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(ZDNet)   Wait, the FBI paid the Geek Squad to be snitches? That's unpossible I had my computer in there and....hold on, knock at the door   ( zdnet.com) divider line
    More: Scary, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Geek Squad, Organized crime, Law enforcement agency, FBI, Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, child abuse imagery, local FBI field  
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1916 clicks; posted to Geek » on 07 Mar 2018 at 1:48 AM (32 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



37 Comments     (+0 »)
 
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2018-03-06 11:42:53 PM  
"Because the FBI uses Geek Squad as informants, the EFF says that any search should be seen as a warrantless search carried out by proxy, "and thus any evidence obtained as a result of the illegal searches should be thrown out of court." "

Yes.
 
2018-03-07 12:24:58 AM  
Scary?

Whats scary is that there are folks out there who think that a device that has child porn on it should be fixed without any questions
 
2018-03-07 12:36:30 AM  

cman: Scary?

Whats scary is that there are folks out there who think that a device that has child porn on it should be fixed without any questions


I don't want folks into child porn to get away with anything. I also wouldn't want some random dudes sniffing through my every file looking for their next reward, if I ever lost all sense and used Geek Squad.
 
2018-03-07 01:34:18 AM  

Relatively Obscure: cman: Scary?

Whats scary is that there are folks out there who think that a device that has child porn on it should be fixed without any questions

I don't want folks into child porn to get away with anything. I also wouldn't want some random dudes sniffing through my every file looking for their next reward, if I ever lost all sense and used Geek Squad.


Did you read the part where the managers were fired for being paid for turning stuff over to the FBI? Did you also read the part where Best Buy explained that searching thru customers data looking for illegal shiat was against SOP?
 
2018-03-07 01:55:13 AM  

thorpe: "Because the FBI uses Geek Squad as informants, the EFF says that any search should be seen as a warrantless search carried out by proxy, "and thus any evidence obtained as a result of the illegal searches should be thrown out of court." "

Yes.


What?  I worked for a company that installed WiFi and such.  If we happened to notice that your were doing illegal shiat using our networks (aka child pornography) we knew who to contact.  Technically I guess I was an "informant", but I was just following company policy.  And, you know, not enabling child pornographers.  Always read the terms of service.

I never got paid for turning anyone in, but I never though to ask.  It just seemed like the right thing to do.

And for fark's sake, don't do creepy shiat online when it's tied back to your credit card number and hotel rewards program.  And especially don't call for tech support if your connection hangs and you don't want someone to notice the filenames of what you were downloading when you lost your connection.
 
2018-03-07 02:02:12 AM  

davidphogan: thorpe: "Because the FBI uses Geek Squad as informants, the EFF says that any search should be seen as a warrantless search carried out by proxy, "and thus any evidence obtained as a result of the illegal searches should be thrown out of court." "

Yes.

What?  I worked for a company that installed WiFi and such.  If we happened to notice that your were doing illegal shiat using our networks (aka child pornography) we knew who to contact.  Technically I guess I was an "informant", but I was just following company policy.  And, you know, not enabling child pornographers.  Always read the terms of service.

I never got paid for turning anyone in, but I never though to ask.  It just seemed like the right thing to do.

And for fark's sake, don't do creepy shiat online when it's tied back to your credit card number and hotel rewards program.  And especially don't call for tech support if your connection hangs and you don't want someone to notice the filenames of what you were downloading when you lost your connection.


when i did tech support for my college, we had the same rule. one of my friends was backing up a list of files that some kid wanted saved before a re-install of the OS and he realized that every filename was labeled some version of 'child porn.' called the state police and that guy got very arrested
 
2018-03-07 02:06:57 AM  
There's a difference between people being required to turn things in and paying anyone that turns it anything that sounds halfway good. The latter provides a perverse incentive to try to find things on the computer, which is going to inevitably lead to employees digging through the computer to see what they can find, and can easily lead to witch-hunts if they find photographs of ancient oil paintings or statues, or kids in the pool, or any number of innocuous things that can easily ruin someone's life if the employee first thinks, "Ah ha, my next thousand dollars!" instead of realistically what was in front of them.

This is the difference between the state law required reporting, and the payout of a salary turning this into a search by proxy. By offering a reward, I'm indirectly paying you to perform the search.
 
