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Consumerist Catches Geek Squad Stealing Porn 686

Posted by Zonk
from the downside-of-a-hired-gun dept.
mekane8 writes "Consumer-advocate blog Consumerist ran a sting operation to catch a Best Buy Geek Squad member searching for and stealing media files from a customer's computer. The article includes the story with screen captures and a video of the technician's actions. From that piece: 'Reached for comment, Geek Squad CEO Robert Stephens expressed desire to launch an internal investigation and said, "If this is true, it's an isolated incident and grounds for termination of the Agent involved." This is not just an isolated incident, according to reports from Geek Squad insiders alleging that Geek Squad techs are stealing porn, images, and music from customer's computers in California, Texas, New Jersey, Virginia and elsewhere. Our sources say that some Geek Squad locations have a common computer set up where everyone dumps their plunder to share with the other technicians.' A related story from a former Geek Squad employee details the decline of the Geek Squad and Best Buy ethics in general."
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Consumerist Catches Geek Squad Stealing Porn

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  • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Friday July 06, 2007 @04:23PM (#19772443) Homepage Journal
    Are you kidding me? You expect these people, who are the low-paid,
    bottom-of-the-IT-food-chain to have ethics? Why are they any different
    from a parking lot attendant or car wash guy? Because they're techies?
    Don't kid yourself.

    Heck, at two companies I've worked for (both big-name, publicly traded),
    they've caught (and fired) one or more sysadmins reading other people's
    email.

    Sadly, The Ethical IT Guy is on the verge of becoming a quaint holdover
    from the previous century.

    Encrypt it, or lose it.
    • by Applekid (993327) on Friday July 06, 2007 @04:34PM (#19772633)

      Are you kidding me? You expect these people, who are the low-paid,
      bottom-of-the-IT-food-chain to have ethics? Why are they any different
      from a parking lot attendant or car wash guy? Because they're techies?
      Don't kid yourself.

      All persons should aspire to live their lives ethically. Rather than have those who do be the exception, it ought to be that those that don't are the exception.
      • by Rakshasa Taisab (244699) on Friday July 06, 2007 @05:21PM (#19773281) Homepage
        Forget about ethics, WTF was that guy doing stealing some other guys porn?

        You're more likely to get yourself compatible organs for transplant by shooting some guy on the street, than finding porn that matches your own tastes on a random computer. Even if you get really lucky, there's bound to be more than a handful of images there that will turn you off at the wrong moment.

        But then, who am I kidding... one can't really expect good taste from some random Geek Squad employee.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kahrytan (913147)

        Are you kidding me? You expect these people, who are the low-paid,
        bottom-of-the-IT-food-chain to have ethics? Why are they any different
        from a parking lot attendant or car wash guy? Because they're techies?
        Don't kid yourself.

        All persons should aspire to live their lives ethically. Rather than have those who do be the exception, it ought to be that those that don't are the exception.

        I agree with what you said but I would like to make more general and broad term.

        Every member of the Human Race should aspire to better themselves. Because in the end, you loose it all.

        What do you want your legacy to be, a Brutal Dictator or the next great Nobel Prize winner? How much can you contribute to humanity before you die?

    • by rolfwind (528248) on Friday July 06, 2007 @04:37PM (#19772681)
      I don't expect the car lot attendant to take my car for joyrides or the carwash guy (if you mean detailer) to steal whatever he finds inside.

      It's not to say that it doesn't happen, but we don't have to pretend they are doing an ethical or good job.

      BTW, I am an ethical IT guy. I don't want to see other people's stuff. I don't look for it either. But some people are so sloppy with their computers they do the equivalent of leaving porno mags or money in the driver's seat. Even then, I really don't care, as long as it isn't something clearly illegal which would put me in a bind I never wanted to be in. I don't think I'm rare. You are correct, you just won't be finding me working for Best Buy or other bottom of the barrel job. But I would imagine that there are enough ethical people starting out in such a job.
      • by networkBoy (774728) on Friday July 06, 2007 @05:18PM (#19773263) Homepage Journal
        I used to be in the photo business, before my company got bought by Ritz Cameras and driven into the dirt.
        We had a policy about porn, if the printer doesn't want to print it, then you wait till someone else (willing) is in to do the work. If the printer is under 18 (we had a couple in my district, mostly on summer jobs) then you had to wait. If it was illegal (animals, etc.) then you better not have used your real name 'cause the cops are coming. If it was Child porn then we beat you up while the cops are on the way (really happened, cops didn't arrest our guy, but told him to hope the CP guy didn't realize he could press charges).

