A sad, frustrating, and enraging anniversary

posted at 8:40 am on March 5, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

It was a year ago today that Marizela Perez slipped away from her family and friends and went missing after having last been seen leaving a convenience store in Seattle.  While the case remains open, there has been almost no change in the investigation in months.  In part, that is because so many young people go missing, but also in part to a strange lethargy among those who might help solve the mystery of what happened to Marizela.

My former boss and good friend Michelle Malkin is Marizela’s cousin and has been in anguish for this entire year.  Today she shares with us a letter she sent to Google two months ago, explaining the family’s frustration with the police investigation and literally begging Google to work with the family instead:

My message to Google’s legal department:

from Michelle Malkin writemalkin@gmail.com
to [name redacted]
date Thu, Jan 5, 2012 at 12:24 AM
subject From relative of Marizela Perez
mailed-by gmail.com

Hi [name redacted] – Belated New Year’s greetings. I don’t know if you remember me, but we communicated by email last spring about my missing teenage cousin, Marizela Perez. Tomorrow, January 5, marks the 10-month anniversary since her disappearance. Our family is very grateful that your company cooperated with the Seattle Police Department in responding to their very limited subpoena request for some of Marizela’s Google-related information.

Here is our dilemma. While the case remains open, the Seattle police are for all practical purposes treating it as a closed and shut case. They will not share the information they obtained from the subpoena — which our family pushed for in the first place. If we had access to that information, we could continue the search for Marizela on our own that the SPD has neither the time, resources, or inclination to pursue. As a fellow parent, I hope you understand our despair and our refusal to give up. My question is this: What are the chances that Google would release the info in the search warrant return to us if we pursued it through legal means? My understanding is that federal electronic records privacy law has done very little to take into account unique situations like ours.

If you have a chance, could you ring me at [redacted]. If you can’t, I understand. But I’m at wit’s end — especially knowing the information we seek is perishable — and running out of ideas. Appreciate your time and consideration.

Best,
Michelle

Google’s corporate motto is “Don’t Be Evil.” How about trying to “Be Good” and accommodate desperate customers who are actually begging you to make privacy exceptions?

Someone out there knows what happened to Marizela, or they have some information that will point the family in the right direction.  Google is one of those entities, but there must be more.  I’ve featured Marizela’s case almost every day in my show posts, hoping that the infinitesimal chance that it might prod one or more of those someones to respond would pay off.  The family has posted Marizela’s missing persons flyer, photos, videos and more at http://findmarizela.com/. The tip line number for citizens who may have any information that might aid in the search is 1-855-MARIZEL.

It’s time to bring Marizela home.  Tell that to Google, and spread the word.  In the meantime, keep Marizela and her family in your prayers, and be sure to read all of Michelle’s post.


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At this point, not knowing is worse than knowing, even if that should be knowing the worst.

Marizela has been in my prayers for this full year, and will continue to be, until she is brought home.

Siddhartha Vicious on March 5, 2012 at 8:42 AM

Still a very sad story… my heart goes out to MM (The Boss) and her family…

Khun Joe on March 5, 2012 at 8:46 AM

Hopefully whatevey happened, it was her own choice.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 8:48 AM

Is there a political reason why the suspected leftist Google won’t accomodate the know rightist Michelle?

Don L on March 5, 2012 at 8:48 AM

Also, while I would feel the same way if I were Michelle, I do not believe Google should release any information about a user without a valid subpoena, full stop.

Google has no way of knowing what Marizela’s wishes on that would be, what the exact quality of Michelle’s relationship are with her, etc. Google also has the important principle of honoring its commitment to its written contractual privacy obligations with its users, and further, must protect its own business interests with other customers, such as myself, who don’t want to see it violating its privacy agreements and releasing info to family members.

Google is right to withold info from Michelle. If Michelle has a valid complaint, it instead with the police.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 8:55 AM

Dear Ed,

I know that many of your readers are not Catholic, but can I suggest that maybe we can still all join together and do a formal Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe to ask that the family receive information or even the miracle of finding this beautiful girl?

There is a shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe as patron of the United States established by Cardinal Burke in Wisconsin. If the family finds Marizella, perhaps we can do the “Hot Air Pilgrimage” to say thank you.

At any rate, please know that our anguished prayers are united to yours…what a nightmare.

http://www.sancta.org/novena.html
http://www.guadalupeshrine.org/

wchambers on March 5, 2012 at 8:57 AM

I have a contrarian view. If the police won’t release the info how can google legally do this. this is a slippery slope. If they release info on this subject what about other ones. I don’t think a precedent can be set.

That does not mean I’m not sympathetic to her plight

gerrym51 on March 5, 2012 at 8:57 AM

Its stunning that someone as high profile as Michelle cant get any help from seemingly unsympathetic authorities. What happens to the hundreds of people with no platform? The same or worse. My heart goes out to Michelles and all famillies facing their worst nightmare. Praying that this young woman turns up hopefully alive so this familly can find some peace. Pray that no one you love ever goes missing in seattle.

ldbgcoleman on March 5, 2012 at 8:59 AM

Well, given that Google has already said that they are going to release the info they’ve data mined on you to just about everyone else under the sun, I do wonder why they can’t just release it to you.

