Google's autocomplete feature literally ruins man's life

Google's autocomplete feature literally ruins man's life

VicesDecember 12, 2013

Autocomplete has ruined our day in some way or another. Who hasn't had to suffer the shame and humiliation that come with accidentally sending "I want to snuggle your penis LOLLL #YOLO" instead of "What's up?" Eventually, we're able to get over it and move on with our lives.

But moving on after an autocomplete attack wasn't so easy for one man, Jeffery Kantor. His entire life was literally ruined after he made one, simple mistake while typing "How do I  build a radio controlled airplane?" into the Google search bar. But Google's autocomplete feature had other, more sinister ideas...

As he typed, autocomplete brought up several suggestions for him, one being "how do I build a radio controlled bomb.?" And with one, innocent slip of a finger, Jeffery selected that option, hit enter, and before he realized the grave error he had made, he was staring at a page full of homemade bomb recipes. His life would never be the same. (Cue ominous music and thunder claps.)

The government was watching him, as they're known to do these days. His accidental finger-slip had convinced them he was building a bomb, sparking a chain reaction that Jeffery says led to months of harassment by government officials and his eventual termination from his job.

Jeffery was subjected to constant, 24/7 surveillance as his every blink, breath, and burp was monitored by the government. He claims he was routinely visited by federal investigators who made anti-Semitic remarks towards him, and he regularly received death threats from coworkers who appeared to have extensive knowledge of his personal life, phone calls and internet habits.

Jeffery filed a lawsuit in a federal court that names quite the crew of high-profile defendants including Attorney General Eric Holder, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and Secretary of State John Kerry. Whoa. He is seeking $60 million in damages. Double whoa. 

And that, children, is why you should type things into the Google search bar ever so slowly, when you are most alert during the day, delicately using your most accurate finger so it can't get confused with your other fingers, and holding your breath, all the while praying to whatever god you hold dear that you don't fuck it up. So next time you try to search for "fuzzy kittens wearing little hats," be careful not to choose the "fuzzy kittens wearing little hats how do I build a bomb?" option. 'Merica!