2018-03-07 02:36:28 AM  
In the late 70's and early 80's I used to process returned hard drives for a large computer company. These came from main frame and mini-main frame business computers, not PC's. When it was slow, I would randomly look through data on the drives. All text back then, so no pics. If I understood more of what I was looking at, I probably could've profited from it. We sold a lot of computers to stock exchanges all over the world. Once I was done browsing, I would format and test the drive.

Moral of the story: If you hand over your computer to someone else, assume they will see everything that's on it.
 
2018-03-07 02:43:02 AM  

cman: Scary?

Whats scary is that there are folks out there who think that a device that has child porn on it should be fixed without any questions


I suspect it's a kick to them. They are gambling that the tech won't look around enough to find anything, or say anything if they do see something. Imagine the rush you'd get off taking a chance like that.

Another aspect is sort of a doctor/patient thing, which is what I think you are referring to. I used to be in a line of work where I'd get to see people's personal items. They had no shame showing me certain things because it's like getting naked in front of your doctor. Your doctor sees all kinds of naked people every day, why would you sweat it? Even sickos can forget that what's normal to them is not in a day's work to the rest of us.
 
2018-03-07 03:04:14 AM  
The same guys we assume to be honest in their applications for FISA warrants.
 
2018-03-07 03:21:53 AM  

Sim Tree: There's a difference between people being required to turn things in and paying anyone that turns it anything that sounds halfway good. The latter provides a perverse incentive to try to find things on the computer, which is going to inevitably lead to employees digging through the computer to see what they can find, and can easily lead to witch-hunts if they find photographs of ancient oil paintings or statues, or kids in the pool, or any number of innocuous things that can easily ruin someone's life if the employee first thinks, "Ah ha, my next thousand dollars!" instead of realistically what was in front of them.

This is the difference between the state law required reporting, and the payout of a salary turning this into a search by proxy. By offering a reward, I'm indirectly paying you to perform the search.


And by "digging through", you of course mean spending 10 seconds using the automatic search function, to list .jpg files?
 
2018-03-07 04:23:01 AM  

jjorsett: The same guys we assume to be honest in their applications for FISA warrants.


Thanks for your input Mr. Nunes.
 
2018-03-07 05:54:25 AM  

Sim Tree: There's a difference between people being required to turn things in and paying anyone that turns it anything that sounds halfway good. The latter provides a perverse incentive to try to find things on the computer, which is going to inevitably lead to employees digging through the computer to see what they can find, and can easily lead to witch-hunts if they find photographs of ancient oil paintings or statues, or kids in the pool, or any number of innocuous things that can easily ruin someone's life if the employee first thinks, "Ah ha, my next thousand dollars!" instead of realistically what was in front of them.

This is the difference between the state law required reporting, and the payout of a salary turning this into a search by proxy. By offering a reward, I'm indirectly paying you to perform the search.


Payment also provides incentive for the searchers to add files to your computer in order to turn you in for the reward.
 
2018-03-07 07:14:25 AM  

dittybopper: Sim Tree: There's a difference between people being required to turn things in and paying anyone that turns it anything that sounds halfway good. The latter provides a perverse incentive to try to find things on the computer, which is going to inevitably lead to employees digging through the computer to see what they can find, and can easily lead to witch-hunts if they find photographs of ancient oil paintings or statues, or kids in the pool, or any number of innocuous things that can easily ruin someone's life if the employee first thinks, "Ah ha, my next thousand dollars!" instead of realistically what was in front of them.

This is the difference between the state law required reporting, and the payout of a salary turning this into a search by proxy. By offering a reward, I'm indirectly paying you to perform the search.

Payment also provides incentive for the searchers to add files to your computer in order to turn you in for the reward.


Last year, when this story first came out, they mentioned that some techs got as much as $500 for "finding" things on computers.

I've known more than a few people who would happily fake evidence against you for $500 (or much less). With a $500 incentive, it wouldn't take much effort to have a "quick evidence" thumb drive handy to drop incriminating files on someone's computer...
 
2018-03-07 07:56:32 AM  
On a slightly related note, be advised that Papa John's trains it's drivers to report pot smokers.
 
2018-03-07 07:59:03 AM  

Sim Tree: There's a difference between people being required to turn things in and paying anyone that turns it anything that sounds halfway good. The latter provides a perverse incentive to try to find things on the computer, which is going to inevitably lead to employees digging through the computer to see what they can find, and can easily lead to witch-hunts if they find photographs of ancient oil paintings or statues, or kids in the pool, or any number of innocuous things that can easily ruin someone's life if the employee first thinks, "Ah ha, my next thousand dollars!" instead of realistically what was in front of them.