Voyager on March 5, 2012 at 9:00 AM

My heart goes out to Michelle and her family. I just can’t imagine how incredibly angering and frustrating it would be, to be in her and her family’s shoes.

KMC1 on March 5, 2012 at 9:00 AM

I have to believe that Marizel is part of an ongoing murder case and that that is the answer to the lack of cooperation.

Cindy Munford on March 5, 2012 at 9:03 AM

gerrym51, your viewpoint isn’t contrarian: Ed’s is. Yours reflects both the current state of the law and Google’s written privacy policy, its commitment to its users privacy.

Companies can’t just start releasing private imformation to whomever family members contact it complaiong that the police won’t give it to them!

How does the company even know the letter writer isn’t a suspect? And that’s only one of many problems with this.

Marizela was an adult. If she had wanted to give some PoA/privacy release to Michelle, she would have. She didn’t.

Google released the subpoened information to the relevant investigating authority, and will again if they get another subpoena. They have done their duty.

Is there a political reason why the suspected leftist Google won’t accomodate the know rightist Michelle?
Don L on March 5, 2012 at 8:48 AM

No. There are bona fide legal and ethical reasons not to do so.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 9:04 AM

Someone out there knows what happened to Marizela, or they have some information that will point the family in the right direction.

It’s good to keep it in front of public, because the reasons that witnesses stay quiet can go away. The criminal that the witness was afraid of crossing might be safely in prison today, so now they’re willing to talk…for example. They just have to know that someone is still interested in listening.

RBMN on March 5, 2012 at 9:07 AM

I can understand the family’s distress and feeling of helplessness, but the idea of Google sharing this information is unprecedented and quite frankly, needless. They have followed the law by sharing the information with the legal authority in charge of the case.

While it may enrage the family, they have to understand what may seem like a police indifference most likely is not the case.

Having the family play detective could very well jeopardize the police department’s case. Just because it doesn’t look like they’re doing anything, doesn’t mean that’s the case.

ButterflyDragon on March 5, 2012 at 9:08 AM

I applogize for only one thing I wrote. I meant to say Marizela was an adult at the time she went missing. She could have run away or be in hiding for all I know.

Of course, those are among the things I meant when I said that whatevet happened it was her choice.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 9:08 AM

I have to believe that Marizel is part of an ongoing murder case and that that is the answer to the lack of cooperation.

Cindy Munford on March 5, 2012 at 9:03 AM

I doubt that very much. And even if it were true, they could tell Michelle Malkin or Marizela’s parents what was going on.

I concede that it is possible that Marizela was murdered but it’s almost certain there’s no open police case. Michelle has said that there is the possibility of suicide. Until there is closure, there is always the hope that she just ran away and will turn up some day. There are other possibilities that I do not wish to discuss.

The most likely explanation for the behaviour of the police dept and google is that they just don’t give a sh*t.

gh on March 5, 2012 at 9:09 AM

ED:

You need to list where exactly to go.

The google link is to a general-to-specific communications portal.

Which one from there?

roy_batty on March 5, 2012 at 9:11 AM

Very sad. Holding out hope. Ed, I think you might be a bit surprised at how busy an innocent thread like this is going to keep you busy today. Good luck. Per your request. Done.

Bmore on March 5, 2012 at 9:13 AM

Michelle Malkin IS the reason I have read HA for years.

And I finally signed on during the recent open registration.
My heart was broken when this sad event happened.

To Michelle Malkin and her extended family.

I express my hearfelt sympathy. God Bless.

ToddPA on March 5, 2012 at 9:22 AM

gh on March 5, 2012 at 9:09 AM

You are probably right but I can’t help but think it is hard for a suicide to hide their body this effectively. Sorry for the bluntness. As someone who watches far far too many true crime stories, it is amazing how long crimes go unsolved and even worse justice is served.

Cindy Munford on March 5, 2012 at 9:24 AM

gotta agree with those who say that google has done all it can do. With an open police investigation, every request along these lines is going to be considered and answered by Google’s extensive legal department – and corporate legal departments are paid to be extremely cautious and follow the letter of the law. They won’t dare take the risk of incurring litigation from any who might object to this. (and who knows who that would be?)

The Seattle police are the ones who have to take the lead in this, and sadly if they blow it, that means the case is blown and nothing can be done about it. I know that’s harsh, but that’s reality.

Sometimes the police just blow it. Actually that happens a lot more than we like to believe.

Tom Servo on March 5, 2012 at 9:25 AM

I have to believe that Marizel is part of an ongoing murder case and that that is the answer to the lack of cooperation.

Cindy Munford on March 5, 2012 at 9:03 AM

I completely agree. I understand Michelle Malkin’s anguish and frustration but I cannot conceive of a situation where a given police department would lack the inclination to find a missing girl when foul play is likely. Two of my best friends are cops–one a retired Chicago homicide detective, the other a homicide detective in Denver who’s still on the job. I’ll ask them about it but I’m sure they’ll tell me the same thing: the odds of finding the girl and catching the man or men who did it are greater if little or no information is disseminated to the family. Bottom line: good men and women go into that stressful, sometimes agonizing line of work in order to protect innocents like Marizela Perez. They’ll do all that is humanly possible to find her and bring those responsible to justice.

troyriser_gopftw on March 5, 2012 at 9:25 AM

I doubt that very much. And even if it were true, they could tell Michelle Malkin or Marizela’s parents what was going on.

