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Could Google Have Thwarted Norway Terror Attacks?

Leading academics in Europe have called for the use of search data to zero-in on would-be terrorists before they carry out planned acts of terror.

It was recently revealed that right-wing Norwegian fanatic Anders Breivik had spent 200 days conducting searches on Google for topics like ‘how to make a bomb’ before carrying out his plans, which left 76 people dead.

Search engine giant Google uses its search data for targeted advertising and internet search rankings. Some believe that the company could come up with a system that monitors search terms and raises alarms when someone is repeatedly making suspicious searches on the search engine.

According to an article on The Sydney Morning Herald, politicians and police agencies across Europe and the world are calling for greater measures for monitoring internet searches, which will be a huge invasion of privacy, but could help nab terrorists before they carry out attacks.

Professor Sanjay Chawla, head of the school of information technology at the University of Sydney, said that it would be a massive task for Google to come up with a system like that because "it's very hard to train computers or design algorithms which can distinguish between a terrorist and a non-terrorist...The number of terrorists is actually very small to create a meaningful profile of what the average terrorist looks like,” he said.