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How The FBI Used Geek Squad To Increase Secret Public Surveillance (ocweekly.com) 164

In 2011 a gynecology doctor took his computer for repairs at Best Buy's Geek Squad. But the repair technician was a paid FBI informant -- one of several working at Geek Squad -- and the doctor was ultimately charged with possessing child pornography, according to OC Weekly. An anonymous reader quotes their new report: Recently unsealed records reveal a much more extensive secret relationship than previously known between the FBI and Best Buy's Geek Squad, including evidence the agency trained company technicians on law-enforcement operational tactics, shared lists of targeted citizens and, to covertly increase surveillance of the public, encouraged searches of computers even when unrelated to a customer's request for repairs. Assistant United States Attorney M. Anthony Brown last year labeled allegations of a hidden partnership as "wild speculation." But more than a dozen summaries of FBI memoranda filed inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse this month in USA v. Mark Rettenmaier contradict the official line...

Other records show how [Geek Squad supervisor Justin] Meade's job gave him "excellent and frequent" access for "several years" to computers belonging to unwitting Best Buy customers, though agents considered him "underutilized" and wanted him "tasked" to search devices "on a more consistent basis"... evidence demonstrates company employees routinely snooped for the agency, contemplated "writing a software program" specifically to aid the FBI in rifling through its customers' computers without probable cause for any crime that had been committed, and were "under the direction and control of the FBI."
The doctor's lawyer argues Best Buy became an unofficial wing of the FBI by offering $500 for every time they found evidence leading to criminal charges.
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How The FBI Used Geek Squad To Increase Secret Public Surveillance

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    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by sumdumass ( 711423 )

      If you have nothing to hide, why should it matter either way?

      Actually, it will likely not impact them at all because anyone who gives a fuck and knows about this likely wouldn't be taking their computers to the geek squad in the first place.

      More interesting though might be a labor claim that Best Buy might have against these employees if they pocketed the cash and where working on the clock while doing the FBI's bidding. I don't know how it would be different than a company claiming ownership of a program y

      • by Pseudonym ( 62607 ) on Sunday March 12, 2017 @05:16AM (#54021701)

        If you have nothing to hide, why should it matter either way?

        "If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him." - Cardinal Richelieu (supposedly)

        More to the point, if you're taking your machine to be fixed because it was compromised, doesn't that make it just ever so slightly more likely that the child porn on it wasn't your doing?

        • I'm actually a little surprised that ransomware hasn't started dumping illegal images in victim's hard drives, just to discourage them from taking the machine to be fixed.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            How do you know that it hasn't?

          • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Sunday March 12, 2017 @09:14AM (#54022291)

            I'm actually a little surprised that ransomware hasn't started dumping illegal images in victim's hard drives, just to discourage them from taking the machine to be fixed.

            In addition, when there is money to be made and you've been told X is a target an unscrupulous person might "find" the desired evidence to collect a reward.

          • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Sunday March 12, 2017 @11:39AM (#54022891) Homepage

            I'm actually a little surprised that ransomware hasn't started dumping illegal images in victim's hard drives, just to discourage them from taking the machine to be fixed.

            Why? The computer tech will tell them that the machine can't be "fixed", all the important data is encrypted. And I would think most users understand that if you do pay the ransom the data has to be rescued and the computer fixed so it doesn't happen again which many people will need help to. The ransomware only wins if you pay the ransom, if it's threatening to destroy your life many people will take a hammer to it and put it in the nearest dumpster, regardless of the lost data. And if you do pay the ransom but can't take your machine to the shop because you fear the kiddie porn is still there you'll need a new machine to transfer the data to instead of a data backup / wipe / reinstall / data restore, which will discourage many to no benefit for the ransomware author.

