Geek Squad Employees Were Paid Informants For The FBI

Submitted by: fancylad 6 months ago in News & Politics Tech


The Federal Bureau of Investigation worked with Best Buy's Geek Squad for years—and even paid some employees as informants, according to FOIA documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. A Washington Post report last year detailed a court case that revealed how eight Geek Squad “confidential human sources” would alert the FBI when employees saw evidence of child pornography. 

The new documents indicate that Best Buy officials have had a close relationship with the agency for at least 10 years. In 2008, the company hosted a meeting of the FBI's "Cyber Working Group" at a Best Buy repair facility in Kentucky. An FBI memo outlined how the Bureau kept a “close liaison with the Geek Squad’s management” in order to “glean case initiations and to support the division’s Computer Intrusion and Cyber Crime programs.” 

The FBI also paid Geek Squad employees for finding child pornography—with documents indicating a $500 payment to one employee. In a statement, Best Buy claimed that it has a “moral and, in more than 20 states, a legal obligation” to report child pornography to law enforcement. The company also said that accepting payment from the FBI “was in very poor judgement and inconsistent with our training and policies,” noting that three of the employees are no longer with Geek Squad and the fourth was reassigned. The FBI declined to comment.
There are 10 comments:
Male 326
Doesn't this fall under basic 4th Amendment rights, unreasonable search and seizure? If in the normal process of fixing the computer a tech finds this material, they have an obligation to report it. Fine and dandy. Build a case and serve a search warrant. The problem lies where the FBI paid techs for this information. This incentivizes techs to find material to get paid. Now we have random Best Buy employees - er, "associates," searching through everyone's personal information, without any type of probable cause, looking for illegal activity. So technically, if evidence is found in this fashion, it must be thrown out in court. (Not a lawyer, just my understanding of the situation.)
0
Reply
Male 906
pirhomaniak Yep. This should be a duty and not a paid incentive program...
0
Reply
19
Yeah, I used to be a Tech in an independent computer repair shop. i neither cared to or had the time to sift through files on peoples computers. I have had to monitor file recovery that often was pictures and could take some hours. Shit stalled at times and you look to find the what and where. News flash none of you are interesting enough for me to care.
0
Reply
Male 86
The issue that I see is that in order to find the existence of illegal activity on some computers, means they would have to be going through the files of all computers. And while child porn is of course illegal, I think it is beyond naïveté to believe that they would not also be viewing/storing copies of any other pictures they want.
0
Reply
Male 17,655
Does the RCMP have a similar program? Asking for a friend.
0
Reply
Male 1,788
They were informing on child porn so it's not like they were being used frivolously. It probably started with Geek Squad going to the FBI multiple times before becoming informants.
0
Reply
Male 9,899
So, let me see.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation (being the principal federal law enforcement agency of the United States) have a habit of, oh I don't know, investigating things have a working arrangement with people who are in a perfect position to see unlawful activity?




Quite frankly, failure to have some kind of contact with such a group could be considered gross negligence. 
0
Reply
Male 2,602
This is certainly a slippery slope. But if you are doing anything illegal and use your computer, well if you get caught because you sent it to someone to repair well shame on you. And like the story said, its required by law for child porn to be reported in many states.
0
Reply
Male 6,715
Geek Squad fired them because they might have snitched on corporate too.
0
Reply