Who knew that federal law enforcement had such a cozy relationship with a private enterprise.
New information is coming to light that not only did the feds enlist the help of Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Google and any number of other electronics makers and social media platforms to spy on the American people, but they had Best Buy’s Geek Squad on payroll, too.
The FBI paid Best Buy’s Geek Squad employees to act as informants, according to several documents obtained by the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
The documents expose the cozy relationship between Best Buy and the FBI that goes back at least 10 years….
The FBI and Geek Squad appear to have had a process for how the Bureau would investigate and prosecute people who had given their devices to Geek Squad to be repaired.
Geek Squad would let the FBI know if they found what they believed to be child pornography or other illegal content on a device and the FBI would go to the Geek Squad facility to assess the materials and determine if they were illegal, the documents reportedly show.
The FBI would then take the device for further investigation.
How’s that for customer service, take your device in for repairs and software manipulation, and end up getting into hot water with the feds if the techs find something that may look illegal.
Woe to parents who had bear skin rug pictures of their kids on file.
The arrangement came to light when a photograph was found on a California Gynocologist’s computer. If the Geeks had just stumbled on the image, they were obliged to report it, but it seems that that particular squad went looking for it, thus the cooperation between the FBI and Best Buy became known via the federal prosecution of the physician.
However, the EFF’s argument in the case of Mark Rettenmaier — a California doctor who was charged with child pornography possession after Geek Squad employees say they discovered it on his computer, is that the documents show that Geek Squad employees made actual efforts to find the illegal material, potentially using forensic software to search his devices.
Further, there is evidence that Geek Squad employees were paid when they would find child pornography, which the EFF said would act to encourage the employees to actively search for the content. That changes the motivation from legal obligation to a chance to earn some additional extra cash by digging around in files that may not be essential to the repair, which is an obvious overreach.
And now, we all know too.
You can’t trust anyone anymore.