            Let's try a delta analysis, forget all those who'd always pay or never pay anyway. The only situation where the ransomware maker is better off is if you wouldn't pay the ransom if you could take it to the shop for a wipe/reinstall, which is the only thing they could do - but you would pay the ransom to rescue the data yourself. But if you're capable of doing that, why would you take it to the shop in the first place? It means you're more than capable of doing a wipe/reinstall yourself. So my business analysis is that this would bring in exactly zero new business and cause them to lose a lot of the business they have. They could of course do it to be bigger asshats and cause people to lose more data, money or end up in jail but it wouldn't make any business sense at all.

            • by sjames ( 1099 )

              Because some ransomware has been cracked so that you can recover the data without paying. They might want to discourage further attempts.

              • by Kjella ( 173770 )

                Because some ransomware has been cracked so that you can recover the data without paying. They might want to discourage further attempts.

                It hardly matters, all ransomware use a countdown so in 24-96 hours everyone who can't afford to lose their data have paid. It could be a "lucky save" for people who refused to pay and have kept a copy of the encrypted files, but it doesn't matter one bit to the blackmailers. Besides that was only because some of the early ransomware was flawed, if the encryption key has been transferred off your computer and the local copy properly cleared there's nothing to find. Same goes for the key server, now the keys

            • Have 2 computers. One for browsing and email. and one to keep important data on that is not connected to the web.
          • by lhowaf ( 3348065 )
            I've seen scareware do that with tiny thumbnails of CP images.
          • by Ihlosi ( 895663 )
            I'm actually a little surprised that ransomware hasn't started dumping illegal images in victim's hard drives, just to discourage them from taking the machine to be fixed.

            It has happened. However, the ransomware criminals usually don't resort to this. Extorting money from clueless users gets you one kind of attention; distributing illegal images in the process gets you much, much more attention from law enforcement.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The problem with "Innocent people have nothing to hide" is that it isn't you who will determine what's "innocent".

        • If you have nothing to hide, why should it matter either way?

          "If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him." - Cardinal Richelieu (supposedly)

          Ray Donovan's (Reagan's Secretary of Labor) quote "Where do I go to get my reputation back?" seems appropriate as well.

        • You seem to be implying that Windows needs outside help to mess itself up.

          Just sit back for a moment, relax, imbibe you favorite adult beverage and maybe reconsider that concept.

          • You seem to be implying that Windows needs outside help to mess itself up.

            Windows can do many things by itself, but not download child pornography.

            Yet.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          More to the point, if you're taking your machine to be fixed because it was compromised, doesn't that make it just ever so slightly more likely that the child porn on it wasn't your doing?

          CP is a possession crime in the US. It's existence on your harddrive is enough for conviction regardless as to how it got there.

          All the more reason why the GP's "If you've got nothing to hide..." statement is bullshit. You don't have to intentionally commit a crime, or even be aware of a crime commited, to be arrested and

        • If you have nothing to hide, why should it matter either way?

          "If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him." - Cardinal Richelieu (supposedly)

          More to the point, if you're taking your machine to be fixed because it was compromised, doesn't that make it just ever so slightly more likely that the child porn on it wasn't your doing?

          And if they get $500 for every instance of kiddie porn they claim to find, that sounds like an incentive to me.

      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Sunday March 12, 2017 @05:25AM (#54021723)

        If you have nothing to hide, why should it matter either way?

        I see you didn't read the summary. They are paying people $500 to plant child porn on your computer.

        • Not only did I read the summery, I read the article. But thanks for not reading the parent post who asked if this would hurt or help Geek Squad's business.

          The answer to this as I stated is that a lot of people do not think they have anything to worry about because "if you have nothing to hide" and they will be oblivious about this article and its implications when they take their computers into best buy to get them fixed..The people in the know, are people who already would go somewhere else or do it themse

        • by Anonymous Coward

          > They are paying people $500 to plant child porn on your computer.

          Only to find it, they'd arrest anyone they knew of who planted it. That said, the reward gives a troubling incentive for dishonesty. I'd be happier if it were just a tip line for anyone who stumbled across it.

