Man Sues Government After Google Autocomplete Links Him to Bomb-making Site
A former contractor for the U.S. Army is suing for $60 million, claiming he was harassed by the government and ultimately lost his job after a simple Google search went awry.
According to Courthouse News Service, Jeffrey Kantor is suing a host of federal government officials, alleging civil rights violations, disclosure of private information and retaliation.
In his complaint, Kantor states that in October of 2009, he used the search engine Google to try to find "How do I build a radio-controlled airplane." But Google auto-completed his search to "How do I build a radio controlled bomb."
He said he ran the search a couple of weeks before his son's birthday with the intent of building a model plane as a present.
Kantor claims the unfortunate slip on the keyboard sparked the federal government's bizarre campaign of harassment against him that ultimately got him fired.
After government investigators visited him at his workplace, Kantor said they monitored his book purchases and home computer, and made "anti-Semitic comments repeatedly over the course of five months." He claims the stalking further disrupted his personal life when agents secretly attached a GPS tracker to his car.
The complaint alleges that Kantor's co-workers at the Army would "repeat back Kantor's private information, including emails, websites he went to, library books he got from the library, conversations he made in his house or in his car, phone calls, information about the contents of his house." He felt these conversations about him amounted to veiled threats.
Kantor claims that after he lost his job with Appian, the harassment and stalking continued when he went to work for other contractors that assigned him to projects working with the federal government.
He is seeking $13.8 million in compensatory damages and $45 million in punitive damages, and an injunction ordering the government to stop stalking him.