New York woman visited by police after researching pressure cookers online

New York woman visited by police after researching pressure cookers online by Adam Gabbatt (the Guardian)

I felt a sense of creeping dread take over. What else had I looked up? What kind of searches did I do that alone seemed innocent enough but put together could make someone suspicious? Were they judging me because my house was a mess (Oh my god, the joint terrorism task force was in my house and there were dirty dishes in my sink!). Mostly I felt a great sense of anxiety. This is where we are at. Where you have no expectation of privacy. Where trying to learn how to cook some lentils could possibly land you on a watch list. Where you have to watch every little thing you do because someone else is watching every little thing you do.

All I know is if I'm going to buy a pressure cooker in the near future, I'm not doing it online.

I'm scared. And not of the right things.

In 2017, a Long Island, New York resident was visited by police after her employer reviewed her web search history. I think she and her family are lucky their last names don't seem "foreign." It seems 'trying to learn how to cook lentils' can be construed as a possible preparation for terrorism.

I found that article via Bruce Schneier's post on insider threat detection.

The "if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about" theory, that some people with their heads up their arses keep reiterating, can't be defended.

I love this from a commenter on the original Burce Schneier post.

The history of human civilization can be viewed as a power struggle between people and the various groups with which they identify. A person or groups relative levels of "power" can be conceptualized in terms of a zero-sum game because it is such that there must be winners and losers, oppressed and oppressors. The evolution of technology has empowered the individual like never before. Currently, I can do the work of tens of thousands of men every day if I have a tractor. If I have vegetables to sell with an automobile, I can drive to a large farmers market 50 miles away to hawk them. Who needs a storefront for a service-based business when I can just make a website. Who needs delivery trucks when I can just have it shipped. Or perhaps I'd like to eliminate a large number of people for some perceived wrong. Start up the old 76 Chevy and find a crowded sidewalk (Might I add, mass carnage without me having to get out of my car seat Thumbs Up). So...We have a natural inclination to engage in power struggles, while at the same time all involved parties grow more empowered by the day. At some point, any dominant group will desire to suppress any threat to their dominance. Simple as that. Thoughtcrime appears to me to be a likely outcome of all of this...

Emphasis mine.

Author: Khürt Williams

A human who works in information security and enjoys photography, Formula 1 and craft ale.