          That said, if you expected any privacy at those places, from what I've heard, you're crazy. Even without the FBI, enough of them are more than happy to paw through your stuff.

      • An honestly-chosen username - how refreshing.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Straight into your face, NSA, CIA, FBI, TLA!

        If you have nothing to hide, why do you hate whistleblowers?

      • If you have nothing to hide, why should it matter either way?

        There is so much wrong with this statement. The easiest way I use to explain to friends and family about the importance of privacy is the fact that every day, all of us does a totally legal act, which you wouldn't like broadcast to anyone. When someone publishes a video of you taking a dump, or having sex, please revisit your quote.

      • by orlanz ( 882574 ) on Sunday March 12, 2017 @08:39AM (#54022187)

        I have shit to hide. Legal or illegal that is NOT any of your's or anyone else's concern.

        You want to check, get probably cause, a warrant, and have judicial oversight. Just because they are lazy doesn't give them the right to invade innocent people's privacy.

      • In my case no kiddie porn but some rather hot information on my system. It will NEVER see Geek Squad. I've been around computers long enough to encrypt and to know how to image drives etc.

        And I've always distrusted Geek Squad - I've seen their handiwork and made a tidy sum cleaning up their messes.
      • by Zemran ( 3101 )
        If you have nothing to hide, why should it matter either way? Note that the article is about someone that had nothing to hide and nothing was found but he has gone through a long protracted court case with no end in sight....
        • Your government needs the flimsiest excuse to turn you into an indentured servant of the state in a cosy federal prison. Once there you'll make them money for free and you get to live like a battery hen in a steel cage getting gang raped and crying yourself to sleep every night.

          If they need more slaves they can just tweak the "illegal dial" so more people fall into the net. With all the recording and data collection going on they can do it retroactively - just throw all the data through the revised law-o-ma

        • I don't think I was clear, people actually think that if you have nothing to hide, there is nothing to worry about. In response to the parent, it won't bring the Geek Squad more or less business because anyone in the know will already be in a habit of avoiding them in the first place (whether they have something to hide or not). Those who don't will not care because they "have nothing to hide" and don't believe evidence can or would be planted onto a computer for a $500 bounty so some FBI agents can look li

      • More interesting though might be a labor claim that Best Buy might have against these employees

        I read about this a couple of months ago but in the context of employees suing Best Buy because they were suffering PTSD due to the nature of the images they were being compelled to view on their customers' computers and their medical plan didn't cover it.

      • Privacy is really about informed consent. If you decide to disclose everything about yourself, freely it is certainly your right to do so. The danger is assuming everyone else thinks the same as you. Unless they explicitly consent, their privacy has been violated.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by grcumb ( 781340 )

        If you have nothing to hide, why should it matter either way?

        Because the 4th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States explicitly makes this kind of fishing expedition illegal for Federal agencies, and the FBI is arguably breaking the very laws it's sworn to uphold and enforce.

        But... aside from deliberate and willful lawlessness which circumvents legal protections the Founders saw fit to write into the foundational law of country... yeah, what's the problem?

        • aside from deliberate and willful lawlessness which circumvents legal protections the Founders saw fit to write into the foundational law of [the] country

          I agree, but skip the appeal to authority. It doesn't matter whether the prohibition is in the Bill of Rights or we added it to the Constitution last Tuesday; whether it was proposed by James Madison or Madison McKinley or a group of undergrads at U Wisconsin, Madison; whether it's a concise articulation of a right guaranteeing freedom from unreasonable search and seizure or just says "yo, dudes, the Feds are totally forbidden from encouraging commercial computer-repair services to snoop in your stuff". Unc

      • If you have nothing to hide, why should it matter either way?

        Because customers who delivered their computers to Best Buy in good faith, might be visited by the FBI for material that only looked like evidence of wrongdoing but was in fact nothing of the kind. Also, $500 for each conviction might be enough of an incentive to manufacture evidence and place it on the computer - and even some Geek Squad members probably know enough to do so and successfully cover their tracks. When law enforcement pays outsiders for evidence, such evidence is automatically tainted as far

    • by burni2 ( 1643061 ) on Sunday March 12, 2017 @05:21AM (#54021719)

      Question is: How do you handle the data on a customers computer?