No. They couldn’t, actually.

The most likely explanation for the behaviour of the police dept and google is that they just don’t give a sh*t.

No. It isn’t, actually.

And quite frankly, you’re being an ass for attacking the staff at Google for doing their jobs and following the law and their written policies.

I’ve worked customer service in various positions, and giving information out about customers in response to pleas from concerned family members (who can, you know, be outright evil if not lying) is just not on.

That’s what subpoenas are for. Google has responded as directed by the subpoena.

IF Michelle wants to hire a PI or something similar, then she can go to court and try to get an order for Google to release the information. It isn’t up to Google to do so; it is up to them to protect Marizela’s privacy, whether in life or in death (except when lawfully required to disclose).

Random on March 5, 2012 at 9:26 AM

Having the family play detective could very well jeopardize the police department’s case. Just because it doesn’t look like they’re doing anything, doesn’t mean that’s the case.

ButterflyDragon on March 5, 2012 at 9:08 AM

The family just wants to find out what’s going on. The cops can tell them whether or not there is an open case without compromising anything.

gh on March 5, 2012 at 9:28 AM

Google isn’t some guardian of people’s privacy, it’s the exact opposite. They buy or sell whatever information does them the most good/makes the most money. Our information could be in the hands of a 100 different large or small companies and even we don’t get to know what they’ve done with it. Their only product/commodity is personal information. They don’t sell physical product, they sell information on many levels, including all of your personal stats. I’m sure that they could pull a spreadsheet of activity on any individual that they want for whatever reason that they want.

But they need to give the impression of privacy so that people continue to use them. If I were Michelle, I would now either sue Google and/or the Seattle Police Department to legally get this information. What I don’t see is them releasing it to the family just because it was requested. They don’t have any compelling reason to do so.

Something is in that information. My curiousity is peaked as to why the police department isn’t sharing information with the family. I can see not giving them every detail but to not tell them anything is extremely curious. Perhaps the girl just took off? But even then they could literally say, we can’t release this to you, but she’s probably not dead. Giving information without giving information, if ykwim. If she is probably dead in their eyes, don’t see why they’d be so tight lipped.

GeeWhiz on March 5, 2012 at 9:28 AM

Random on March 5, 2012 at 9:26 AM

Google can do whatever they like on a confidential basis. No-one will know, by definition of “confidential”.

If the case is closed, then the police can tell them. So logically, they can also say whether there is an open case. They don’t have to go into any detail.

gh on March 5, 2012 at 9:30 AM

I’ve worked customer service in various positions, and giving information out about customers
Random on March 5, 2012 at 9:26 AM

Oh so you’re a good little bureaucrat. You can always forward the problem to your boss or you can tell the customer who else to talk to.

gh on March 5, 2012 at 9:33 AM

The family just wants to find out what’s going on.

In addition to what I criticized you about before, you’re actually lying now.

You know Michelle doesn’t want the information just so she can satisfy her curiosity and do nothing with it. She, very understandably, wants to use the information to find Marizela according to the text of her own letter:

If we had access to that information, we could continue the search for Marizela on our own that the SPD has neither the time, resources, or inclination to pursue. As a fellow parent, I hope you understand our despair and our refusal to give up.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 9:33 AM

GeeWhiz above pointed out that Michelle can sue for the info. I made the same point.

Legally, that’s her option.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 9:33 AM

gh on March 5, 2012 at 9:33 AM

The fear of litigation is strong in our country. Good grief these servers are annoying.

Cindy Munford on March 5, 2012 at 9:35 AM

Random on March 5, 2012 at 9:33 AM

GFY. I do not know what Michelle will do and nor do you.

gh on March 5, 2012 at 9:36 AM

You know Michelle doesn’t want the information just so she can satisfy her curiosity and do nothing with it. She, very understandably, wants to use the information to find Marizela according to the text of her own letter:
Random on March 5, 2012 at 9:33 AM

Whether or not an open case exists does not give her enough information to interfere. As far as I can tell from what she writes, both the police and google have refused to discuss the matter at all.

gh on March 5, 2012 at 9:38 AM

Google can do whatever they like on a confidential basis. No-one will know, by definition of “confidential”.

If the case is closed, then the police can tell them. So logically, they can also say whether there is an open case. They don’t have to go into any detail.

OK, the point in your first paragraph is bordering on incoherrent: you’re saying Google should break the law and their written privacy policy secretly (and also trust that a distraught family will never disclose this fact if it’s in their immediate interest to do so). You somehow outdo yourself in the second paragraph, overlooking the fact Michelle’s letter states the SPD told her the case is still considered open.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 9:38 AM

Random,

I agree with you about Google being correct in its response to these requests: They must obey both the law and their published policies.