This is the difference between the state law required reporting, and the payout of a salary turning this into a search by proxy. By offering a reward, I'm indirectly paying you to perform the search.


This person gets it.
 
2018-03-07 08:08:26 AM  

Cache: On a slightly related note, be advised that Papa John's trains it's drivers to report pot smokers.


One of the many reason to never buy from Pappa John's.

The first two reasons being shiatty pizza and a shiatty owner.
 
2018-03-07 08:53:55 AM  
Another reason to never take your computer to the Geek Squad, aside from that very annoying name.  Assume if you are reasonably good looking, your computer is being searched for nude pictures.
 
2018-03-07 09:09:14 AM  

Cache: On a slightly related note, be advised that Papa John's trains it's drivers to report pot smokers.


Wait, what? Wow.
Thankfully the only 'something like pizza' we order when it's late is Domino's. Which our local one used to deal cocaine out of for delivery.

On the topic though, and related to comments up thread of employees dropping files on a PC to claim they found something and collect a reward, there's time and date stamps of when files are created, accessed, and modified. Unless they're going to roll back the date and time to match some other file on the system, there would be a clear indication that file was planted while in the hands of the tech.
Suppose all that's needed to defeat that is some sort of system log that records when the systems date and time are modified though.

Either way, even if you don't have CP on your PC, don't use geek squad anyway. They will dig through the system and copy anything personal, pics or otherwise, to their own drives to share.
 
2018-03-07 09:23:34 AM  

Atomic Jonb: Another reason to never take your computer to the Geek Squad, aside from that very annoying name.  Assume if you are reasonably good looking, your computer is being searched for nude pictures.


That and the running joke for years with Best Buy was their step one was look through your crap if it could boot, format your drive reinstall Windows if not. They make almost no effort to preserve your data.

Back in college I worked at a repair shop. We wouldn't go looking through your computer, and reformatting was a last effort, not a first. Cost way less than Best Buy, and any part your bought in shoe we'd install for free. Back on topic, but if a file was flagged as malware or a virus and caught our attention because it was in a folder with weird names or if we were doing a data restore and tested a file with bad contents, it was store policy to contact the police. This happened exactly 0 times while I was there.
 
2018-03-07 09:43:09 AM  

Cache: On a slightly related note, be advised that Papa John's trains it's drivers to report pot smokers.


Except that's not true.

The story you linked was about a driver who (on his own) reported a guy for smoking pot around a child. There is nothing there about Papa John's training him to do so.
 
2018-03-07 09:44:59 AM  

envirovore: On the topic though, and related to comments up thread of employees dropping files on a PC to claim they found something and collect a reward, there's time and date stamps of when files are created, accessed, and modified. Unless they're going to roll back the date and time to match some other file on the system, there would be a clear indication that file was planted while in the hands of the tech.


Yeah, how could a dishonest computer tech have any sort of clue about how to do that?
 
2018-03-07 09:48:18 AM  
People take their computers to Geek Squad? They should know better.
 
2018-03-07 09:55:07 AM  

cirby: envirovore: On the topic though, and related to comments up thread of employees dropping files on a PC to claim they found something and collect a reward, there's time and date stamps of when files are created, accessed, and modified. Unless they're going to roll back the date and time to match some other file on the system, there would be a clear indication that file was planted while in the hands of the tech.

Yeah, how could a dishonest computer tech have any sort of clue about how to do that?


I would figure that if they're working a place that does tech support, even geek squad, they'd know and think of this if trying to plant evidence. It wouldn't surprise me if someone didn't consider it though, or forgot to reset the clock to the proper date and time. Could be very easy to overlook, especially when you're distracted by that sweet FBI payout money. Little details could be easy to miss.
People do tend to be pretty stupid at times.
 
2018-03-07 10:11:37 AM  

envirovore: On the topic though, and related to comments up thread of employees dropping files on a PC to claim they found something and collect a reward, there's time and date stamps of when files are created, accessed, and modified


And I can set that clock to say anything I want in about 2 minutes.
 