      Here is how I handle it:

      When I need to reinstall a computer:

      1.) Before I do the installation or data gathering I generate a 1:1 hard drive image and I store that on an encrypted drive.
      (checksumming of origin and copy included)

      This is why I take the computers mostly to my lab to return with a fully prepared, clean and backed up computer.

      2.) The backup is then bzip2-ed for space saving.

      3.) Then the target hard drive is zero-ed out.

      4.) Prior to this backup I gathered the data that needs saving - together with the customer.

      5.) Only operate on a need to know basis, before I open a folder I ask the customer, and I only ask and do when it is really neccessary.

      6.) I do only copy "blindly" and let the customer know beforehand what I'm going to do next and why - on a non-technical level.

      7.) The encypted backup is afterwards stored on a lended hard drive I give over to the customer and I get that drive back after two months and tell the customer - when he remembers anything that needs to be looked up, to call me, and I let them have the drive for longer time when they aren't sure.

      The first thing I do when getting a drive back - sure zero-ing it out.

      I have a sufficient collection of smaller and larger checked hard drives that my former customers donate to me for deletion and for keeping.

      Prior to the hard drive solution I longterm stored the data on LTO-5 tapes and gave these to the customer - I got a bunch cheap for 3-5 EUR per 1.5Tbyte tape - but the prices grew to much.

      Yes, I have nice customers and I let them exactly know what I do with this donated drives. The compression from 2. comes in handy there.

      8.) The encryption passphrase is later changed to be known to the customer only or directly when I do "on-site" work.
      - yes I do train my customers to remember the phrase and I let them test it several times.

      Why:
      - I do only know what I need to know (when I don't know I'm not required to act - like I would need to do, if get to know about the presence of anything criminal on the computer)

      - I have generated a backup and can revert data to that state
      but at the earliest possible point in time I surrender that data and the knowledge about the encryption key to the customer

      - the amount of unencrypted or "only-deleted" data is minimized, by zero-ing out the hard drive prior to reuse or even disposal

      - the customer is aware and in control of all my actions because I'm laying them out transparently before I act

      - My customers are satisfied and I get recommended to their family members and friends - and yes its still a hobby I do not do advertisement

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        That is what personal integrity and discretion looks like. Geek Squad very likely does not even understand these concepts and is happy to sell out their customers. Might have something to do with why they are not doing so well...

        And yes, defending civil liberties often means defending scumbags, because the (usually utterly despicable and repulsive) "authorities" try to abrade these liberties first with test-cases of that nature. Later, if not stopped, they will universally do it to everybody.

  • by Futurepower(R) ( 558542 ) <MJennings.USA@NOT_any_of_THISgmail.com> on Sunday March 12, 2017 @04:54AM (#54021641) Homepage
    Top 976 Complaints and Reviews about Geek Squad [consumeraffairs.com] Quote: "I feel that they're a scam. They get people to buy their support and anytime they help it costs more money."

    9 Confessions Of A Former Geek Squad Geek [consumerist.com] Quote: "A high percentage of Geek Squad employees lack basic troubleshooting skills such as correctly identifying malfunctioning components."

    Geek Squad Complaints and Reviews [pissedconsumer.com] Quote: "$430 Average loss"

    Yelp Reviews for Geek Squad in San Francisco [yelp.com] Quote: "Dealing with Geek Squad has been an absolute nightmare!! And judging by the hundreds of other reviews here, im guessing most of you feel the same way."

    Geek Squad Consumer Reviews [mythreecents.com] Quote: ""Cheat Squad," Not Geek Squad"
    • Must be illegal (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 12, 2017 @06:50AM (#54021903)

      This crap has to be illegal.

