January 10, 2017

Repost: FBI Pays Geek Squad for Stories on Searches by Customers

The first posting of this story was pulled out of my blog. The only ones that could do that would be Google or I guess the FBI. May be the Best Buy Geeks but I doubt that one. This is not a story made up by me but has been published by more than one media blogger. Let’s see if Google would pulled all of them, as for me Im reposting the story from another blogger.     adamfoxie blog


                  Best Buy GEEK SQUAD



This story posted by networkworld.com . The writer is  


Best Buy has quite a support service in Geek Squad. It's the only national tech service center, and it makes house calls. I had a tech come to calibrate my HDTV set, and the difference was night and day. 
In 2014, Geek Squad brought in $1.8 billion in revenue, which was a drop from the previous year, but still accounted for 5 percent of Best Buy revenue. So, it's not insignificant. 
And it seems the geeks are making a few extra bucks. The Orange County Weekly reports that the company's repair technicians routinely search devices brought in for repair for files that could earn them $500 reward as FBI informants. 
That, ladies and gentlemen, is about as blatant a case of unconstitutional search and seizure as it gets. 


+ Also on Network World: Yahoo's secret email scans helped the FBI probe terrorists +

This revelation came out in a court case, United States of America v. Mark A. Rettenmaier. Rettenmaier is a prominent Orange County physician and surgeon who took his laptop to the Mission Viejo Best Buy in November 2011 after he was unable to start it. 
According to court records, Geek Squad technician John "Trey" Westphal found an image of "a fully nude, white prepubescent female on her hands and knees on a bed, with a brown choker-type collar around her neck." Westphal notified his boss, who was also an FBI informant, who alerted another FBI informant—as well as the FBI itself. 

Searches without warrants

The FBI has pretty much guaranteed the case will be thrown out by its behavior, this illegal search aside. According to Rettenmaier's defense attorney, agents conducted two additional searches of the computer without obtaining necessary warrants, lied to trick a federal magistrate judge into authorizing a search warrant for his home, then tried to cover up their misdeeds by initially hiding records. 
Plus, the file was found in the unallocated "trash" space, meaning it could only be retrieved by "carving" with sophisticated forensics tools. Carving (or file carving) is defined as searching for files or other kinds of objects based on content, rather than on metadata. It's used to recover old files that have been deleted or damaged. 


To prove child pornography, you have to prove the possessor knew what he had was indeed child porn. There has been a court case where files found on unallocated space did not constitute knowing possession because it's impossible to determine who put the file there and how, since it's not accessible to the user under normal circumstances. 

+ What do you think? Share your opinion about Geek Squad techs acting as FBI informants on our Facebook page +

But the real question is why in the world was a Geek Squad staffer running a carver on the laptop? His job was to get the thing running, and I doubt recovering deleted files would make much difference. The answer is $500. 
Until Best Buy ends this practice of being an FBI informant, a blatantly unconstitutional act, you should avoid Geek Squad completely. Ask your kid or grandkid or neighbor's kid if you have a problematic laptop. But stay out of Geek Squad.

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