        We had one issue where the girl looked a little young, so we gave the guy a chance to have her, with ID come in and she could pick up the photos. She showed up, and the ID was good (honestly didn't look fake), thing is, her hair was noticeably shorter in the pics and she had turned 18 only a week? before. we let her have the photos, for lack of proof that she was underage, but it made my stomach churn.
        -nB
        • by Lord Ender (156273) on Friday July 06, 2007 @05:36PM (#19773473) Homepage
          Hypothetical question: If you had been working in an area where the "magic" age is 16 or 14, and someone asked you to develop a pic of a 17-year-old, would your stomach still churn?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by VGR (467274)

          If it was Child porn then we beat you up while the cops are on the way (really happened, cops didn't arrest our guy, but told him to hope the CP guy didn't realize he could press charges).

          Wow, awesome. Vigilante justice. You must be so proud.

          Believe it or not, "truth and justice for all" does not mean "justice for all, except the people we're pretty sure don't deserve it." The whole point of the American system is that a fair legal system is far more qualified to punish people than you and your thug

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HermMunster (972336)
      Must be stealing articles from digg.com. This is yesterday's news there.

      Anyway, complain about the big guys. The little guy is always tempted, but when the big guy does this shit you shut up.

      Remember when the CEO of Seagate said something about regretting making all these high capacity HDDs only to find that they are being used to store all this pirated content?

      Well, how on earth do you think he knew the content was there? His people are violating customer privacy by examining the contents of the drives.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by suv4x4 (956391)
      Are you kidding me? You expect these people, who are the low-paid,
      bottom-of-the-IT-food-chain to have ethics? Why are they any different
      from a parking lot attendant or car wash guy? Because they're techies?
      Don't kid yourself.


      Is this sort of like a geek defending other geeks here? Everyone jumping to support poor little underpaid geeks in GeekSquad.
      So the thing you lack most when you're underpaid, is actually porn, and they were FORCED, FORCED I tell you, to obtain it from the hard drives of their clients.

      Re
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MBGMorden (803437)
      Heck, at two companies I've worked for (both big-name, publicly traded),
      they've caught (and fired) one or more sysadmins reading other people's
      email.


      Huh? Where I'm at we have a specific person (used to be me, but I moved to a different position now) who is specifically SUPPOSED to go through all sorts of emails that get stuck aside for containing any "trigger words".

      As to Encrypt it, or lose it. our system would scan for user-level encryption on any outgoing messages and spits them back to the sender. It'
    • Heck, at two companies I've worked for (both big-name, publicly traded),
      they've caught (and fired) one or more sysadmins reading other people's
      email.


      Typically the guys charged with, "get rid of this SPAM in my InBox!". Yep, I've seen it first-hand, when they don't like the anti-spam guy they go after him for 'reading other people's e-mail'.
    • Oblig Car Analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by blindd0t (855876) on Friday July 06, 2007 @05:43PM (#19773555)

      My car has some niceties I have added on myself. While I certainly do not take my car to just any mechanic, there are some (rare) exceptions when it cannot go to my usual mechanic (i.e. warranty work I had done in the past). An example of once such feature is a very loud stereo system. I actually take the electronic toll pass, change, and especially the amplifiers, and sub woofers out of the car before taking it in because I know the volume would otherwise be maxed out when I get it back from the shop. I simply do not trust just anyone outside of myself and my close friends to have those items within their reach. Furthermore, I am also careful, as with anybody else, to only hand them the keys they need to operate the vehicle, and do not provide them with my house keys or keys to anything other than the car.