      It's like giving a plumber access to your house to fix a plumbing problem, but then he also goes through the underwear drawer in your little girls bedroom as well as through all of your mail on your desk etc etc. I cannot believe that would be considered legal and I can't believe that what Best Buy is doing should be either..

      • Re:Must be illegal (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Ihlosi ( 895663 ) on Sunday March 12, 2017 @08:48AM (#54022213)
        It's like giving a plumber access to your house to fix a plumbing problem, but then he also goes through the underwear drawer in your little girls bedroom as well as through all of your mail on your desk etc etc

        That would be harmless! Keeping with the plumber analogy, it's like the plumber planting drugs in your toilet tank and calling the cops on you.

      • Employees and agents of the US federal government are bound by the constitution of the USA, and it requires search warrants.
  • Thought crime (Score:5, Insightful)

    by quenda ( 644621 ) on Sunday March 12, 2017 @05:06AM (#54021669)

    I find these prosecutions rather disturbing, as they amount to victimless thought crime.
    Yes, there is a child victim, and the story is terrible, but there is no causal connection, and no need to demonstrate one. The child is the victim of a very different crime, by a different person, possibly long ago. In other cases, there may not even be a single child who has suffered, ever. And that makes no difference to the law.
          Whats the point of treating it as a criminal problem? It makes about as much sens as the war on drugs.
    What does all this achieve? Is there the slightest bit of evidence that our children are any safer for all these destroyed lives from the War on Porn ?

    And if it helps you consider the question more objectively, the images themselves were not particularly shocking. Nothing compared to the sex and violence on an average night's TV.

    Agent Tracey Riley admitted to U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney the so-called "Jenny" image found by a Best Buy Geek Squad technician, who doubled as a paid agency informant, "wasn't child pornography by itself."
    Riley tried to recover by explaining that the picture, which contains no sex or genital angles, originated from a "well-known" child-pornography video.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "What does all this achieve?"

      It makes viewing child pron more exciting.

    • What does all this achieve?

      It helps keep the Gulag full, and makes it easy to frame anyone at any time.

    • Re:Thought crime (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Sunday March 12, 2017 @06:07AM (#54021799)

      I find it disturbing that I have to explain this but here goes.

      I find these prosecutions rather disturbing, as they amount to victimless thought crime.
      Yes, there is a child victim, and the story is terrible, but there is no causal connection,

      You are correct in that there is no causal connection however what you have failed to realize is that this is specifically because possessing it is a crime. Let's say you change the laws and make possessing it a non-criminal offense. The first thing that will happen is that people will monetize it (selling/subscriptions/advertising/etc) and when there is a demand for additional/higher quality content, it will be purchased from the abusers.

      Behavior is all about feedback loops and keeping it illegal prevents there from being an incentive to abuse children.

      • Let's say you change the laws and make possessing it a non-criminal offense. The first thing that will happen is that people will monetize it (selling/subscriptions/advertising/etc) and when there is a demand for additional/higher quality content, it will be purchased from the abusers.

        They could start by only criminalizing commerce in such pictures. This would remove the incentive to plant it, or to simply mislabel innocent pictures as something nasty (who's gonna contradict law enforcement, when mere viewing of such pictures is a crime?)

        • If nothing else, victims have a right to privacy. The subjects of child porn are not consenting to distribution of images/videos of their abuse. If you were raped, would you think it should be legal for the internet to share and proliferate the video of your rape for the personal pleasure of millions? Or might you think there should be a law against sharing that video?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Your brain seems to work completely backwards to reality.

