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Thread: Best Buy searches your computer and reports it to the FBI?

  1. #41
    Conservatively Liberal NiteGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Dad View Post
    Is Texas in the USA? Cocaine is against federal law. Robbing a bank is against federal law. Both examples that I gave you are federal crimes. There is a federal statute saying that you have to report a crime if you know about it. I quoted it earlier.
    Oh, for crying out loud! Let's stick to an analogy that fits the story as was presented to us, shall we?

    You're a plumber called by a customer to fix the drip in their kitchen faucet. No crime has been discovered as of yet.

    But now the FBI tells you to look at all the plumbing fixtures in the house, to see if you can detect criminal activity in the home. You find the brick of cocaine in one of their toilet tanks, and when you are finished, you call your FBI "handler" (no other word for it, at this point), tell them what you have discovered, and watch your customer get hauled away an hour or so later.

    If you are doing this at the request, behest or demand of the FBI, you are a de-facto agent of the government. Anything you saw or removed and handed over to the FBI is fruit of the poisonous tree (because, you know, no warrant) and any such evidence will be thrown out before you get to trial.
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  2. #42
    Veteran Member Southern Dad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NiteGuy View Post
    Oh, for crying out loud! Let's stick to an analogy that fits the story as was presented to us, shall we?

    You're a plumber called by a customer to fix the drip in their kitchen faucet. No crime has been discovered as of yet.

    But now the FBI tells you to look at all the plumbing fixtures in the house, to see if you can detect criminal activity in the home. You find the brick of cocaine in one of their toilet tanks, and when you are finished, you call your FBI "handler" (no other word for it, at this point), tell them what you have discovered, and watch your customer get hauled away an hour or so later.

    If you are doing this at the request, behest or demand of the FBI, you are a de-facto agent of the government. Anything you saw or removed and handed over to the FBI is fruit of the poisonous tree (because, you know, no warrant) and any such evidence will be thrown out before you get to trial.
    You missed the whole point of the comparison. Went right over your head. It is a very relevant comparison. I said that if you call a plumber to come fix your toilet and he sees a block of cocaine in the tank, he should report that. On the other hand if you call the plumber to come fix your toilet and he finds your drug stash in your underwear drawer, he had no reason to see that and shouldn't have been looking there. The same way I feel about Geek Squad. If they are working on your computer and discover child pornography, top secret government files, or something else illegal in the course of doing that work then they should report it. What they should not do is start doing random searches inside your hard drive trying to find dubious material. Hopefully, that makes sense to you.

    I would hope that no technician would keep quiet if he or she found, in the course of working on the computer, plans to bomb somewhere, child pornography, or whatever heinous crimes could be hidden within.

    You think that it is fruit of a poisonous tree but the owner of the computer gives Best Buy permission to go into that computer.

  3. #43
    ~Standing My Ground~ Sassy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sassy View Post
    I found it. you misinterpreted it:

    First enacted into U.S. law in 1789, misprision of a felony in the federal system is a felony punishable by a fine and up to three years in prison. The common-law rule criminalized simply knowing about a felony and not notifying the authorities. But contemporary federal law also requires that the defendant take some affirmative act to conceal the felony. The crime has four elements:

    a completed felony
    the defendant knowing about the felony’s commission
    the defendant failing to notify a proper law enforcement authority, and
    the defendant taking some affirmative step to conceal the felony.
    (18 U.S.C. §4.)

    Typical acts of concealment include making false statements, hiding evidence, and harboring the felon. Whether someone’s actions amount to concealment is for the jury to decide.

    Suppose Marty knows his neighbor, Biff, is growing marijuana. Marty wouldn’t be guilty of federal misprision simply for remaining silent. But if he lies to the police about Biff’s growing, he’s committed the crime.
    You forgot to be a grown-up, SD and admit you were wrong about this. tsk tsk.

  4. #44
    Veteran Member Southern Dad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sassy View Post
    You forgot to be a grown-up, SD and admit you were wrong about this. tsk tsk.
    Am I required to do that because you post something? There are times that I am wrong. It happens. Now if you want to rub my nose in it, go ahead but soon I'll make the decision to just not engage with you. What exactly do you want my acknowledgement to say?

    Do you want me to say that in Sassy's world if you happened to visit Ariel Castro's house and he's got three women chained up, you don't have to report anything. Just ignore it. If you see child pornography on a computer being worked on at Best Buy it's all good? And of course, if you see a brick of cocaine in the toilet tank don't worry about it.

    Protect the criminals!

  5. #45
    Veteran Member cpicturetaker12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blueneck View Post
    Interesting take.

    I guess my question would be are the "geeks" looking for criminal evidence or just required to report it if they happen upon it. Also, is the customer informed beforehand that this will happen?
    I'm with you. (I have a very strong libertarian streak below this 'liberal' facade).

  6. #46
    You just made the list! Macduff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Dad View Post
    Yes. If you have knowledge of a felony and conceal it, it is misprision of felony. Not all states have this in their state law but it is in federal law. Cocaine is against federal law, as well as state, you could be in trouble. In many states this is a misdemeanor. Now, as I have said I do not support the Best Buy Geek Squad technician searching the hard drive for illegal material but if he or she should discover a folder of child pornography when working on virus removal, I believe they have an obligation to report it. What if they came across a folder full of Top Secret government material? They didn't go looking for it, it just happened to be clearly labeled or a file had a virus in it and they discovered it? Wouldn't you want it reported?

