Government Ruined My Life Over Auto-Complete: Suit

Man alleges that inadvertent search led to death threats, harassment

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 13, 2013 12:32 PM CST

(Newser) – Jeffrey Kantor says the federal government mercilessly harassed him and got him fired over an accidental Google search. In a lawsuit spotted by Courthouse News, the Virginia man explains that he was trying to search for "How do I build a radio-controlled airplane?" But when he got as far as "radio-controlled," Google's autocomplete feature filled in the word "bomb." Big brother must have been watching, because Kantor says he soon got a visit at work from federal investigators, one of whom made "anti-Semitic comments repeatedly over the course of five months."

Kantor worked for a government contractor, Appian, and says his coworkers soon took up the harassment. They'd mention his personal emails, phone conversations, or library records, then mention that people often die of hypertension, which sounded to Kantor like veiled death threats. "People who go to porn sites are going to hell," one co-worker allegedly told him, a day after he'd visited such a site on his home computer, according to the ABA Journal. When he lost the Appian job, Kantor got work at another government contractor, and the threats allegedly continued. Now, he's seeking nearly $60 million in damages, in a suit naming only government agencies and their directors as defendants.

This is a modified screenshot from Google.com. (Some auto-complete results have been removed, and negative space has been reduced.)
This is a modified screenshot from Google.com. (Some auto-complete results have been removed, and negative space has been reduced.)   (Google/Newser)
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Instead of going after actual terrorists, the government has been investigating innocent people and violating their civil and constitutional rights in the process. - Jeffrey Kantor's lawsuit

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