But I think you are conveying the wrong impression of what the family is requesting. They seem to be asking for help in determining HOW they could gain access to this information in a valid manner. Given the circumstances, would Google be violating any of its legal or ethical duties if it informed the family that it could release the information if XXX and YYY were fulfilled? That they would comply with a Subpena from a House investigative committee? Or any other avenue that would provide some assistance?

OBQuiet on March 5, 2012 at 9:39 AM

The family just wants to find out what’s going on. The cops can tell them whether or not there is an open case without compromising anything.

gh on March 5, 2012 at 9:28 AM

Michelle’s letter (posted above) clearly states it’s an open case. (Fact) But she feels that they are treating it as a closed case. (Conjecture)

The family is unhappy with how the case is being handled. As is every other family who has a person missing from their family.

But they do know it’s an open case.

ButterflyDragon on March 5, 2012 at 9:40 AM

The fear of litigation is strong in our country. Good grief these servers are annoying.

Cindy Munford on March 5, 2012 at 9:35 AM

LOL. I seem to have the same problem.

The “fear of litigation” is a symptom of what got you Obama in the first place. Be Breitbart!

gh on March 5, 2012 at 9:41 AM

OBQuiet on March 5, 2012 at 9:39 AM

Well that’s a fair enough point, but I don’t think Google can really answer it without opening themselves up to liability. Giving estimates like that is fraught with peril. Michelle needs to ask that question of her own competent attorney who represents her.

The best Google’s legal department could reply, not to be flipant, is 100% if she’s successful and 0% if she’s not. Further, Google is required to oppose the motion, and Michelle is asking Google to give her the odds she xan beat them.

I understand the frustration and emotion she must be feeling. But she really needs to use her contacts to find her own representation.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 9:43 AM

*can

Random on March 5, 2012 at 9:44 AM

But they do know it’s an open case.

ButterflyDragon on March 5, 2012 at 9:40 AM

I’ll have to re-read what she wrote.

She thinks it is “for all practical purposes … closed”.

What does “open” mean? Does it mean that the case is assigned to someone in the department or does it mean the file is open because there is a legal restriction on closing it before the end of a given time period.

If no-one is actively working on the case then the family cannot “interfere” with it.

gh on March 5, 2012 at 9:50 AM

After further thought, why isn’t the family hiring a computer forensic expert to go over Marizela’s computer? They should be able to get even more information from the computer than they would from Google’s tracking.

The police should not have possession of the computer and if they do, I have no doubt it would be returned to the family on request. (Hard drives are copied for investigative purposes, so the actual computer is needless at this point in the investigation unless there is evidence associated with the physical properties of the computer (fingerprints, blood, etc.)

If the police refuse to return the computer, then at that point the family can take legal channels to have it returned.

But if they do that, I strongly advise they do not turn on the computer and attempt to find things themselves. They need a professional. If people don’t know what they’re doing, they could inadvertently lose very valuable information. Especially since the information is a year old and many programs have settings to delete cache and information after a certain period of time.

ButterflyDragon on March 5, 2012 at 9:52 AM

. Be Breitbart!

gh on March 5, 2012 at 9:41 AM

I would love to be Breitbart!

Cindy Munford on March 5, 2012 at 9:52 AM

Oh so you’re a good little bureaucrat. You can always forward the problem to your boss or you can tell the customer who else to talk to.

You realize that in the real world people go into hiding from other members of their family all the time, right? That sometimes people simply have differences with their family or friends and spouses and want their privacy protected.

These policies are in place to protect the user, people like yourself — who have chosen to remain anonymous, you will.

Google has disclosed the info to the cops and Michelle can go to court and make he case there. If you don’t believe in privacy, that’s fine, but Google is acting appropriately within the current scope of the law and their written commitment to Marizella when she would have used their services.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 9:55 AM

ButterflyDragon on March 5, 2012 at 9:52 AM

If the case is open, the police would not be able to turn over anything considered “evidence”, I would think.

gh on March 5, 2012 at 9:57 AM

gh, open means it’s assigned to someone. That person or group leader will make their own decisions about how to prioritize resources on the various cases they are responsible for. There will be some managent oversight of the person/group leader responsible for this and other cases.

Yes, police competence and resources vary, but open means open.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 9:59 AM

If the case is open, the police would not be able to turn over anything considered “evidence”, I would think.

gh on March 5, 2012 at 9:57 AM

The computer itself is not evidence unless there is physical evidence on it. The information on a computer is forensically copied and that copied information is what they work with. The original hard drive is never sifted through.

ButterflyDragon on March 5, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Let me take a hypothetical, near worst case scenario. Let us suppose Marizella died by her own hand, it ultimately turns out.

There may be things se did on Google, thi gs she thought and talked about, people she knew, places she went, that she wouldn’t have wanted people to know about. Now obviously I don’t think there is proof of this or the case wouldn’t still be open. However, even if that was or even could be the case, Google can’t be turning over people’ls pricate thoughts and actions over to family members without a compelling legal reason. It is part of their contractual commitment to their user to start with.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 10:04 AM

*private

Forgive the typos. Doing this from an iPhone.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 10:06 AM

You realize that in the real world people go into hiding from other members of their family all the time, right?

Yup.

That sometimes people simply have differences with their family or friends and spouses and want their privacy protected.