        Making possession no longer a crime means that A. you can't be subjected to a frame job by law enforcement or an angry ex (yes, this happens, and its horrifying that they don't all get caught when they do this), and B. when people come across it accidentally, or when pedos see videos of children being harmed terribly (torture and snuff films), they will be free to take them to the police. A case a while back had someone turn in some kiddie porn they c

      • by guises ( 2423402 )
        So you're saying that porn creates perverts. This is, at best, only part of the reason why child pornography is banned. I would question whether it was reasoned through even as carefully as you have done here - most laws like this one are grounded in moral outrage, rather than any consideration of the societal impact of the crime in question or how these laws may shape behavior. Your explanation sounds more like an excuse than a motivator: "Pedophilia? Ew. I have enough trouble imagining my daughter with so
        • You make an interesting argument, but I think back to a study done on the effects of legalizing prostitution on sex trafficking. The study found that legalizing prostitution, while it may have made things better for the women working legally, caused an increase in demand for prostitutes. This caused an increase in sex trafficking.
          (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305750X12001453)

          People have desires they want to act on. Perverts don't have to be created, they already exist (and perh
          • I'm an American, I've seen how little reason there is and how public discourse has eroded into total pointlessness beginning with the 80, maybe before that...

            The psychological definitions which have been around for decades are not even remotely used in the law. The legal definitions are ignorant at best, every man is a pedophile according to US law. Since human sexuality is based upon fertility not age, as soon as a child passes puberty nature indicates adulthood has arrived; this clashes with cultural bel

          • by quenda ( 644621 )

            I think back to a study done on the effects of legalizing prostitution on sex trafficking.

            A very interesting topic in itself, but so different from the above. Those sort of studies are usually worthless, as they are structured in a way that will always find correlations, but can never succeed in controlling for related factors.

            It sounds like you are suggesting that decriminalising CP possession will increase consumption, and therefore somehow increase child abuse.

            There is a similar old argument against mainstream pornography, but the evidence against it is strong. Porn does not cause rape. [nih.gov]

          • This entire debate is rife with just-so soup of the day [wikipedia.org].

            You could argue that these were all people already well aware and into BDSM, and the movie just raised a desire in them. I seriously doubt that, however.

            Doh! We're a hundred miles down the road into The One True Cause and most people can't even distinguish rate from order.

            Time is short. Right?

            List of shit I'd like to poke into.
            * item
            * another item
            * many more items

            Some item from laundry list comes up in everyday circumstance. That particular item bec

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Wait a second. If the following is true:

        Agent Tracey Riley admitted to U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney the so-called "Jenny" image found by a Best Buy Geek Squad technician, who doubled as a paid agency informant, "wasn't child pornography by itself."
        Riley tried to recover by explaining that the picture, which contains no sex or genital angles, originated from a "well-known" child-pornography video.

        Is it possible that the image in question was part of an advertisement that was served to the computer while the gynecologist was consuming other (possible legal porn) content? Keep in mind that it would be a still image, which does not magically separate itself from a video.

        Also, if the video was "well known", is it possible that the advertisement was posted by the government as a way to entrap or entice those who would click on the image and follow the ad? Simila

      • by Zemran ( 3101 )
        Please read the article. No child porn was found yet they have not dropped the case.
  • by burni2 ( 1643061 ) on Sunday March 12, 2017 @05:26AM (#54021727)

    Because those geek-squad FBI moles were trained by the FBI and could be considered a direct part of the operation.

    If so the evidence could be obtained illegally.

    And this is different than narcotic informats - except the geek-squad-moles are considered criminals ;)

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      A training program is generally not enough, teaching say school staff to recognize signs of say child abuse or drug use doesn't make them agents. I don't think a general rewards program does either. These two though seem dubious:

      shared lists of targeted citizens and (...) encouraged searches of computers even when unrelated to a customer's request for repairs

      There's a long deliberation here [alcoda.org], but I think instigating a search of particular targets and encouraging activity that doesn't have any other function than to help the police crosses the line. A private citizen might "snoop" but if the police tell you on who and where to snoop it's

      • by Zxern ( 766543 )

        Also the fact that they pay when evidence is provided changes things greatly. Teachers aren't paid when they report signs of abuse, and those reports are not the sole evidence in abuse cases either.

