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.