No evidence of that here.

These policies are in place to protect the user, people like yourself — who have chosen to remain anonymous, you will.

You are dreaming. If the police want to find me, they can get the logs from the hot-air servers and find my house in no time. My IP address (though dynamic) stays the same for 2 years at a time.

If you don’t believe in privacy
Random on March 5, 2012 at 9:55 AM

I could post here hiding my identity. There are ways to do so. If you think your government believes in privacy then you’re a fool. Same for google.

Michelle kept the letter *she* send private for two months. I’m sure she abide by whatever legal terms google wanted to arrange.

Shortly after this case happened, the laws in Canada were changed to make getting such information in similar cases easier. I don’t know the details but I heard the story on the radio. It had nothing to do with Michelle but google was mentioned. It may have been only applied to minor children.

gh on March 5, 2012 at 10:06 AM

God bless this young woman’s family.

ted c on March 5, 2012 at 10:07 AM

Random on March 5, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Once you are dead, your possessions go to your estate. Google would have no recourse but to give up the contents of her account — if they refused there would be no problem for Michelle to get an injunction to prevent them from deleting the account while fighting it out in court.

What someone wanted before they died can’t hurt them after the fact.

gh on March 5, 2012 at 10:09 AM

gh, believe it or not, you are not in a place to know Marizela’s innermost thoughts. Google doesn’t need evidence she wanted privacy; they agreed to provide her some when she used their services, annd by using them, Marizella accepted that.

You simply don’t know wha Marizella did or didn’t want disclosed, and Google sure as heck doesn’t.

Besides, there is an open police investigation. and Google has no way of knowing who may be a suspect.

Neither do you.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Once you are dead, your possessions go to your estate. Google would have no recourse but to give up the contents of her account — if they refused there would be no problem for Michelle to get an injunction to prevent them from deleting the account while fighting it out in court.

What someone wanted before they died can’t hurt them after the fact.

As is a recurring theme here, you don’t have the slightest clue what you’re talking about. Privacy rights may not always survive death, but confidentiality — where there was a contract — does.

Google (or Bing):

do privacy rights survive death

… and start reading.

Further, when I’m dead, nothing may hurt me, but most humans care, very much, while living what happens after they are dead. So your last point is, again, severely flawed (and is why confidentiality survives death.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 10:20 AM

Michelle kept the letter *she* send private for two months. I’m sure she abide by whatever legal terms google wanted to arrange.

W.T.F?

Random on March 5, 2012 at 10:23 AM

I hope Ms. Malkin and her family succeed in getting answers.

dogsoldier on March 5, 2012 at 10:27 AM

You simply don’t know wha Marizella did or didn’t want disclosed, and Google sure as heck doesn’t.

Besides, there is an open police investigation. and Google has no way of knowing who may be a suspect.

Neither do you.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 10:13 AM

None of this matters unless they have good reasons to believe that she is still alive. They could tell Michelle that much.

Anyhow, I have avoided this ever since I saw the story one year ago and I have no more to say on it. When it first arose, both Michelle and Ed expressed the opinion that they were sure there would be quick closure on it. I was quite pessimistic.

My mother disappeared when I was 11 and though she contacted us within a few hours we had no idea whether we would see her again. She spent a few weeks in a psychiatric hospital and everything went back to normal but every two years or so the same thing happened and it was many years until she was properly diagnosed. My father had to deal with this for the rest of her life. When she was being treated for cancer, her other medicines were stopped. The cancer ward did not want a schizophrenic and the mental ward couldn’t deal with a cancer patient.

So I’m not very sympathetic to google’s lawyers.

gh on March 5, 2012 at 10:28 AM

Random on March 5, 2012 at 10:20 AM

We have fewer lawyers in Canada. But I know one. I’ll ask him.

gh on March 5, 2012 at 10:32 AM

gh, it’s undortunate what happened with uour mother. The state of psychiatric treatment in our society is appalling.

I like to think that something like “Empathic Therapy”, as named by pro-talk-therapy psychiatrist Peter Breggin and colleagues, will increasingly help others as time goes on.

I have more sympathy for Google’s lawyers because, at the end of the day, they’re protecting my privacy.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 10:33 AM

While I often don’t agree with Michelle’s strident tone, I respect her and I empathize with her family’s sense of loss and helplessness. This case exposes the underbelly of the nanny state: individuals get mistreated, shuffled away or even ground up — and concerned citizens are stripped of power to render effective aid.

Mark30339 on March 5, 2012 at 10:33 AM

I have more sympathy for Google’s lawyers because, at the end of the day, they’re protecting my privacy.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 10:33 AM

No they aren’t. You are google’s product, not their customer. I’ve switched to Yahoo recently. I never trusted google but while the information was being anonymized, I was not too worried. Read their new privacy policy. Facebook is worse so I don’t go there.

gh on March 5, 2012 at 10:40 AM

Can someone explain why the police are treating this as a “closed and shut case” if she is still missing? Don’t they have an affirmative obligation to keep investigating?

InterestedObserver on March 5, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Random on March 5, 2012 at 10:33 AM

Michelle mentioned “depression” in connection with Marizela. That was my mother’s original diagnosis.