      People need to take the same types of precautions with computers. If possible, back up your files elsewhere (i.e. optical media, portable hard drive) or consider using a network storage device (many home network storage devices are available now with RAID, and are not terribly high in price). Just as you would with a car, take out any money and private/personal belongings and put it elsewhere for while it is in the shop. Also, use different passwords for your logins than you use for your email accounts and the-like, as this is synonymous to only providing them with the key/keys they need.

  • by genner (694963) on Friday July 06, 2007 @04:23PM (#19772451)
    really?
  • Well, OK (Score:5, Interesting)

    by blaster151 (874280) * on Friday July 06, 2007 @04:24PM (#19772457)
    It's hard for me to get worked up about this.

    I doubt that these guys are obtaining and distributing files that couldn't be obtained for free using a good BitTorrent client (albeit also illegally). I mean, sure, most managerial types agree that you shouldn't do that stuff at work, but aside from the misuse of on-the-clock time, is it much different than a bunch of college roommates using a shared network directory for their downloads?

    Stealing homemade sex videos and that sort of thing from customers' computers is another matter. That would be a pretty major invasion of privacy and should be grounds for substantial, per-case lawsuits. I suppose it would be hard for a corporate overseer to distinguish between "legit" and privately owned media in that situation.

    Home videos? Private diaries? Love letters? Stay out, Geek. But "media" . . . as a customer, what have I lost, exactly? To be honest, I'd rather have a competent technician solve my configuration problems and help himself to my MP3 directory than have to waste time with ignorant first-level servicepeople in a tightly overseen, "theft-free" big-box environment.

    • Re:Well, OK (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 06, 2007 @04:29PM (#19772537)
      So stealing homemade movies is an invasion of privacy, but prowling through everything to find them in the first place isn't. Got it.
    • by RingDev (879105) on Friday July 06, 2007 @05:04PM (#19773079) Homepage Journal
      I would be much more worried about my MP3 folder now. With iTunes' DRM-free codec, you are linked to those files. So if some Geek adding memory snags a couple gigs of your music and throws it up on a P2P, it's going to be your name on them.

      How much would it suck to get sued for thousands by the RIAA because some highschool/college punk snagged a copy of your iTunes folder? They have files with your digital signature sitting on a P2P server, and they only have to show that given a preponderance of the evidence you are likely guilty.

      -Rick

  • by CajunArson (465943) on Friday July 06, 2007 @04:28PM (#19772529) Journal
    Hold on, my hypocrisy meter just went red.....
        If this was any of you guys downloading stuff off Bittorrent all we'd here is "It's NOT STEALING WAAHH!!!"
    However, now if the guys at GeekSquad do the exact same thing it's now 'stealing'....
    So what you are saying is that if I get something from Bittorrent over my comparatively slow link that's not stealing, but being efficient about it (which these guys seem to be) is now 'stealing'. Check.

        Oh, and don't even try that: 'But on Bittorrent it's OK since I have permission' bit with me, unless you yourself made the content (and for the love of God I hope it ain't Porn), your 'permission' is about as relevant as me giving you 'permission' to buy the Brooklyn Bridge.
    • by Moridineas (213502) on Friday July 06, 2007 @04:33PM (#19772613) Journal
      I more or less agree with you... however, the one difference is the invasion of privacy aspect. Like you say, who knows if those video files are porn, home videos, secret business files, whatever.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The issue isn't GS guys stealing a customer's porn. It's the tech stealing the customer's HOME MADE porn.
      Like pictures of the customer and his gf getting it on, for example.

      That's quite a bit different.
    • Maybe there's a level below -1, but I don't see any whining posts.

      If someone wants to copy my \music\mp3 directory, more power to them. But, as another person posted, if they go into my \documents\creative_writing I'd be a bit ticked. I'll admit that. Mostly because unlike the music directory, none of the stuff in there is for public consumption. Also, the mp3 directory is 100% reproducible from public networks. It's already out there. Them taking a copy of all my mp3s is just a way for them to save time and bandwidth. My personal files, on the other hand, aren't.

      Of course, as a use case this isn't likely, because I wouldn't buy a computer from Best Buy, let alone entrust them with repairing my box. (And of course, I can fix my own damn computer, so...)

