The blogger in question, Michele Catalano, that some of you may remember from her blog, “A Small Victory,” which she wrote during the mid-2000s, was ensnared in an investigation yesterday. Well more than that. Police showed up at her front door to interrogate her and her husband.
Here is Catalano’s account of the experience, in which she theorizes that this had something to do with her family’s "Googling" habits:
"What happened was this: At about 9:00 am, my husband, who happened to be home yesterday, was sitting in the living room with our two dogs when he heard a couple of cars pull up outside. He looked out the window and saw three black SUVs in front of our house; two at the curb in front and one pulled up behind my husband’s Jeep in the driveway, as if to block him from leaving.
Six gentleman in casual clothes emerged from the vehicles and spread out as they walked toward the house, two toward the backyard on one side, two on the other side, two toward the front door.
A million things went through my husband’s head. None of which were right. He walked outside and the men greeted him by flashing badges. He could see they all had guns holstered in their waistbands.
“Are you [name redacted]?” one asked while glancing at a clipboard. He affirmed that was indeed him, and was asked if they could come in. Sure, he said.
They asked if they could search the house, though it turned out to be just a cursory search. They walked around the living room, studied the books on the shelf (nope, no bomb making books, no Anarchist Cookbook), looked at all our pictures, glanced into our bedroom, pet our dogs. They asked if they could go in my son’s bedroom but when my husband said my son was sleeping in there, they let it be.
Meanwhile, they were peppering my husband with questions. Where is he from? Where are his parents from? They asked about me, where was I, where do I work, where do my parents live. Do you have any bombs, they asked. Do you own a pressure cooker? My husband said no, but we have a rice cooker. Can you make a bomb with that? My husband said no, my wife uses it to make quinoa. What the hell is quinoa, they asked.
They searched the backyard. They walked around the garage, as much as one could walk around a garage strewn with yardworking equipment and various junk. They went back in the house and asked more questions.
Have you ever looked up how to make a pressure cooker bomb? My husband, ever the oppositional kind, asked them if they themselves weren’t curious as to how a pressure cooker bomb works, if they ever looked it up. Two of them admitted they did""
This is one example of what seems to be an ever-increasing trend of investigations due to agencies obtaining personal data from sources such as Google and Skype. It raises some interesting questions such as are we witnessing a rapid decline in certain rights, such as the right to freedom of speech, when cops show up at "our doors" as a result of certain words and phrases that we "google?"
Where does the balance lie between our government's "protecting" our safety verses interfering with our freedoms? Does this make you feel safe as it may have been a terrorist or unsafe as we ALL KNOW now that even our Google searches are being spied on by Government agencies?
Sadly, it appears that we may have reached a point in technology, search and access to data, by law enforcement and other government agencies,to which there is no turning back.