I’m writing this sort of as a reaction to a thread I read about [seven?] things you should never google to avoid legal complications.
Sometimes I google images of various weapons in the PNG format so I can make game-related icons; besides being a trained and experienced small arms user, I’m a shooter video game enthusiast. Sometimes I even google prices for weapons, but I have no interest in getting a carry permit. Not really worrisome for me, as I don’t search for restricted or illegal weapons and munitions.
There are also topics I google for writing research, to get details that support authenticity…but, I’m also ex-military, and Intelligence and Law Enforcement are traditional employment niches in my family, so there are certain things I never put into a search engine because Big Brother is watching—and I don’t want any unfortunate misunderstandings.
Never search for how to construct illegal devices, or how to make illicit substances—the reason why really isn’t that difficult to puzzle out. Stay away from the dark web, and don’t research specifics on devising malicious code. Why? QED.
I was banned for life on one discussion board because I was asking if there were any readers who lived in a German town I grew up in. See, Germany is shutting down all their nuclear reactors out of environmental and health concerns, and I noticed, on a quite public and not-at-all-secret list, that the reactor facility in that town was not on the list. I simply asked if anyone remembered that nuclear plant—that’s all.
The moderators on that site refused to even discuss the absurdity of their arbitrary action, an action, by the way, which was NOT a violation according to TOS. I guess trying to find out why the existence of that plant is now hidden on the net was a bad idea, but I dropped the matter, not wanting to give the Men in Black any ridiculous ideas.
I’m not trying to be coy, but there are specific words and terms that it’s a bad idea to search for or post online…or even talk about on an ostensibly private cell phone call. According to US federal law, any communications conducted by wireless means is deemed a public broadcast, and authorities are not required to demonstrate probable cause to listen in; there are people sitting in rooms with headphones listening to calls all over this nation—and computers—and they’re all listening for key phrases.
Basically, use common sense, and try to avoid suspicious searches.