NY - Internet search history results in LE visit

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New York woman visited by police after researching pressure cookers online
Long Island resident said her web search history and 'trying to learn how to cook lentils' prompted a visit from authorities
A New York woman says her family's interest in the purchase of pressure cookers and backpacks led to a home visit by six police investigators demanding information about her job, her husband's ancestry and the preparation of quinoa.

Michele Catalano, who lives in Long Island, New York, said her web searches for pressure cookers, her husband's hunt for backpacks, and her "news junkie" son's craving for information on the Boston bombings had combined somewhere in the internet ether to create a "perfect storm of terrorism profiling".

Members of what she described as a "joint terrorism task force" descended on Catalano's home on Wednesday.
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"'What the hell is quinoa,' they asked," Ms. Catalano wrote.
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more, with an account of the visit, at the Guardian link above
 
I understand the whole profiling thing, but I can also see how alarms might be set off.

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Definitely kind of freaky - especially for people like us who are always looking up weird stuff due to the cases we follow. But to have those specific elements come together like they did would be an unlucky coincidence. What regular person knew about the criminal use of pressure cookers before the Boston bombings? I certainly didn't. Even when a mistake though, I'd rather LE be safe than sorry (until they knock on my door?), as long as they're really good at discerning when people are telling the truth or not.
 
Well, I guess I should be expecting my visit soon then...Just joking, sort of...

JMO
 
Anyone who googled "cyanide overnight" (perhaps in re: the death of Dr. Autumn Klein; we have a thread) should be on their toes.
 
Well, I guess I should be expecting my visit soon then...Just joking, sort of...

JMO

lol. I'm sure if it were any one or 2 of those combinations, LE "probably" wouldn't have acted. The pressure cooker, the backpacks, the Boston bombing etc. I guess its kind of good someones paying attention.? I'm sure many only wish the Boston brothers would have been halted before it came to what it did. Id be willing to give up some liberties with the slight possibility of terroristic intervention.

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Lentils don't require a pressure cooker. They cook fast. Red beans, etc. yes, but not lentils.
 
That's almost funny. Except it's actually scary. Heck, I do love my pressure cooker!
 
FWIW - I have cooked quinoa in my slow cooker. the real stuff, not the brown rice blend.
 
Michele Catalano was looking for information online about pressure cookers. Her husband, in the same time frame, was Googling backpacks. Wednesday morning, six men from a joint terrorism task force showed up at their house to see if they were terrorists. Which prompts the question: How'd the government know what they were Googling?

Catalano (who is a professional writer) describes the tension of that visit.

[T]hey were peppering my husband with questions. Where is he from? Where are his parents from? They asked about me, where was I, where do I work, where do my parents live. Do you have any bombs, they asked. Do you own a pressure cooker? My husband said no, but we have a rice cooker. Can you make a bomb with that? My husband said no, my wife uses it to make quinoa. What the hell is quinoa, they asked. ...

Have you ever looked up how to make a pressure cooker bomb? My husband, ever the oppositional kind, asked them if they themselves weren’t curious as to how a pressure cooker bomb works, if they ever looked it up. Two of them admitted they did.

Lots more at:

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/08/government-knocking-doors-because-google-searches/67864/
 
LOL we have often joked on here that if LE ever had to look on our computers for some reason, it would at the very least raise some eyebrows. And could possibly make some look guilty of something. LOL it looks like it did for them.

Actually I am kinda surprised that some here weren't investigated after the bombing. I know some were looking up info on pressure cookers, pressure cooker bombs and when they were trying to identify the bombers I believe some even looked up back packs. So maybe we should be prepared......

But like others have said. If they catch me googling in such a suspicious pattern, they are more than welcome to come talk to me....... could add a little excitement to my boring life.

To the terrorist task force...... if you are coming for me, please make sure the people you send are male, good looking and single?
(And please be warned.... I will probably insist on a hug to thank you for all you do to keep us safe.)
 
Hmm....appears to be more to this:
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But the Suffolk County Police Department, which visited Catalano, now says in a statement that they visited Catalano's home yesterday because of an old-fashioned tip. A computer company discovered that one of their employees—presumably either Catalano's husband or son—had been conducting suspicious searches on their work computer, and contacted the police.
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Police interviewed the man and investigated the incident and found nothing. Thus, our dystopian privacy nightmare hellscape is slightly less nightmarish.

But the speed at which Catalano's post spread shows the resonance of any surveillance stories, post-Edward Snowden. The scope of the NSA's revelations must have led journalists and Twitter-ers to ignore the fact that Catalano's story seemed fishy from the beginning. This started with the exact nature of the authorities who visited her. At first she'd tweeted that the FBI had visited her home, but she later walked that back in her blog post to the vague "joint terrorism task force".
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more here: How A Paranoid Blogger Made Everyone Scared to Google Pressure Cookers. (Gawker)
 
While I believe the woman, I'm not so sure I believe the story that the employer originated the investigation. IIRC, according to the wife's blog article, she and her husband did separate searches for the different items. So, unless they both work at the same place and use the same computer, this explanation doesn't work.
 
While I believe the woman, I'm not so sure I believe the story that the employer originated the investigation. IIRC, according to the wife's blog article, she and her husband did separate searches for the different items. So, unless they both work at the same place and use the same computer, this explanation doesn't work.

It could go either way. She could be lying about the circumstances of the searches too.
 
The article does not say the employer gave the tip. It says a computer company gave the tip.

And not trying to be snarky at all, but just goes to show that even when it is written in black and white, people get the facts all screwed up! We see it all the time here on websleuths - whether it is something written or something that was said on a TV show.
 
Am I the only one who finds it slightly odd that the police knows what people googled but seem to be unaware where they're from and who their parents are? Don't they do any kind of a background check before barging in? It's not difficult to find out where my parents are from.
 
While I believe the woman, I'm not so sure I believe the story that the employer originated the investigation. IIRC, according to the wife's blog article, she and her husband did separate searches for the different items. So, unless they both work at the same place and use the same computer, this explanation doesn't work.

Perhaps a laptop that travels with the employee and may occasionally be used by family members to quickly google something when he brought it home and set it up on the kitchen table?
 
I don't own a pressure cooker because I'm afraid of them! I know that is crazy, but I am!

I use my slow cooker most of the time.
 
I read this story and first thought also were all the times we say - we are screwed if LE searches our computers LOL
 

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