Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Google Businesses The Internet

Don't Google "How To Commit Murder" Before Killing 387

Posted by kdawson
from the gods-themselves-contend-in-vain dept.
An anonymous reader alerts us to a murder trial in New Jersey in which Google and MSN searches were used against a woman accused of killing her husband. In the days before the murder, prosecutors say the defendant searched for "How To Commit Murder," "instant poisons," "undetectable poisons," "fatal digoxin doses," and gun laws in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Her husband was killed with a gun procured in Pennsylvania. The crime occurred in 2004; of course, people now know to be careful about their searches.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Don't Google "How To Commit Murder" Before Killing

Comments Filter:
  • by Tillmann (859300) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @11:27AM (#18362507)
    Hi,

    if my wife gets murdered, will it make me a suspect if I've googled for "ReiserFS"?

    bye,
    Till
  • Source (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MattSparkes (950531) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @11:29AM (#18362541) Homepage Journal
    I hope they found this in the auto-finish feature, and not from Google?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by solevita (967690)
      TFA mentions that computers were seized from the defendant and not Google or MSN (the other search engine mentioned). So no, this wasn't a case of google keeping records, but the defendants computer.

      Maybe the title should read: "If Google'ing 'how to commit murder' before killing, throw harddrives into volcano".
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Why?

      Seriously, why?

      If I kill someone with a nailgun I buy at a hardware store, is it 'evil' if the hardware store hands over CCTV footage of me buying said nailgun to the police with a warrant?

      I'm curious, really, why would or should Google get a free pass in a similar situation?

  • Alternative (Score:5, Insightful)

    by petabyte (238821) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @11:32AM (#18362607)
    Or alternatively, don't kill anyone?

    Somehow that seems simpler to me.
  • by MattSparkes (950531) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @11:32AM (#18362615) Homepage Journal
    It says she bought the prescription at Walgreens, it would have been much cheaper if she had bought them elsewhere [freakonomics.com]. She got caught, and she didn't get the best deal, what a fool.
  • Heh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by garett_spencley (193892) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @11:33AM (#18362637) Journal
    I often search for things on wikipedia and google just out of personal interest and curiosity. Every time I search for something related to weaponry or toxic substances etc. I can't help but think to myself "will this ever come back to haunt me?"

    For example, the other night I was watching an action movie and it got me curious about exactly what plastic explosives are and how they work. You see them in movies all the time and there's obviously a lot of misinformation and hollywood make-believe at hand so I wanted to find out the real story. I wiki'd for it and had an interesting read.

    Now the next time I go to cross the Canada/US border (I live on a border town) I half expect customs to detain me and bring up those searches :\
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mrchaotica (681592) *

      I often search for things on wikipedia and google just out of personal interest and curiosity. Every time I search for something related to weaponry or toxic substances etc. I can't help but think to myself "will this ever come back to haunt me?"

      No kidding -- I just googled "man shred" (as in, looking up the man page for the "shred" secure deletion program) while replying to another post in this thread. I'd be screwed if somebody accused me of murdering somebody with a wood chipper!

    • Just search for 'border guard fetish'. They should wave you right through...

      But you may also want to read up on 'personal lubricant', just in case you get an agent who stops you anyway - then you might REALLY be in trouble.
  • by sbaker (47485) * on Thursday March 15, 2007 @11:33AM (#18362647) Homepage
    Mmm'k - so it's AskSlashdot next time?
  • by Dachannien (617929) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @11:33AM (#18362649)
    Note that the police and prosecutors apparently didn't need to subpoena Microsoft or Google for search records, but rather recovered the search URLs from the browser history.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Shabbs (11692)
      Indeed!

      In Firefox: Go to Tools --> Options --> Privacy Tab: And enable "Always clear my private data when I close Firefox".

      As Ron Popeil says: "Just set it... AND FORGET IT!!!"

      Cheers.
  • HEADLINE CORRECTION: "Don't Google 'How To Commit Murder' Less Than Two Years Before Killing"

    See:
    Google to Anonymize Users' Search Data (Maybe, After 2 Years or So)
    http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/07/03/15/0343250.shtml [slashdot.org]
  • by Cr0w T. Trollbot (848674) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @11:36AM (#18362697)
    1. "Steve Ballmer" + Zune + squirt + Naked
    2. Walrus Porn
    3. enriched uranium for sale
    4. "girl" + "myspace" + "16 and under" + "sex" + "I am not an FBI agent"
    5. Latex frog fetish
    6. "How can I keep the feds from discovering my vast marijuana growing operation?"
    7. "genital warts" + "cures" + "sandpaper"
    8. "nitroglycerin" + "subway schedule" + "best escape routes"
    9. anthrax + "crop dusting license"
    10. "Cowboy Neal in Bondage"
    - Crow T. Trollbot
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 15, 2007 @11:36AM (#18362701)
    should have been 'Just Kidding'
  • Google often tracks by logins and IP addresses. So create a alternative login and use a library or cafe computer to do your nasty seraches instead of at home or work. Sometimes that doesnt even work because many libraries require a library card to log in and cafes in Italy record ID card or passport numbers. At least its another level of indirection to throw off detectives.
  • by vivaoporto (1064484) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @11:38AM (#18362757)
    All the information used against that woman was obtained by the computer forensic team after they seized her computer using the right procedure, obtaining a warrant first, and keeping the whole chain of evidence rules.