My maternal grandmother died when my mother was 5. I did not learn all the details (from my uncle) until her funeral. My grandfather was quite successful but in 1932 he lost his job and had to make do until after the war (he was away from home for most of the 6 years — WW2 was longer for the commonwealth then for the US).

My mother still had a better life than 98% of the people on the planet. As do I. I’m not looking for sympathy.

The world would be a lot better off with fewer lawyers and less welfare.

gh on March 5, 2012 at 10:47 AM

I like to think that something like “Empathic Therapy”, as named by pro-talk-therapy psychiatrist Peter Breggin and colleagues, will increasingly help others as time goes on.

I have more sympathy for Google’s lawyers because, at the end of the day, they’re protecting my privacy.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 10:33 AM

My mother was bipolar. Lithium did a lot more for her then any “Empathic Therapy”. As time goes on we will learn more about disease and life will get better. Unless Obama gets a second term.

gh on March 5, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Don’t they have an affirmative obligation to keep investigating?

InterestedObserver on March 5, 2012 at 10:41 AM

They have limited resources. Michelle wants to use her own. I have no interest in guns but the police can’t be everywhere, which is the best reason for the second amendment to the US constitution. It’s the same problem. This is why Obama is so dangerous. He’s sure he can fix everything.

gh on March 5, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Can someone explain why the police are treating this as a “closed and shut case” if she is still missing?

They probably aren’t. That’s just Michelle’s impression.

What’s most likely happening is one of two things: they have some progress with the case and don’t want to jeopardize it by revealing their cards to family members; or they don’t have the slightest clue what has happened and they’re keeping it open hoping for new leads, but are prioritizing newer, fresher, easier to solve cases first, and working on Marizela’s case when possible or something new turns up.

Police don’t have infinite resources. In that Michelle is right.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 10:52 AM

gh on March 5, 2012 at 10:48 AM

My aunt was institutionalized for decades but in her later years returned to nursing and a good marriage with the help of medication. It wasn’t incident free but the strides forward in medication has been remarkable.

Cindy Munford on March 5, 2012 at 10:56 AM

My mother was bipolar. Lithium did a lot more for her then any “Empathic Therapy”.

Well, it probably did more to control her. As for help, that’s subjective, and impossible to say.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Well, it probably did more to control her. As for help, that’s subjective, and impossible to say.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 10:56 AM

The reason for taking Lithium for people who are bipolar, is that they do not get enough from their diet. People just have a prejudice because it’s a mental disorder. Look up what used to happen to children who have the same problem with copper. I can’t remember the name of the disease but it is completely curable with copper supplements, which was not discovered until the 1960s (roughly).

It’s the anti-psychotic medicines required with the Lithium to keep things in balance, which are the problem. My mother hated taking those and she still used to stop taking her medication every so often. At least the correct diagnosis meant that she was not routinely hospitalized. She spent a year in hospital when she was 16 and had shock treatment.

gh on March 5, 2012 at 11:01 AM

No they aren’t. You are google’s product, not their customer. I’ve switched to Yahoo recently. I never trusted google but while the information was being anonymized, I was not too worried. Read their new privacy policy. Facebook is worse so I don’t go there.

Conceded, but not relevant here.

One, I know that when I choose to use their services, so it’s priced in.

Two, I don’t mind all that much. If they serve to me more relevant ads for stuff I’m actually interested in, well that’s fine. In fact, the exact same thing happens to me here at Hot Air … I visit a site, pick up a cookie, and then the ads here for me are for CRM software instead of online roleplayer games. That’s fine with me personally.

But three — and this is a huge but — that is a far cry from giving information to someone I know and care about, in either a positive or a negative sense, that I don’t want them to have. That could be either embarrassing or harmful or both.

For example, let’s say person X wanted to perform suicide for reason Y that they can’t cope with. However, person Z is intimately acquainted with Y and would probably be greatly harmed by realizing X suicided at all, or at least that they did it predominantly because of Y. In that case, X may very much want Y to be kept secret, especially from Z.

That’s only one of many examples, but to me, a perhaps relevant one.

I value my privacy, and it’s for me to decide, not miscellaneous family members of mine, who I may or may not even like, for goodness sakes.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 11:01 AM

“the strides forward in medication has been remarkable.”

They are mostly toxic and horrific.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 11:02 AM

Random on March 5, 2012 at 11:01 AM

There is still no evidence that this applies in this case. There’s no reason to suspect family members of foul play either. She was living 2000 miles away.

However, we do know she was taking anti-depressant drugs when she disappeared.

This is the whole problem with lawyers and bureaucracy (both google’s and the police). It’s one size fits all.

gh on March 5, 2012 at 11:04 AM

They are mostly toxic and horrific.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 11:02 AM

It’s a choice between that or the disease. One that the physician is supposed to make in consultation with and in the best interests of the patient. That’s essentially what the Hippocratic oath is about.

gh on March 5, 2012 at 11:09 AM

I have to stop now. Thanks to all.

gh on March 5, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Are Psychiatric Medications Causing More Mental Illness?

A local science journalist and author, Robert Whitaker, says in his recent book, “Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Durgs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America,” that the long-term use of these popular psychiatric medications is actually causing more mental illness — not less.