    I don't believe that a warrant should be required for this because the computer's owner has given permission for the technician to go into the computer. That would be like getting invited into a Ariel Castro's home and discovering three women chained up. Would you have an obligation to report it?
    The Constitution is still a thing and you don't ever have to talk to law enforcement.
    As much as police love to make people think otherwise, laws like this and obstruction of justice require someone to actively conceal a crime rather than fail to report it. You have to do something like destroy evidence or lie to police.
    Last edited by Macduff; 15th March 2017 at 08:15 PM.
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  7. #47
    ~Standing My Ground~ Sassy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Dad View Post
    Am I required to do that because you post something? There are times that I am wrong. It happens. Now if you want to rub my nose in it, go ahead but soon I'll make the decision to just not engage with you. What exactly do you want my acknowledgement to say?

    Do you want me to say that in Sassy's world if you happened to visit Ariel Castro's house and he's got three women chained up, you don't have to report anything. Just ignore it. If you see child pornography on a computer being worked on at Best Buy it's all good? And of course, if you see a brick of cocaine in the toilet tank don't worry about it.

    Protect the criminals!
    The point is that you said it's the law to report a brick of cocaine and it isn't. And your Ariel Castro rant is not an analogy to a brick of cocaine and you are back to your false 'protecting the criminals thing's le sigh

  8. #48
    ~Standing My Ground~ Sassy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Macduff View Post
    The Constitution is still a thing and you don't ever have to talk to law enforcement.
    As much as police love to make people think otherwise, laws like this and obstruction of justice require someone to actively conceal a crime rather than fail to report it. You have to do something like destroy evidence or lie to police.

    That law requires someone to actively conceal evidence of
    He wants us to live in a true Police State. Would I report Ariel Castro? Of course. Do I support the FBI or whoever to ask plumbers who come to fix kitchen sinks to go into the bathroom and look for bricks of cocaine? no.

    Or back to the topic: recruiting Best Buy employees to go further into computers than they need to/are supposed to to look for crimes.

  9. #49
    Conservatively Liberal NiteGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Dad View Post
    You missed the whole point of the comparison. Went right over your head. It is a very relevant comparison. I said that if you call a plumber to come fix your toilet and he sees a block of cocaine in the tank, he should report that. On the other hand if you call the plumber to come fix your toilet and he finds your drug stash in your underwear drawer, he had no reason to see that and shouldn't have been looking there.
    And you think I'M the one who missed the point of your analogy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Dad
    The same way I feel about Geek Squad. If they are working on your computer and discover child pornography, top secret government files, or something else illegal in the course of doing that work then they should report it. What they should not do is start doing random searches inside your hard drive trying to find dubious material. Hopefully, that makes sense to you.
    Of course it makes sense to me. After all, I own and run two computer shops.

    The point is, an anti-virus scan can be performed without the need to deep search every folder on the hard drive. In fact, a Geek Squad tech shouldn't have to open a customers files, program or whatever at all. The question is, does it make sense to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Dad
    I would hope that no technician would keep quiet if he or she found, in the course of working on the computer, plans to bomb somewhere, child pornography, or whatever heinous crimes could be hidden within.
    Of course not. But there are two things to keep in mind - Those techs work for me, first of all, and if you think I'm going to pay them to waste time (for the most part) and my money to deep search every computer that comes through the door, you have another think coming. Second, those folders and files would have to be pretty obviously labeled and displayed for most techs to "just find them" in the course of a repair. Unlike your average TV show, criminals do not label their file folders with names like "The super-secret plans to break into the Pentagon and steal the nuclear bomb plans". They won't be highlighted in a neon color, either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Dad
    You think that it is fruit of a poisonous tree but the owner of the computer gives Best Buy permission to go into that computer.
    Come on, SD. Even you cannot be that naive. Read the OP story again. The FBI trained this Geek Squad to use special deep scan programs, and paid them bonuses to give the files they found to the FBI, if they thought these files were evidence of a crime.

    And you're forgetting one thing. Yes, the customer gives Best Buy permission to go into their computer - but only for a single purpose. Virus removal, replacing a hard drive, etc. They are not giving Best Buy Carte Blanch to rummage through every single file on that customer's computer.

    It wasn't that Geek Squad "just happened" to find something on their customers computers, they were being trained and paid by law enforcement to search a customer's computer for evidence that a crime was committed.

    So yes. Fruit of the poisonous tree. On all counts, in this instance. The Geek Squad didn't "just happen upon" the files that they turned over to the FBI. They were trained in the use of software to perform an illegal search of the customer's computer, and they were paid by the FBI to turn over files and programs they thought were evidence of illegal activity.

    If you don't think THAT evidence shouldn't have been thrown out of court, I can't help you.
    Last edited by NiteGuy; 16th March 2017 at 04:39 AM.

  10. #50
    Veteran Member Southern Dad's Avatar
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    A virus scan can be run without opening every folder? No shit! But if running that virus scan you flag a folder full of child porn or classified information are you calling the authorities? Or are you going to protect the criminals?

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