    You guys need to remember that only because it is digital it doesn't mean it is less relevant or admissible. Had she asked a doctor what is the lethal dose of a certain substance, or what are the less detectable poisons, or similar suspicious questions like those, this doctor would certainly be called as a prosecution witness, and his deposition would certainly be admissible and relevant. Why then the same pursuit of knowledge would not be admissible or relevant? Because it is not a real doctor that got asked, but the internet?

    Notice that I'm not saying that it is sufficient evidence to nail her, as IANAL and I don't know the details of the case. But at least admissible and relevant it is.
    • whether justified or not I'll leave for the tinfoil hat people to debate, that instead of a suspect becoming more suspect if they googled for e.g. "how to commit murder" after a murder was indeed committed and they were a suspect, the very act of "how to commit murder" MAKES one a suspect.

      E.g. like this poster, wondering if googling about explosives will get him some extra attention at the border : http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=226677&cid=183 62637 [slashdot.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      You guys need to remember that only because it is digital it doesn't mean it is less relevant or admissible.

      Just a whole lot easier to alter after the fact.

  • by teh_chrizzle (963897) <`gro.notibboh' `ta' `9-llik'> on Thursday March 15, 2007 @11:44AM (#18362861) Homepage

    i know he can keep a secret. he helped me out that time i woke up in a strange hotel room in denver next to a dead hooker.

    as luck would have it, getting rid of dead hookers is a common problem and there are many useful articles on wikihow. i can tell you from experience that your company's helpdesk is NOT very cooperative in a situation like that.

  • by SydBarrett (65592) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @11:48AM (#18362921)
    Before you shoot someone, do a bunch of searches for "poisons". That way the cops will expect you to poison someone and when they find the body they will be all like "Welp, he wasn't poisoned, so I guess you didn't do it".
  • Hmmmm, so if I wanted to frame somebody, part of the procedure would be to access their computer and do a bunch of google searches on "hiding evidence", "untraceable poison" and various others...

    While the likelyhood that somebody does such is low, it's certainly not impossible.
  • Just a question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @11:55AM (#18363051)
    Just one question here: If the RIAA can't prove who was using a computer for filesharing, how can someone prove who was using the computer for Google searching? Even if you have the computer and the searches still on it, does that say who was at the keyboard? Consider, maybe the husband was researching how to kill his wife, she found out, and got him first.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DragonWriter (970822)

      Just one question here: If the RIAA can't prove who was using a computer for filesharing, how can someone prove who was using the computer for Google searching?

      It'd be pretty hard to make a if the Google searching was all there was, because while its evidence from which the jury could infer that a particular person did the search, any one of the searches alone wouldn't prove much.

      OTOH, when a number of computers you have access to are used to search for certain things that might relate to plans to commit a

  • "high security prison" + escape
    bribing + (jury or juror)
    "insanity defense" -twinkie
    Ask.com: "how to kill a judge"
    "soap-on-a-rope"
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List of Law & Order episodes [url]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CSI [wikipedia.org]
  • by karmatic (776420) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:05PM (#18363229)
    Well, having had my computer taken by the cops as "evidence", I've learned several important lessons:

    1) The cops have _no_ sense of humor. Thanks to Fark [fark.com], I had This [landoverbaptist.org], and This [theonion.com] in my cache. Apparently, I'm now into terrorism and child trafficing.
     
    2) EFS doesn't help. Microsoft's Encrypting File System doesn't encrypt anything that can't be broken in seconds with the password (and usually minutes/hours without).
     
    So, especially for farkers, get TrueCrypt [truecrypt.org]. It's free, and open-source. Then, get TCTEMP [truecrypt.org]. It makes it so your temporary files encrypted with a random key. Restart, and they all go "poof". Then get TCGina [truecrypt.org]. You get to encrypt your home directory (and history, documents, etc.) - it automatically mounts it when you login.
     
    Use AES/SHA-1 as your encryption scheme, and pick a good password. If you're _really_ paranoid, grab Shred Agent (wipes files you delete automatically), and Distrust (a firefox addon that automatically deletes your history and cache for you). Nobody is _ever_ going to be recovering your data (even you, if you forget your password).

    If you are looking for a quick, easy, fool-proof way to wipe your hard drive so _nobody_ will _ever_ recover _anything_ from it, make yourself a DBAN [sourceforge.net] disk. Easy to use, and it gets the job done right.
  • Remember that one of the pieces of circumstantial evidence against Hans Reiser was that he had gotten books on homicide investigations? This isn't any philosophically different.

    Of course, the searches are probably more damning (but still circumstantial). I can see where an innocent person who is the target of a homicide investigation might want to read up on the process, to make sure they don't make fatal missteps.

  • Just wait 18 to 24 months before doing the deed.

    (Oddly, the captcha for posting this was the word 'acquit'....)
  • Here's the missing link [google.com] for this story
  • What a noob, if she knew anything she should have Googled: "How to commit murder" poison OR shooting ~suicide -"get caught"
  • Don't Google "How to waste time at work" before reading Slashdot.

Their idea of an offer you can't refuse is an offer... and you'd better not refuse.

Working...