There are many things that could get a person into the prison system. Is a Google search one of those things? The answer is – Yes. There should never be an assumption of privacy, even if you are in the so-called “incognito” mode that some browsers offer.
This is not a broad thing, though. Just searching for certain terms won’t get you arrested. But if a crime does happen, then it can land you in legal trouble. The authorities can comb through those “incognito” searches and the terms that you used can be found.
What are some of the things that could land you in this hot water?
This is a big one. If you even put in the phrase “child porn,” that could get the police’s attention. Viewing minor children engaged in sexual activity is a crime. A minor is someone who is 17 and younger.
It doesn’t matter if you go back and clear your browsing history. Authorities will still be able to see your digital footprint. They can use that search against you, especially if you go on to view videos of those particular illegal acts.
Another thing that authorities are always on the lookout for is anything that can possibly point to terrorist activities. If you were to do a search for how to make a homemade bomb or something similar, that would get the attention of the authorities. You could be put on a watch list.
No, just searching for these terms is not illegal. You could be an author writing a novel about thwarting terrorism and this could be part of your research. But if they suspect that you are part of a terrorist ring, they could come visit you to ask about what you are doing if they feel that they have just cause.
This is a corner of the Internet that can have some very shady going-ons. They can include anything from child porn to white collar crime to terrorism and even hiring people to perform a hit on someone else. The dark web lurks out of the reach of many authorities. Doing a search can raise the antennae of authorities, since they may be looking for evidence of crimes.
So, just even doing something like idly browsing through this could get you into significant trouble. Think of the dark web as being a neighborhood that you don’t even want to walk through in passing.
Are you tempted to get the latest movies or music without paying for it? This is far from a victimless crime – it deprives the artists, actors, and everyone who was involved in it from making the money they deserve. That is why the people in these industries are very vigilant about keeping track of who is trying to get their hands on these things.
The days of Napster and other file-sharing programs are long gone. Trying to do this now could wind up with your having to pay a hefty fine or even possibly have jail time.
When it comes to the law and Google searches, the company is usually not going to actively monitor and report what could be deemed as suspicious searches. There are some exceptions, like the above-mentioned child porn. The company will report if they find that there are sites that have child porn on them. The authorities may also ask for your search history – which could prove that you had the intention to commit a crime.
It can be scary to have the police come knock at your door for things that you searched for. This can feel like an invasion of privacy – but they also have to consider if you are part of something that could harm a group of people, especially young children. The authorities are also very vigilant about terrorism, which can lead to some uncomfortable scenarios.
What should you do if you are suspected of doing online searches for these forbidden terms? The first course of action should be to contact an attorney who is very familiar with this type of thing. They can then defend you against any possible charges. Their goal is to protect your freedom.
Even though Google and the Internet have been around for many years, society is still adapting to a digital world. They are still figuring out how to construct laws around it and what constitutes free speech and what doesn’t. Just be vigilant about what could be considered an illegal Google search term. Then you will be able to browse the Internet without worry.