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Post Reply Bestbuy and FBI
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Posted 5/8/17
The government's financial encouragement of American citizens to drop a dime on each other is deeply troubling,

It does seem appropriate to have Best Buy employees alert the FBI if they inadvertently stumble upon child porn when they are fixing a computer. However, it seems wrong to have the FBI pay them . . . would you expect your mechanic to search for pot seeds on your car's carpet and then turn you in . . . to be paid to do so . . .

It’s reminiscent of the old East German Stasi.
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M / Behind you!
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Posted 5/8/17
Throw this out, but I had a friend that worked for Bestbuy and Geeksquad member, this was like a decade ago. He did mention they found that type of porn was on the person's computer found in a folder on the desktop and had to report it. Never heard the results, but 1) That stuff should never be on your computer.

Guy in the post should still be held accountable, even with a reduced sentence. There are laws that are meant to protect children and he should know better not to be viewing it; trying to weasel his way out he is innocent is just a weak ass excuse of "But Best Buy isn't the law!" Why was it there in the first place? Why do I receive Amber Alerts (I never agreed to receive then BTW) on my phone to be on the look out for missing children? And if I happen to see them, should I or should I not report it? When it comes to children, pictures of something not normal tend to trigger an instinct protecting children, guilty offenders try to look innocent.
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22 / M / United States
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Posted 5/8/17 , edited 5/8/17
I've heard many stories of this (some from friends that work as ITs) and I don't blame them for doing this. True people won't know who repairs their computers or look through their hard drives but the best thing you can do is either learn to fix computers yourself, buy a new computer/component when it fails, or have a trusted friend help you to avoid this issue.

I'm lucky enough to know how to fix my own computers to a good degree (not an expert).

Edit: Who the hell goes to Geek Squad for help? They would be the last place that I'd go to for help.
runec 
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Posted 5/8/17

Reiter01 wrote:
Guy in the post should still be held accountable, even with a reduced sentence. There are laws that are meant to protect children and he should know better not to be viewing it; trying to weasel his way out he is innocent is just a weak ass excuse of "But Best Buy isn't the law!" Why was it there in the first place?


Again, it was in a drive's unallocated space accessible only via recovery/forensic tools. It was not even accessible to the guy that owned the computer as he had no such tools installed nor had he had them installed. Its a perfect pitch for "reasonable doubt" for any half way competent lawyer. If it was admissible in court that is.

"Weak ass excuse"s don't require the FBI to lie to a judge to try and get them admitted as evidence.

Posted 5/8/17 , edited 5/8/17

runec wrote:
Again, it was in a drive's unallocated space accessible only via recovery/forensic tools. It was not even accessible to the guy that owned the computer as he had no such tools installed nor had he had them installed. Its a perfect pitch for "reasonable doubt" for any half way competent lawyer. If it was admissible in court that is.

"Weak ass excuse"s don't require the FBI to lie to a judge to try and get them admitted as evidence.



Part of me agrees with you - to an extent. However, whenever I've done any professional computer repair (which I used to do as a teenager but haven't done for a number of years) I have always run forensic tools to make sure that I'm working on a legit box. In various computer stores and firms that went to a customer's location to resolve computer issues (in the United States and in the United Kingdom), their documents indicate that there is a significant chance that the technician will perform forensic searches of hard drives to ensure that there aren't any illegal acts being committed. This is usually to ensure that the tech isn't fixing "evidence". Fourth amendment or not, that's just to cover our own asses.

There have been cases where a tech hadn't run such tools to check for illegal files (child pornography in this case, specifically) and it came back to the company as having to testify as to why they hadn't run such a tool as it was part of the initial stages of touching a computer. Some companies nowadays are going as far as doing this for remote access as well (I know a few of our customers do this).

