A few tech-savvy people have uncovered an extraordinary amount of information about the Tsarnaev brothers in a short amount of time. This has so many interesting implications for law enforcement, journalism, and privacy in the digital age.
We know all this not because the FBI told us or because journalists went out and spoke to people—though there is a lot that the media has revealed in the same 12-hour-period—but because it can all be pieced together with some decent Googling. If you read Russian and know how to use Yandex and V Kontake, there is more public information yet.
Where it was once only reporters and the police who dug up information about people of interest, a whole nation is at it today. And for all the myriad concerns about privacy settings, cookies, data protection, automated surveillance, and Facebook, we reveal immense amounts of information about ourselves publicly, unthinkingly, and sometimes involuntarily.
Yet we do not know the answers to the most important question we have, “Why?” As the article concludes, “We know when Dzhokhar sleeps but not what he dreams about.”