NYT: Internet Users Thinking Twice Before a Search

Katie Hafner of the New York Times writes how some Internet users have changed their search habits now that concerns about government surveillance of web seaches has reached the forefront of the public mind. Among the many anecdotes related in the piece is a user feels it necessary to divulge to her partner why she searched for the term “rent boy,” and who later:

…pointed to a continuing interest she has in the Palestinian elections. “If I followed my curiosity and did some Web research, going to Web sites of the parties involved, I would honestly wonder whether someone in my government would someday see my name on a list of people who went to ‘terrorist’ Web sites,” she said.

Mr. Kowats, the television producer, shares that fear. “Where does it stop?” he said. “What about file sharing? Scalping tickets? Or traveling to Cuba? What if you look up abortion? Who says you can’t look up those things? What are the limits? It’s the little chipping away. It’s a slippery slope.”

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