  • Repeat Story? (Score:4, Informative)

    by sheramil ( 921315 ) on Sunday March 12, 2017 @06:15AM (#54021823)
    Didn't this story run a few months ago? Has it happened again? Has anything changed, or is EditorDavid new?
  • And this is why I'm so glad life is finite. I'm ready to die now
  • by GrandCow ( 229565 ) on Sunday March 12, 2017 @07:10AM (#54021945)

    I'm sorry, but after all the tech support jobs I've been at, someone is going to search for *.jpg/gif/png/whatever.

    I never have myself, but at every job I've been at, a bored nerd is going to do a random search for pics/porn. It takes 30 seconds when they are spending hours on a computer.

    These days, I work for a company that has a long disclosure that people ignore while I read it to them, but the big thing is "if you have shit you don't want us seeing, make a second account with a password that we can use to fix your shit."

    Again, I have never done it myself, but I have seen so many colleagues do it that I can only assume it's common over all areas.

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )
      My daughter worked Tech Support when she was in college. They were told that if they happened to find child porn they were supposed to report it, although they weren't tasked with actively searching for it. The reason being that if you are aware of a crime, you are supposed to report it; otherwise you risk being guilty of conspiracy.
      • My daughter worked Tech Support when she was in college. They were told that if they happened to find child porn they were supposed to report it, although they weren't tasked with actively searching for it. The reason being that if you are aware of a crime, you are supposed to report it; otherwise you risk being guilty of conspiracy.

        Whoever told her that was absolutely correct. If you find child porn (as a technician or in any other way) you need to report to avoid becoming a criminal yourself.

        On the other hand, you have no right as a technician to search someone's computer, whether they are an innocent citizen, or a pedophile. Assume you signed a contract that you won't search a computer, with a $10,000 penalty if you do. And you search it and find child porn. Now you are in a right mess, because the only legal thing you can do is

        • If you find child porn (as a technician or in any other way) you need to report to avoid becoming a criminal yourself.

          Citation, please.

          There are certainly positions which carry mandatory-reporting responsibility for particular crimes, but this is the first I've heard of this particular one. Can you provide the relevant law or precedent?

          • And following up on my own comment, I'm curious how the law or courts determine how a non-expert is required to evaluate an image or other artifact as "child porn". What's the legal test? Reasonable person? What degree of knowledge is the non-expert required to have about child-pornography statutes and their definitions of illegal material? Is the observer supposed to deduce the ages of subjects in the media, and how accurate are those evaluations supposed to be? What kinds of depicted acts are illegal? Doe

    • A second account won't help one bit as you need to be an admin to install or remove programs and execute repairs and all admins have access to everything.

      More importantly, if you have direct access to a system, nothing is safe from anyone capable of using Google.
  • Anyone remember the show "Chuck"? I guess it was closer to the truth than anyone expected.
  • If only we had some protection against this sort of oppressive Police State intrusion... oh, like, say, the 4th, 5th & 14th amendments to the Constitution of the United States.

    Wake up and smell the freedom, please, We the People. Please?

  • What would be an interesting investigation would be to install surveillance software onto a computer and bring it in to these repair places such as Best Buy. The reason for bringing it in for repair can be various intentional problems. I would love to see what some of these techs do once they are working on the computer. Interesting observations would be to see if they unnecessarily access files and folders unrelated to the issue. Perhaps create a honeypot folder with apparent home made video or photographi
  • Not exactly, but close enough, I'd call it digital rendition. Paying somebody else to collect evidence in a way you can't should be a crime.

  • Reward the sort of Geek Squad technician who would work as 'an informant for the FBI' with $500 worth of Cheetos. That would attract a better class of Geek Squad informant. The police cadet wannabe types presently being attracted are obsessed with keeping the greasy orange crumbs off their hands, and as junior martinets can only provide tainted evidence.

  • What if they actually planted the evidence?!

    I am all for catching and stopping child porn.
    However, I am also all for catching and stopping illegal invasions of constitutional rights! GET A WARRANT FIRST!!!

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