Sunday, December 11, 2005

Google, Blogging and Detectives

Thanks to The Daily Gadget, I'm aware that Google is not just a workstation support technician's best friend. As reported by Ben Charny of Fox News, one man's search terms were helpful in getting him convicted of his wife's murder. In the article, Charny quotes Electronic Frontier Foundation Attorney Kevin Bankston as saying, "...search logs are the closest thing to a printout of your brain that we have."

Another article on the Fox site, this one by Catherine Donaldson-Evans, goes on to relate how reading blogs has proved useful in crime investigations. Forensic Psychologist Helen Smith was quoted as saying that crimes "have been solved or stopped because of blogs." Smith also says that, "People do bare their souls on blogs." Donaldson-Evans mentions that one limitation to using blogs as evidence is that proving they belong to the people involved can be more difficult than with paper journals, because there is no handwriting to analyze.

The first thing I did after reading that was fire off a brief (for me, anyway) note to the folks at Fox to let them know that there are, indeed, some blogs which are handwritten. Oh, sure, I know that we inkbloggers aren't prevalent, but I'm optimistic that there will be many more.

I'm excited. I'm also a little frightened. I knew my blog, forum and newsgroup posts allow the perceptive readers to know a good deal more about me than I'd like, but now I've learned that my search engine logs also speak volumes for me, and I now suspect my innocuous handwritten blog entries are also quite tell-tale, and not only to law enforcement agencies. Remind me not to commit any crimes or run for public office!

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