2018-03-07 10:11:52 AM  

phishrace: In the late 70's and early 80's I used to process returned hard drives for a large computer company. These came from main frame and mini-main frame business computers, not PC's. When it was slow, I would randomly look through data on the drives. All text back then, so no pics. If I understood more of what I was looking at, I probably could've profited from it. We sold a lot of computers to stock exchanges all over the world. Once I was done browsing, I would format and test the drive.

Moral of the story: If you hand over your computer to someone else, assume they will see everything that's on it.


I'd add you better be crystal clear with your legal department before you go browsing through data that doesn't belong to you. Maybe it's ok but maybe it's not. Further, making a stock trade based in information not publicly available is very illegal and criminal.
 
2018-03-07 10:13:28 AM  

Marcus Aurelius: envirovore: On the topic though, and related to comments up thread of employees dropping files on a PC to claim they found something and collect a reward, there's time and date stamps of when files are created, accessed, and modified

And I can set that clock to say anything I want in about 2 minutes.


/Points to post above
 
2018-03-07 10:59:16 AM  
Are there any laws against repair techs snooping in your files?  I'm sure it would violate a company's policy and the employee could be fired, but could the employee actually be charged with a crime?

For example, before I bring my computer in for repair, I create a report of all the access times for all the files on the system.  Then after I get it back, I again run the report again and look for any differences to see which files were accessed.  Of course system files will have a new atime, but what if I see that personal files were also accessed?  Could the repair tech be charged with a crime for looking at files which had nothing to do with the repair?
 
2018-03-07 10:59:46 AM  
"Because the FBI uses Geek Squad as informants, the EFF says that any search should be seen as a warrantless search carried out by proxy, "and thus any evidence obtained as a result of the illegal searches should be thrown out of court." "

But it doesn't matter. They will use parallel construction to find a different reason to get a warrant, once they have you in their sights. The original warrantless search won't even show up for a court to strike it down on 4th Amendment grounds.
 
2018-03-07 11:05:40 AM  

Relatively Obscure: cman: Scary?

Whats scary is that there are folks out there who think that a device that has child porn on it should be fixed without any questions

I don't want folks into child porn to get away with anything. I also wouldn't want some random dudes sniffing through my every file looking for their next reward, if I ever lost all sense and used Geek Squad.


There's no reason for them to be sniffing around data files like pictures, movies, music, et al., anyway. Let's say your computer has a failing hard disc and needs to be reloaded, the procedure is as follows:

1) Technician takes the old drive out
2) Technician goes to recovery station, plugs in temp drive and failing drive
3) Technician selects file types customer wants (pictures, movies, music, documents, et al.)
4) Technician clicks on the button to start the backup
5) Technician walks back to the computer, replaces hard drive, and reloads the system
6) Technician copies data from temporary backup to a folder in the root directory
7) Technician creates shortcut in My Documents and on desktop to backup folder
8) Technician hooks temporary drive up to drive eraser, clicks start
9) Temporary drive is wiped, placed back in rotation

There is no reason for any computer tech to be poking around files.
 
2018-03-07 11:26:46 AM  

dittybopper: Sim Tree: There's a difference between people being required to turn things in and paying anyone that turns it anything that sounds halfway good. The latter provides a perverse incentive to try to find things on the computer, which is going to inevitably lead to employees digging through the computer to see what they can find, and can easily lead to witch-hunts if they find photographs of ancient oil paintings or statues, or kids in the pool, or any number of innocuous things that can easily ruin someone's life if the employee first thinks, "Ah ha, my next thousand dollars!" instead of realistically what was in front of them.

This is the difference between the state law required reporting, and the payout of a salary turning this into a search by proxy. By offering a reward, I'm indirectly paying you to perform the search.

Payment also provides incentive for the searchers to add files to your computer in order to turn you in for the reward.


Someone doesn't understand how computer forensics works.
 
2018-03-07 11:30:49 AM  
Another reason why at rest encryption is good and computers as appliances are going to win out.
 
2018-03-07 12:00:23 PM  

Herr Flick's Revenge: dittybopper: Sim Tree: There's a difference between people being required to turn things in and paying anyone that turns it anything that sounds halfway good. The latter provides a perverse incentive to try to find things on the computer, which is going to inevitably lead to employees digging through the computer to see what they can find, and can easily lead to witch-hunts if they find photographs of ancient oil paintings or statues, or kids in the pool, or any number of innocuous things that can easily ruin someone's life if the employee first thinks, "Ah ha, my next thousand dollars!" instead of realistically what was in front of them.

