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

  1. #1
    Veteran Member bajisima's Avatar
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    Best Buy searches your computer and reports it to the FBI?

    Interesting case.

    If your computer had problems, would you take it to the nearest FBI office for repairs? Probably not. But in some cases, you may as well have done so. And it could get you in some very hot water. Thanks to court records, an indefatigable defense attorney, and some good reporting, we now know that the FBI has recruited and paid technicians of Best Buy's Geek Squad to act as informants at the very least and more likely as agents of the government in the legal sense of that term.

    The story starts way back in 2011 when a physician in Orange County, California Mark Rettenmaier had computer trouble. He took his laptop to the Geek Squad for diagnosis and repair. The Geek Squad went well beyond the call of their prescribed duty. They deep-scanned the doctor's hard drive, examining what's called unallocated space on the disk. The techs found something interesting in that space: an image file. They decided it was child pornography and alerted the FBI.

    First, it turns out that the image isn't actually kiddie porn. It did depict a naked underage girl, but the picture does not depict sex or show genitals. Second, a federal appeals court had previously ruled in a different case that files found in unallocated space couldn't be used to show possession or intent, because there is no way of knowing how they got there or who accessed them. Third, the FBI and prosecutors withheld crucial information about how exactly the image was discovered. It wasn't due to normal technical service operations by the Geek Squad. It was because the techs had been recruited by the FBI, trained, and encouraged to do these highly technical deep searches to find suspicious materials in order to receive cash payments as rewards.

    In plain English, the FBI turned them into paid informers acting as unregistered agents of the government. The case is still pending but the defense has filed a motion to dismiss the charges based on the government's purported illicit conduct. Now it will be up to Judge Carney as to whether or not this case goes forward.

    Best Buy's Geek Squad provides extra service: a search of your computer and a report to the FBI

  2. #2
    Veteran Member cpicturetaker12's Avatar
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    I think this particular 'crime' has been monitored for well over a decade now. I've read of people who took pics of their own kids in a tub or shower or naked little fannies running the down hallway and had them reported by photo processors (shows how far that goes back). I 'pray' cooler, smarter heads took over. Anyone with half a brain whose own brains aren't SICK can tell the difference.

    Now, how far one digs into someone's computer to FIND ANYTHING has serious ramifications and I have no idea what is allowed once you turn your computer over to ANYONE and sign that form at the Best Buy counter. I sure don't like the sound of it!
    Thanks from bajisima

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    If people would take the time to learn about their computers, they'd never have to take them to anyone to repair. I've never had an issue with any computer I couldn't solve on my own.
    Thanks from NiteGuy

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    Veteran Member cpicturetaker12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leekohler2 View Post
    If people would take the time to learn about their computers, they'd never have to take them to anyone to repair. I've never had an issue with any computer I couldn't solve on my own.
    SHOWOFF!!! Do you live in Florida?
    Thanks from Madeline

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    Quote Originally Posted by cpicturetaker12 View Post
    SHOWOFF!!! Do you live in Florida?
    God's Waiting Room? No way in hell!
    Thanks from EnigmaO01

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    Veteran Member Southern Dad's Avatar
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    There are times that non-technical people will need to take a computer to somewhere like Best Buy's Geek Squad. Usually physical issues. Failed power supply, hard drive mechanical issues, upgrades, etc.

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    Veteran Member EnigmaO01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leekohler2 View Post
    God's Waiting Room? No way in hell!
    Could be the Devil's waiting room too. Just saying. LOL
    Thanks from Madeline

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    Aren't we all obligated as citizens to report (suspected) crimes?
    If I witness a break in, it's up to me to call the cops.
    If my neighbor beats their children, shouldn't I call the cops?

    Can you imagine how many times cons call the cops
    to report the SNAP cheater in the grocery line?
    Or how about reporting the suspected illegal alien? Cons see
    them everywhere!! LOL

  9. #9
    Veteran Member EnigmaO01's Avatar
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    When I went to basic training I used a piece of luggage from my mother. Once we got there all of our luggage was gone over with a fine tooth comb by a captain to make sure we hadn't brought in any drugs etc. and then stored in closet until the end of basic. Unbeknownst to me (which I found later) in a side pocket there was a female hygiene product and picture of my 2 year old niece nude in the swimming pool with my grandmother. The captain had to have see it but said nothing.
    Last edited by EnigmaO01; 14th March 2017 at 03:12 AM.

  10. #10
    No mercy for losers Addiction Solitaire Champion, Double Deuce Champion, Queen Jewels Champion, Ray Ray Shuffle Champion, Twins Champion, Blow Up: Arcade Champion, Bunch - Time Trial Champion, Znax Champion, Zoo Keeper Champion, Sobics School Champion, Swap a Smiley Champion, Makos Champion, Dino Drop Champion, Flower Frenzy Champion, Some Puzzle Champion, Funny Bubbles Champion, CubeZ Champion, Dinky Smash Champion, Fun Fun Animals Champion, Fruit Fabriek Champion, Raft Wars Champion, Rainbow Monkey RunDown Champion, Raft Wars Champion, Crime Puzzle Champion Blueneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OHjulie View Post
    Aren't we all obligated as citizens to report (suspected) crimes?
    If I witness a break in, it's up to me to call the cops.
    If my neighbor beats their children, shouldn't I call the cops?

    Can you imagine how many times cons call the cops
    to report the SNAP cheater in the grocery line?
    Or how about reporting the suspected illegal alien? Cons see
    them everywhere!! LOL
    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?
    Thanks from Friday13

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