Inside money, markets, and Big Tech

This article was published on January 21, 2009


How a simple Google search can get you into jail

How a simple Google search can get you into jail
Ernst-Jan Pfauth
Story by

Ernst-Jan Pfauth

Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.

Lee Harbert, a San Francisco-based investment banker with a history of fines for driving under influence, almost got away with a deadly hit-and-run accident. On January 11, 2005, he killed 55-year-old Gurdeep Kaur with his Jaguar.

Flickr Photo Download: Jail

The police thought they were looking for a burgundy Jaguar, instead of the banker’s black one. Plus Harbert had told the police he thought he had a deer and that was it. Until the police searched his computer. Gizmodo reports:

They found Google searches from a couple days after the accident like, “auto parts, auto dealers out-of-state; auto glass, Las Vegas; auto glass reporting requirements to law enforcement, auto theft,” according to the prosecutor. The coup de grace? He searched for “hit-and-run,” which he followed to a page about the hit-and-run he committed.

Google

The judge sentenced him to three years in prison, Harbert appealed. For nothing, as it turns out his case was refused last week. If only he hadn’t grabbed the steering wheel while he was drunk…, or just left Google for what is was.