Whitaker says his research which examines for the first time the long-term effects of psychiatric drugs, shows that these medications are often making diseases such as depression and schizophrenia worse, not better. He points to a major increase in the number of people getting federal disability benefits for mental illness who are taking these medications as a sign that the drugs are, in fact, contributing to chronic mental illness in America. For example, Whitaker points out that between 1987 and 2007, “the number of disabled mentally ill children rose thirty-five fold.”

The most commonly prescribed antidepressants, SSRIs, carry an FDA-mandated black box warning about them increasing suicide rates. In Canada they also warn about increasing harm to others, they are frequently associated with spree killings, etc., and that’s just one class of mediocre drugs that perform marginally better than placebo in the positive studies.

The negative studies are generally suppressed and not reported (metanalysis of reported and non-reported studies shows about a 2% better than placebo effect, with a whole host of negative side effects — follow-on studies demonstrate that those receiving antidepressants instead of placebo relapse into subsequent depressions at a much higher rate). And that’s just one class of drug.

Patients should be allowed to decide for themselves after informed consent, but informed consent is extremely hard to come by.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Random on March 5, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Speaking strictly on the experience of my aunt, therapy was only used to support my aunt when the occasional need for medication adjustment led to unfortunate incidents of “embarrassing” behavior.

Cindy Munford on March 5, 2012 at 11:13 AM

That’s essentially what the Hippocratic oath is about.

The Hippocratic Oath is supposed to start with, “First do no harm,” which psychiatry violates routinely. It shouldn’t even be a medical profession. We have no sound medical model for mental illnesses. They are psychological and social relationship illnesses, usually in response to trauma.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 11:15 AM

There is still no evidence that this applies in this case. There’s no reason to suspect family members of foul play either. She was living 2000 miles away.

However, we do know she was taking anti-depressant drugs when she disappeared.

Which do indeed increase suicidal thoughts, according to the FDA black box warning label now required on these drugs.

It’s discussed here, among other places:

Dr. Peter Breggin’s Testimony at Veterans Affairs Committee On “Antidepressant-Induced Suicide, Violence and Mania: Implications for the Military”

The entire video is rivetting, but the part about the black box suicidality label warning begins at 7:58 in. I suspect strongly SSRI and newer antidepressant prescriptions have contributed to the high suicide rate of America’s veterans this last decade.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 11:22 AM

We have no sound medical model for mental illnesses. They are psychological and social relationship illnesses, usually in response to trauma.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 11:15 AM

There are genetic markers for schizophrenia but they are very complicated (I worked in a small biotech startup a few years ago). Bi-polar disease comes under schizophrenia and this is confirmed by the same genetic markers but there are about 5 different forms of schizophrenia which cannot yet be distinguished genetically. The markers are on 8 different chromosomes.

Mental illnesses also imply a difficult philosophical problem with “consent”.

As for the profession of psychiatry, there are good and bad in every profession. My mother had bad doctors and good. None of them were trying to harm her. The good ones listened to my father’s opinions and took them into account. He was even correct, at least once.

gh on March 5, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Random on March 5, 2012 at 9:26 AM

Why do I have the feeling of pontification as I read this guy’s posts?

Could it be because he knows nothing more than the rest of us, but pretends/believes he knows more?

He doesn’t work for Google. He doesn’t work for Seattle PD.

I think it’s up to Google to figure out what they can do for Michelle, and up to Seattle PD to tell the family in general terms what they think may have happened.

Leaving the family totally without any data at all — unless there really is no data at all — is mean-spirited. Perhaps that’s another feeling I get out of Random’s comments too — which is why I bridle at them.

unclesmrgol on March 5, 2012 at 11:32 AM

There are genetic markers for schizophrenia but they are very complicated (I worked in a small biotech startup a few years ago).

This is nonsense. 85% of diagnosed schizophrenics have no first-order relative with the “disease”. It is a terror disturbance and defense against the terror.

In countries without coercive psychiatry and drugging, schizophrenics recover more often.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Since Google already complied with the investigation, perhaps any letter and additional prodding from Michelle’s supporters should be addressed to the investigators holding that information.

Why haven’t the closest members of Marisela’s desperate family been questioned about content already? It appears without family input to this data . . .the investigation is hampering itself by limiting the interpretation of those details.

heroyalwhyness on March 5, 2012 at 11:39 AM

This is nonsense. 85% of diagnosed schizophrenics have no first-order relative with the “disease”. It is a terror disturbance and defense against the terror.

It’s from the peer-reviewed literature. I am not a biologist though. Take it up with them. I’m quite skeptical about clinical trials and medical use of statistics and I am a mathematician.

If you have some expertise in this area beyond reading sh*t on the internet, please enlighten us.

gh on March 5, 2012 at 11:43 AM

If you think it was cruel of the left to celebrate Breitbart’s passing, you should see some of the vile messages liberals sent to Michelle Malkin when her cousin first disappeared last year.

I want to spit in the face of any leftist who lectures about “hate.”