This is the difference between the state law required reporting, and the payout of a salary turning this into a search by proxy. By offering a reward, I'm indirectly paying you to perform the search.

Payment also provides incentive for the searchers to add files to your computer in order to turn you in for the reward.

Someone doesn't understand how computer forensics works.


Someone doesn't know how chain of custody works.
 
2018-03-07 12:25:26 PM  

Herr Flick's Revenge: Someone doesn't understand how computer forensics works.


Yeah, because it's *SO* difficult to modify the date and time stamps on files.  I mean, I've only been farkin' around with computers since the early 1990's, and only been in IT for almost 3 decades.  In case that didn't come across, that's sarcasm.

You don't have to prove where the kiddie porn came from, only that it was on machine when you received it.  Possession is the crime.  So surreptitiously using a utility like "touch" to change the date/time stamps would probably hold up in court unless the defendant had a really sharp lawyer *AND* a really sharp expert witness.  Not that it would go to court:  Accused is 99.9% likely to plead to a reduced charge, and you still get your reward, and the evidence you created is unchallenged in court.  After all, the FBI or whoever isn't going to go looking for evidence to disprove their case.
 
2018-03-07 12:31:02 PM  

Herr Flick's Revenge: dittybopper: Sim Tree: There's a difference between people being required to turn things in and paying anyone that turns it anything that sounds halfway good. The latter provides a perverse incentive to try to find things on the computer, which is going to inevitably lead to employees digging through the computer to see what they can find, and can easily lead to witch-hunts if they find photographs of ancient oil paintings or statues, or kids in the pool, or any number of innocuous things that can easily ruin someone's life if the employee first thinks, "Ah ha, my next thousand dollars!" instead of realistically what was in front of them.

This is the difference between the state law required reporting, and the payout of a salary turning this into a search by proxy. By offering a reward, I'm indirectly paying you to perform the search.

Payment also provides incentive for the searchers to add files to your computer in order to turn you in for the reward.

Someone doesn't understand how computer forensics works.


Assuming you have the funds to hire a forensic expert to do the work and testify on your behalf, because the state or federal guy isn't going out of his way to disprove you are guilty. Oh, and the jury understands and believes your expert, because anything involving kiddy porn surely results in a fair and impartial jury. That said, I'd assume the geek squad guys aren't going to be able to pull it off, because, well if they are good enough to do that and not be detected by even a cursory check of the data, they wouldn't be standing around a best buy waiting to reinstall windows for $99.
 
2018-03-07 03:42:48 PM  

WittyReference: Herr Flick's Revenge: dittybopper: Sim Tree: There's a difference between people being required to turn things in and paying anyone that turns it anything that sounds halfway good. The latter provides a perverse incentive to try to find things on the computer, which is going to inevitably lead to employees digging through the computer to see what they can find, and can easily lead to witch-hunts if they find photographs of ancient oil paintings or statues, or kids in the pool, or any number of innocuous things that can easily ruin someone's life if the employee first thinks, "Ah ha, my next thousand dollars!" instead of realistically what was in front of them.

This is the difference between the state law required reporting, and the payout of a salary turning this into a search by proxy. By offering a reward, I'm indirectly paying you to perform the search.

Payment also provides incentive for the searchers to add files to your computer in order to turn you in for the reward.

Someone doesn't understand how computer forensics works.

Assuming you have the funds to hire a forensic expert to do the work and testify on your behalf, because the state or federal guy isn't going out of his way to disprove you are guilty. Oh, and the jury understands and believes your expert, because anything involving kiddy porn surely results in a fair and impartial jury. That said, I'd assume the geek squad guys aren't going to be able to pull it off, because, well if they are good enough to do that and not be detected by even a cursory check of the data, they wouldn't be standing around a best buy waiting to reinstall windows for $99.


Thats where you are wrong. Many techies even at low lying positions have a shiat load of tech savvy know-how.  That is where good techs that get payed the big bucks start, at the desk talking with customers.
 
2018-03-08 09:37:07 AM  

Lonestar: Thats where you are wrong. Many techies even at low lying positions have a shiat load of tech savvy know-how.  That is where good techs that get payed the big bucks start, at the desk talking with customers.


Pretty true.  First actual tech job I had was a work-study program at college where I was one of the techs who would help people with their issues in the computer lab.
 
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