Finding brilliant criminals like this is so easy now that we seem to be raising a generation who are tech savvy in usage but tech idiots on the implications, much less how the tech works.
At around 3:45 a.m. on March 24, someone in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., used a mobile phone to Google “chemicals to passout a person.” Then the person searched Ask.com for “making people faint.” Then Google again, for “ways to kill people in their sleep,” “how to suffocate someone,” and “how to poison someone.”
The phone belonged to 23-year-old Nicole Okrzesik. Later that morning, police allege, she and her boyfriend strangled 19-year-old Juliana Mensch as she slept on the floor of their apartment. The Google searches, along with incriminating text messages between Okrzesik and her boyfriend, came to light as authorities investigated Mensch’s death. But what if they could have been alerted to the suspicious-sounding searches immediately? Could they have rushed to the apartment and saved the girl’s life?
In Minority Report, police use mutant psychics to predict murders before they happen and lock up the would-be killers. The mutant psychics are fantasy, but when we keep hearing about cases in which people Google their crimes before they commit them, the concept of a police “pre-crime” unit is no longer so far-fetched. The most interesting thing about the idea of using Web searches to predict murders: It might be perfectly legal.