As for the FBI/Geek Squad ordeal altogether ... there's a reason why I suggest nobody go through Geek Squad. I worked for them very briefly in the United Kingdom (when they were starting up over there through Carphone Warehouse). At best, you'll get insane charges just to fix a simple issue. At worst, you have someone who has zero respect for your data sniffing through it for anything embarrassing to save elsewhere.
runec 
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Posted 5/8/17

ninjitsuko wrote:
Part of me agrees with you - to an extent. However, whenever I've done any professional computer repair (which I used to do as a teenager but haven't done for a number of years) I have always run forensic tools to make sure that I'm working on a legit box. In various computer stores and firms that went to a customer's location to resolve computer issues (in the United States and in the United Kingdom), their documents indicate that there is a significant chance that the technician will perform forensic searches of hard drives to ensure that there aren't any illegal acts being committed. This is usually to ensure that the tech isn't fixing "evidence". Fourth amendment or not, that's just to cover our own asses.

There have been cases where a tech hadn't run such tools to check for illegal files (child pornography in this case, specifically) and it came back to the company as having to testify as to why they hadn't run such a tool as it was part of the initial stages of touching a computer. Some companies nowadays are going as far as doing this for remote access as well (I know a few of our customers do this).


I've done similar work and work specifically in recovering image files from areas of the drive in question. Its not something I would ever bust out as routine. Its a time consuming pain in the ass to be frank. I can't speak to the policies of a place like Best Buy though which I can only glean from the exploratory phase of the court documents. Which indicated that they were specifically doing that ( running said tools as a matter of course to look for illegal material ), specifically coordinating it with the FBI and specifically being paid a bounty by the FBI. Its the last two that are really messing up this case for them.

Well, that and they further conflated it by knowing full well they were doing something shading and lying to a judge about it then trying to cover it up later on. It wasn't just the possible Fourth Amendment violation of Best Buy. The FBI, after getting the tip off from Best Buy, performed two forensic searches of the computer themselves without a warrant. Then went to a judge to get a warrant but lied to the judge to make it sound like they didn't know what they would find. IE they performed illegal searches then tried to retroactively make it look legit by getting a warrant after the fact.

Again, its one thing if there's a folder on the desktop. Heck, it's even one thing if they just go snooping around your folders in general. But its another when you bring out the forensic tools and go digging through unused disk space for file fragments. Then sift through the fragments trying to find something you can turn in for $500.

I mean, I think its a given that the blue shirt yahoos at Best Buy are going to poke around folders for porn to laugh at and/or copy. But that's pretty different then getting paid by the FBI to reconstruct file data on the off chance of a payday.







Posted 5/8/17 , edited 5/8/17
Glad I can fix my ownPC, I wouldn't trust them with any private information.
http://lockergnome.com/2012/07/23/best-buy-geek-squad-trust/

I guess if you want to use them either encrypt your sensitive stuff or keep it on an external drive and run a clean up tool with secure erasure and free space wipe ( assuming it's mechanical drive).
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Posted 5/8/17

cdarklock wrote:


dulun18 wrote:

Geek Squad = FBI informants


This is the law. If you discover that someone is guilty of a crime, and you do not report it to the authorities, you are an "accessory after the fact" and can be charged as though you had actively assisted in the crime.

Sometimes this is nothing to be worried about. If you know your friend Joey bought some speakers that "fell off the back of a truck," that's not a big deal. But if you know your friend Joey trades naked pictures of little boys with his buddies, well, that can make you a felony sex offender just like Joey and all his paedo friends.




so if i saw someone is committing a crime in public and i don't report it .. i'm an "accessory after the fact"

interesting..

what about when someone is committing a crime and your reported it but the police the their boss will not do anything about it.. ? are they "accessories after the fact" as well

now a day there are plenty of people committing crimes but the authority are nervous about enforcing the laws because ..
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Posted 5/9/17

runec wrote:


keeton52 wrote:
Does it say why they had his computer?

They could have been doing a basic Anti-Virus/Malware scan and saw something that looked a little fishy, and upon investigation found it to be CP. Unless all the facts are displayed, don't make assumptions.


It wouldn't boot up. The file was found in the unallocated space of the drive. Discovering it would require running a recovery tool and then manually going through all the potentially recovered files looking for any potential picture data then looking at all of said pictures. According to the court docs Best Buy has a software tool specifically for this that they were running as a matter of course on every computer to try and find image data for the FBI.

Personally, if you give me a machine that won't boot up "run file recovery software then look at anything with an image file extension" is not on my troubleshooting list. I've done this sort of work before. If you did not have a tool that was specifically looking for and trying to discover image data you could potentially be looking at upwards of tens of thousands of files many with damaged file names and extensions from being overwritten. Data recovery is a huge pain in the ass. It's not something you just do for the fun of it.


