We have all experienced the convenience of the auto-complete feature of many software items that save you some typing. But the prompts can often be the wrong ones. For me, the most common error due to autocorrect is to send emails to the wrong people who happen to share the first names or first letters of their names with others, because I hit send before double-checking. So far, that has not caused any problems, except delays.
Via Neetzan Zimmerman I learned about one person Jeffrey Kantor whose life was ruined by the auto-complete feature on the Google search engine. Intending to search for “How do I build a radio-controlled airplane” for his son, he ended up inadvertently searching for “How do I build a radio controlled bomb?”
He says that he ended up being targeted for investigation by the authorities, constantly monitored, and eventually losing his job.
What bothers me is that there could well be legitimate reasons even for the unintended query. For example, you may just be curious about easy it is make such a thing and want to find out. Surely that should be something that can be cleared up quite easily? The trouble is that the government is so secretive about how it acquires information and the bases for its actions that it is hard to gauge whether they had reasonable grounds for suspicion. Since Kantor is suing the government, we may get to learn more.
It looks like curiosity can be quite dangerous these days, and not just for cats.