Crusty on March 5, 2012 at 11:48 AM

That’s so sad, I just can’t imagine the anguish. My prayers are with the family.

scalleywag on March 5, 2012 at 1:03 PM

Random on March 5, 2012 at 11:22 AM

Random, given the fact that Michelle chose to release her email to Google as a means of bringing public pressure to bear on them, you might consider the fact that it’s more than a little crappy of you to camp out on this thread and repeatedly undermine her efforts.

On the off chance that anyone from Google actually reads this thread, you guys really need to get this done for this family. There are more important things in life than TOS.

Nom de Boom on March 5, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Random, given the fact that Michelle chose to release her email to Google as a means of bringing public pressure to bear on them, you might consider the fact that it’s more than a little crappy of you to camp out on this thread and repeatedly undermine her efforts.

It isn’t in any way accidental. I am defending Google because I think they are right to protect Marizela’s privacy and comply with the contract they formed with her to do so.

The police have the info they requested; that’s the important thing. In a push between someone’s privacy and a family member’s concern, I unapologetically come down on the side of the person’s privacy. Michelle already disclosed that Marizela was taking antidepressants and I have no reason to believe Marizela wished this disclosed. What else would she disclose if she had access to Marizela’s records? Did Marizela even want her to know?

Google ought to follow the law, including its contract.

If, however, Michelle can go before a neutral third party, a court, and get an order compelling disclosure, after convincing a judge about the benefits of her having the information so she can independently try to find Marizela … after Google and the Seattle PD have both had their say, in camera if necessary, then I’m OK with that.

I’m not OK with pressuring Google to break the law and its contractual privacy commitment to Marizela. I will continue to defend her privacy rights, which enhanced others privacy rights, and Googlr’s freedom to protect its users’ confidentiality while complying with lawful subpoenas.

I think it’s crappy to try to breach her privacy, but I haven’t made a point of ad hominem moral attacks here. There are competing interests and it isn’t the case that any side is necessarily acting unreasonably, nor with a bad motive.

Take it before a court: don’t politically pressure a company to unilaterally betray its contract with its users.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 2:16 PM

I’m somewhat sympathetic to Google in this case. How can it know, other than by court order, when to decide to provide such information. On the other hand, as pointed out by others, Google has no hesitation to sell this information to others to make money.

What might be helpful, in the future, is if Google included an optional provision in its accounts with individuals; a “check the box” provision that says something along the lines of “If a police investigation into my disappearance is initiated then at any time after one week from the filing of such a report, Google may release any information it has regarding me to my closest relative.”

Over50 on March 5, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Over50, that is a great idea. I was thinking of something along those lines, although perhaps there should be legislation requiring any web company to offer customers that option.

I would say, though, that companies can’t spend tons of time verifying relationship closeness. So it should instead be “Next of Kin/Designated Person” and then list the people by name and DOB or some similer identifier.

IF a person has not chosen this, then that’s it then. The family does not get the info, emotions notwithstanding.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 2:45 PM

In short, it’s not just the family’s feelings that matter. The user’s feelings matter, such as their feelings of privacy and safety when using the services. Knowing that their info will be given out upon request to family members does NOT enhance those! … in a large number of cases.

I categorically would not want it. My mom would want to know. I have the relationship with Google where my own online activity is concerned. My wishes should control.

Random on March 5, 2012 at 2:50 PM

I work for one of the larger telecom companies and I totally come down on the side of Google on this. We, like Google only release access to information that we posses, such as (location,call records, chat logs, usage history) etc thru subpoena. We gladly work with police and provide information that they need/request. What we dont do is deal with people who call us daily asking for exceptions to the rules be made because they think their husband/wife may be being unfaithfull, they havent been able to get in touch with their brother/sister, they are scammers looking on ways to collect a debt, etc.

People try all ways to gain access to the information we posses but our loyalty is to our customer. And unless our customer personally ask’s us to release information, we have a NO EXCEPTION policy on providing that info. If we release it to the police thru subpoena then it becomes a legal matter and you can take what ever legal recourse you have thru the court system to get the info you request but under no circumstances do we bend/break the rules.

Sadly, people ask us too more times then I could count. I hear tons of sad stories. But its not our job to pick and choose which ones are legit and which ones are not.

Asking for a subpoena helps keep the playing field even and helps protect us from risk of any sort of lawsuit.

Politricks on March 5, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Random on March 5, 2012 at 8:48 AM
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Random on March 5, 2012 at 2:50 PM

We get it. You are a totally reprobate radical leftist.

Now STFU and GTFA.
30 posts out of 90. 1/3

You are a f*%(ing ghoul.

tom daschle concerned on March 5, 2012 at 6:46 PM

Good catch, tom.

Bmore on March 5, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Young adults are in a weird spot in this country. On the one hand, we treat them as adults once they turn 18, on the other hand, not until they turn 21.

If your 18 year old is still in high school, which many of them are their senior year, parents still have to give permission for everything.

Unless you have written permission, your child’s college can’t release grades or behavior info to you, even if you pay the bill.

18 year olds can die for this country, own and fire weapons, but not drink a beer or rent a car.

Until we make up our minds on whether they’re children or not, parents have to make arrangements themselves in case of an emergency.

Common Sense on March 5, 2012 at 11:37 PM