Desktop detective work
One of the minor details lost in the coverage of the UK's Hutton inquiry into circumstances surrounding the death of weapons expert Dr David Kelly is the role that a search engine, almost certainly Google, played in the affair. After the BBC ran their story that Downing Street had exaggerated the Iraqi weapons threat, the government figured out who the BBC's source was. They then decided to play a coy game with the media in which the government would not directly name the leaker, but did provide some background information on him and said that would confirm educated guesses offered to them. It didn't take Financial Times political editor James Blitz long to come up with the correct guess, as he explained to the Inquiry:
[the search keywords]
"Ministry", "defence", "consultant", "chemical" and "weapons".
Q. And who popped up on the search?
A. ...I looked at the name of the individual and I took the view that this was not somebody who matched the description that had been given out at the 3.45 briefing.
A. [a colleague] continued his research and selected from the list the reference to www.Sussex.ac.uk which produced a document.
Q. Was Dr Kelly's name on that document?
A. It was on that document, yes.
Q. Had you ever heard of Dr Kelly before that?
A. No, I had not.
Doing the search now, Kelly's name comes up in the 3rd result.