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Search As Evidence  (View post)

Nicholas [PersonRank 0]

Friday, November 4, 2005
17 years ago

I'm pretty sure they would have to have a warrant to sieze the PC.

Also, this type of evidence seems pretty flimsy on its own. It almost has to have more collaborating evidence. In this case, there was a body. I bet there's also a boat, etc.

Erik [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

I believe I've read about cases where ISPs were subpoenaed for their records also, because they can tie an IP address directly to a customer, and they had records of search engine URLs (with query strings intact) that they passed to the customer, along with timestamp.

And I don't even think you'd need to log in for Google to be able to track a query to an IP address.

Agree with Nicholas that on its own, this is pretty circumstantial.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

Erik, right you don't need to be logged in for Google to track a query in relation to an IP address, but you need to be logged in for Google to know what real name is behind the IP. Valid point about the ISP; they have all your search already. Gee, and everybody's always worring about *Google's* privacy issues – there's more than just Google to worry about if you're concerned about privacy.

Lars Kasper [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

My idea is that police suspected the husband, therefore confiscated his computers, and then found the search evidence in form of URIs in the browser history, saved Web sites in the browser cache, etc.

Copy Editor [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

It's corroborating evidence, not collaborating evidence, for what it's worth.

Milly [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

I'm sure Google would and could release such information, by account login, cookie GUID and/or IP if pressured. And "pressure" might well be short of a warrant : "to (a) satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental request".

Google wouldn't need to know a real name: the request might merely be 'give us all your logged info. for this GUID (and/or this IP)'. The IP might be easy, if it's a fixed broadband. But trickier for a dialup, perhaps if the ISP's records are time-limited.

But absent user anonymisation (e.g GoogleAnon, or frequent flushing), the Google cookie might offer pinpoint tracking for years.

As for "more than just Google to worry about", well of course. But worrying about nothing less than the worst issues is an unsound policy. Besides, we end users have the benefit of the availability of some self-help techniques, and the responsibility of being (currently) the only effective oversight body for Google (and the other big internet companies, busy pushing the privacy envelope).

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

> and then found the search
> evidence in form of URIs in the
> browser history

Ah, of course! That could be it. The history has the time stamps...

corpodibacco [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

I bet he was using google-desktop. The police confiscated his computers, made a search in the google-desktop cache, and got their answers in a sec. Privacy policy of Google it's not an issue, since google-desktop does its job offline, when we ask it to. Plus it works well because it does not index only Google, but any website and search engine.
Anyway, there's no reason for the police to go to google or to the ISP when they have the suspect's computers.

   – How come you searched for 'lake depth' on Google 5 months ago, and there we found your wife's body?
   – Shoot! I thought I well deleted the damn IE cache in the meantime! And the googledesktop cache as well!
- You did alright, mister. But you know, we know how to look into rubbish. Take him away!
- Hey, btw, it was not Goggle, it was MSN search! hahahaha!
- Jesus, another loony...

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