While it is no difficulty to either surf anonymously or well hide your cyber tracks, if you are caught, blame STUMBLE UPON and an unknown but strangely entertaining sort of page that appeared with each click. Entirely possible with the correct (or incorrect settings…as you choose) Claim it peaked your curiosity as an intellect. I believe I read of this in a hacking defense case. The curiosity defense.

Murder is so incredibly easy that any intelligent person could commit a completely untraceable act of first degree premeditated murder and remain completely above proof!

There are natural agents that will mimic a heat attack so well that physicians are fooled, and there are at least ten other drugs that will kill without providing need of medical suspicion or leave easily detectable trace evidence.

Murder Anyone…. Ummm?

mike says:

The article uses the word “trace” but it looks like they are just doing computer forensics stuff to retrieve data from the suspects hard drive that was deleted. The person who did all the “tracing” is described as:

“Jennifer Seymour, who worked for the State Police digital technology unit, testified thismorning how she examined the digital contents of computers and hand held devices obtained as part of the investigation.”

The first article thats linked about Google searches being used against people explicitly says that its just data retrieved from a hard drive.

The headlines of these articles are misleading, but they are eye catching because as soon as you see it you think what the people in these comments asked “Does google or our ISPs archive and hand over our searches to the police.” Since the content of both articles say nothing about that I dont think the question can be answered using them.

A better question might be, “Why do headline writers think that its ok to mislead people with these sorts of tricks?” Surely they know that once a person realizes that the headline is crap that the person is less likely to believe future headlines and click on them.

For those who are a little slow, the fact that the evidence is a google search is not important. What is important is that the evidence came from the suspect’s computer not google. If instead of a google search the evidence was a MS Word document detailing the suspects plans the headline could have been “MS WORD USED TO COMMIT MURDER.!@!!!! OMG MURDERERS DONT TRUST MICROSOFT WITH YOUR PLANS.”””!!!””!”

mike says:

The article uses the word “trace” but it looks like they are just doing computer forensics stuff to retrieve data from the suspects hard drive that was deleted. The person who did all the “tracing” is described as:

“Jennifer Seymour, who worked for the State Police digital technology unit, testified thismorning how she examined the digital contents of computers and hand held devices obtained as part of the investigation.”

The first article thats linked about Google searches being used against people explicitly says that its just data retrieved from a hard drive.

The headlines of these articles are misleading, but they are eye catching because as soon as you see it you think what the people in these comments asked “Does google or our ISPs archive and hand over our searches to the police.” Since the content of both articles say nothing about that I dont think the question can be answered using them.

A better question might be, “Why do headline writers think that its ok to mislead people with these sorts of tricks?” Surely they know that once a person realizes that the headline is crap that the person is less likely to believe future headlines and click on them.

For those who are a little slow, the fact that the evidence is a google search is not important. What is important is that the evidence came from the suspect’s computer not google. If instead of a google search the evidence was a MS Word document detailing the suspects plans the headline could have been “MS WORD USED TO COMMIT MURDER.!@!!!! OMG MURDERERS DONT TRUST MICROSOFT WITH YOUR PLANS.”””!!!””!”

Simon says:

kill now

I would like to have been a Roman soldier holding Jesus the the night before he was to be hung on the cross. OMG, I would have taken a huge mallet and smash his head like a egg. I would hammered him from both sides until his brains were leaking out. Then, just for fun smash him straight in the mouth and busted out most of his teeth. Then dropped his drawers and cut his genitals off including his penis. Next put his feet into a fire and burned his feet and legs up to his knees off. Next, put his hands on a large rock and smashed both hands until they looked like red meat for the bbq. then pushed a large rod up his anus and out his mouth and put him over a fire. Once cooked fed him to wild dogs. Yeah, I would have taught the God almighty what it is like to be human…the little cock sucker

death says:

murder

ok so here is how you hide things on an extreme measure

1) get a second hd & nic card for your laptop
2) get a new os for your hd
3) install hd & nic card – never touch your home network with the new hd nor run the new os thru your home network. never let your new nic authenticate with your home network either
4) take your new system to starbucks or some shit hole like that and perform your searches
5) before you kill clean the hd with appropriate magnets and dispose appropriately. dispose nic card too.
6) replace laptop with original equipment
7) kill

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