Boing Boing contributor visited by terrorism task force for googling pressure cookers, backpacks, quinoa


#1

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#2

Well I'm glad I paid cash for my canning equipment but what am I going to do when I need processing times?


#3

Could always head down to the local bookstore and pick up a book on canning. I recommend "Putting Food By" and "Preserving the Harvest". Don't forget to pay by cash.


#4

I must be crazy but I thought we had some kind of rule against illegal search and seizure? I must be mixing that up with our inalienable right to follow food trends.


#5

Quinoa is definitely terrorist food, or something like that. Praise Jeebus that the government is keeping us safe from backpack wearing hippie terrorists.


#6

This is a pretty amazing claim--amazing enough that I've got to say I'm skeptical.

  1. How many pressure cookers are sold online? Seems like it has to be a huge number, and it would result in tens or hundreds of thousands of visits a year. The resources dedicated to this seem amazing.
  2. It also seems like it would be hard to keep all of these visits quiet--have we seen an epidemic of "The FBI visited me because of my pressure cooker" tweets?
  3. The FBI also appears to have totally spelled their secret methodologies out pretty fast. "Yes, we have this top-secret program to sniff amazon shopping baskets. Ooops, please don't tell anyone." Except in the story didn't even bother with the "oops" part. Wouldn't the FBI at least TRY to keep this program secret?
  4. If they're looking for pressure cooker bombs, are they also looking for other improvised explosive device equipment? Hell, my burning man shopping list should have set off alarm bells for sure. Where's my FBI visit?

I guess I'm not saying it's impossible, but I wonder if something was lost in the retelling.


#7

Also the claim that "they searched us because of our Googling" seems like pure speculation, because at no point in the telling of the actual story did the agents say that.

Edit: Now I see the article's been updated with a paragraph to lend it some skepticism too.


#8

I couldn't remember what quinoa was so now my search history includes that. Should I be worried that I also searched for banana penis more than once?


#9

I kinda want to order ten pressure cookers on Amazon and have them delivered to my friend's house, just to see what happens.


#10

Doesn't Google now use https for basic "googling" when you're logged in? I guess that's one advantage in being logged in to Google when doing searches.


#11

Not to be a stickler here but @ivymike, @JoeWithabee, the author doesn't exactly say what you have posted and no where does she include the quote "they searched us because of our Googling." It seems pretty obvious that she is saying that the confluence of three different people's streams of internet consciousness searching may have been the catalyst. Just sayin'.


#12

Wonder if they register people who has tried to understand terrorists and for instance downloaded Anders Behring Breiviks manifesto? I did it right after his terrorist attack to see if he were coherent, it made me sick to my stomache in its systematic evilness and I deleted it after checking if the media reporting were accurate. waves to googles NSA caching I am not only trying to understand some of those who would like to hurt my society, I have also been researching its infrastructure voulnerabilities to be able to raise issues in politics and various online groups. But what I find most frightening of all is broken politics creating sliding slopes into a violent and distrusting society. I am happy that I live in Sweden where the police mostly is sensible and we dont have numerous SWAT:ing organizations.

If the reported visit by a terroism task force has happend I guess that his online contacts is one or a few steps away from seriously dangerous people. But everybody is a few steps away from anybody that is active online.

I dont think a society can relibale protect itself from the lone crazy person, luckily are there few that both has the crazines and coherence to plan and execute a terroist act. We should all be more social with each other to make the number of isolated people smaller, learn first aid, make our institutions responce to accidents and worse better and then mourn and go on with our lives when the unthinkable happens like the Norwegians did.


#13

Well, we'll see if the Fort Bend County Sheriff pays a visit to my house, since this prompted me to Google for "pressure cookers that fit in backpacks."

By the by, the first hit that comes up is her article. Heh.


#14

My husband got real smart-alecy and said he was going to start sending messages to everyone on our contact list that just said, "bomb terrorist jihad kill" over and over. I just told him to enjoy his time prison after the black helicopters came.


#15

I think as many people as possible should search for pressure cookers and backpacks as possible. (I just did)
Perhaps they will get a clue that what people search for isn't useful information. Anyone who is looking for information on the internet for nefarious purposes and searches for it using google, without some level of obfuscation, is too stupid to be concerned about.


#16

don't you mean your enemy's house? with friends like you …


#17

Probably would have been a much different story if the husband had denied access to the property.

Can't decide if what he did was good or bad.. I mean, letting them search the place probably did a lot to ensure no force was used and if you have a kid that should be priority one, but on the other hand people with badges tromping around in homes without a warrant is pretty offensive.


#18

From the article:

They mentioned that they do this about 100 times a week. And that 99 of those visits turn out to be nothing.

Let's say they get to do a warrantless search in half of those 100 visits. I would be surprised if a cursory search of randomly sampled US homes turned up evidence of marijuana possession, expired license plates, unpasteurized milk, music piracy, or some other minor crime anything less than 2% of the time.


#19

"You don't believe my story? Ask any of my followers about my credibility. Then kiss my ass. Thanks."

Well that throws your credibility into the dumper. Uttering vulgarities does not indicate veracity and twitter followers do not constitute proof of anything other than you have twitter followers.


#20

I hope otherwise credible scientists, politicians, religious leaders, and other pillars of the community aren't ever caught swearing or you're going to be left with no credible figures in your life.