Government Ruined My Life Over Auto-Complete: Suit
Man alleges that inadvertent search led to death threats, harassment
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Dec 13, 2013 12:32 PM CST
This is a modified screenshot from Google.com. (Some auto-complete results have been removed, and negative space has been reduced.)   (Google/Newser)

(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.

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Showing 3 of 38 comments
uthink
Dec 15, 2013 9:33 PM CST
government is intrusive government is eroding freedoms & liberties government is broker than an Albanian grandmother pushing a shopping cart full of cardboard & rags.
iq145
Dec 14, 2013 10:56 PM CST
Sounds to me like Jeffrey Kantor screwed up. Why didn't he READ what was onscreen before pressing "Enter"? No suit here... Keep in mind, of course the government has to watch the web. That's how they gain clues, things that help catch scumbags like THIS one: http://www.newser.com/story/179175/fbi-worker-planned-suicide-bombing-of-wichita-airport.html
NSA-CIApuppet
Dec 14, 2013 3:44 PM CST
Maybe Google corrected the search because I just dumped in "How do I build a radio-controlled" as did weiszu2 & Mr. Happy and I got car; boat; helicopter; airplane; robot; submarine; and lawn mower but not bomb. I was apprehensive but I did it. Will be interesting to follow the proof because the allegations are, to me, quite disturbing, including, if not especially, the conduct of his co-workers. It is also interesting that his attorneys apparently did not try to publicize the case as it seems it was picked up from court filings.