Just adding to what Runec said:

Unallocated space could be internet cache from a popup displaying CP. You go to a website, it loads a popup containing CP, and boom its in unallocated space or cache.

When you "delete" stuff from your hard drive it doesn't actually delete it. It just removes the reference that says that file xyz.jpg is between sector 11234-11270 of your hard drive. The data still exists so you can use tools to recover deleted data, sometimes.
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Posted 5/10/17
Scary stuff
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Posted 5/10/17 , edited 5/10/17

Rujikin wrote:

Just adding to what Runec said:

Unallocated space could be internet cache from a popup displaying CP. You go to a website, it loads a popup containing CP, and boom its in unallocated space or cache.

When you "delete" stuff from your hard drive it doesn't actually delete it. It just removes the reference that says that file xyz.jpg is between sector 11234-11270 of your hard drive. The data still exists so you can use tools to recover deleted data, sometimes.


And that is one of the problems that will plague this case. A single image in unallocated space does not provide evidence that the owner is breaking the law. As you said, it was very likely something that was unintentionally loaded, or *Gasp* planted for the $500 bounty. Not to mention that if the FBI is paying the Best Buy employees bounties for files found it is a direct violation of constitutional protections, since they are being paid by law enforcement they ARE law enforcement, meaning they need to get a warrant to search the drives since the "consent" given by the customer is for a private company to access the data and not law enforcement.
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36 / M / Durham, NC
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Posted 5/10/17
It seems to me that there is an issue of what companies will report. A customer could be reported for a suggestive image from an anime or art, because of the repair person's beliefs or because they don't know the law well, and have their reputation damaged, only to be found innocent in the end. Or could someone be reported for violating supposed community standards of decency? I'm not sure when someone was last charged with seditious speech, but it is still illegal in my state, and maybe someone would be reported and harassed by the government for being very critical of some level of government, even if it didn't end up in a trial. Even if someone is found innocent, they could still suffer personal and financial damage from a court case, so the government would still be able to inflict punishments for speech. ,
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21 / M / Imouto Sanctuary
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Posted 5/10/17
Not sure why a bounty payment should be even necessary. You should not reward people just for following the law. This is not preschool. I doubt even people of bad conscience wouldn't report child pornography when they see it, but a few at the presumably underpaid GeekSquad would be more than happy to use their expertise to plant it.
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48 / M / Auburn, Washington
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Posted 5/10/17

dulun18 wrote:

so if i saw someone is committing a crime in public and i don't report it .. i'm an "accessory after the fact"



No. That is called a "witness." But if you really want to know more, you are on the internet and can look things up all by yourself. Perhaps if you type "accessory after the fact" into some kind of... idk, search engine, or something.

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Posted 5/19/17 , edited 5/19/17

cdarklock wrote:


dulun18 wrote:

so if i saw someone is committing a crime in public and i don't report it .. i'm an "accessory after the fact"



No. That is called a "witness." But if you really want to know more, you are on the internet and can look things up all by yourself. Perhaps if you type "accessory after the fact" into some kind of... idk, search engine, or something.





dulun18 wrote:


cdarklock wrote:


dulun18 wrote:

Geek Squad = FBI informants


This is the law. If you discover that someone is guilty of a crime, and you do not report it to the authorities, you are an "accessory after the fact" and can be charged as though you had actively assisted in the crime.

Sometimes this is nothing to be worried about. If you know your friend Joey bought some speakers that "fell off the back of a truck," that's not a big deal. But if you know your friend Joey trades naked pictures of little boys with his buddies, well, that can make you a felony sex offender just like Joey and all his paedo friends.


i quoted your post because of what you stated in red -- but now it's a witness :?
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35 / M / People's Republic...
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Posted 5/19/17 , edited 5/19/17

Metazoxan wrote:


exactly.

This isn't "Oh I happed to learn he's a criminal and reported it"

they are actively violating people's privacy and even admit to searching into the guts of the computer to try to find stuff.

What kind of person the doctor is aside it's a crime to just dig through people's privacy and report it like that.


Makes me think: We should let them manage our healthcare!

amirite guyz?
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