      This isn't a matter of stealing or copyright or anything like that. It's an invasion of privacy. Best Buy is giving you a contract (both social and written) saying that they respect you private data, and that you can trust them. If their employees root around in stuff they shouldn't, that's a breach of privacy.

      Plus, it's a chance to lay down a strawman beat on Best Buy, and who wants to pass up that opportunity?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Control Group (105494) *
      No. In fact, I haven't seen a single post saying that (note: I'm browsing at +2, so I may have missed some). Moreover, I've seen several posts (like this one) reiterating that it isn't stealing.

      So, frankly, I think your hypocrisy meter needs recalibration. Or are you calling it hypocrisy because Consumerist calls it stealing, while Slashdot (often, perhaps even generally) doesn't? 'Cause that strikes me as a sort of weird definition of hypocrisy. I mean, I wouldn't normally call my boss hypocritical for not
    • by suv4x4 (956391) on Friday July 06, 2007 @05:06PM (#19773113)
      Hold on, my hypocrisy meter just went red.....
              If this was any of you guys downloading stuff off Bittorrent all we'd here is "It's NOT STEALING WAAHH!!!"
      However, now if the guys at GeekSquad do the exact same thing it's now 'stealing'....


      No, dude false alarm, didn't you notice your "reasoning abilities" meter is so low? At that low levels, the other meters go in totally random measures and can't be trusted at all. Trust me, I'm a geek.

      The issue at hand is stealing potentially private information of one's harddrive, without permission. Bittorent is about someone willfully uploading a file to share it with others, and then a group of people sharing bandwidth to get this file.

      The difference is sort of like:

      a) looking up a gang bang event in your neighborhood and dropping by to join the party
      b) someone on the street hitting you with a slab of wood in the back and raping you

      See?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by coaxial (28297)

      If this was any of you guys downloading stuff off Bittorrent all we'd here is "It's NOT STEALING WAAHH!!!"
      However, now if the guys at GeekSquad do the exact same thing it's now 'stealing'....

      No. It's not the "exact same thing," nor is it "stealing." It's a violation of privacy. It's not stealing because there's no loss of material. It's a loss of privacy. That's it. Theft is dependent on scarcity, and this is isn't an issue because an exact copy is made. Material was in fact created, not misappropriated. Give up on trying troll on the idea that somehow the standards that apply to a scarcity based world exist in a post-scacity environment. They don't, and they never did, because it's i

  • by SolusSD (680489) on Friday July 06, 2007 @04:29PM (#19772541) Homepage
    Geek Squad/Best Buy employees are no different than walmart employees, and it doesn't require any more IT knowledge than a wallmart janitor would need to get the job. When I work at "the Buy" I remember the *procedure* for fixing a computer was reformat and reload. These aren't professionals and, while what happened was wrong, it shouldn't surprise anyone.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by suv4x4 (956391)
      Geek Squad/Best Buy employees are no different than walmart employees, and it doesn't require any more IT knowledge than a wallmart janitor would need to get the job. When I work at "the Buy" I remember the *procedure* for fixing a computer was reformat and reload. These aren't professionals and, while what happened was wrong, it shouldn't surprise anyone.

      Oh COME ON, man! Get a grip on reality. Have you seen their ads? These guys are practically superheroes. In fact, make sure you take out all kryptonite ou
    • by PsEvo (1075643) on Friday July 06, 2007 @04:58PM (#19772999)
      Agreed. I applied for Best Buys and they gave the job to some guy who didn't even know what Linux was and used to work in fast food. I have a degree in computer science and 7 years IT experience and I didn't get the job. He had better communications skills.
  • by MontyApollo (849862) on Friday July 06, 2007 @04:30PM (#19772573)
    That must be how they always catch the child porn guys that are having their computer worked on. A technician always "just accidently discovers" it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      (Posting anon. for obvious reasons.)

      That must be how they always catch the child porn guys that are having their computer worked on. A technician always "just accidently discovers" it.

      That's exactly what I did. Once.

      I was preparing to format a hard drive returned to us by someone. Found some truly disgusting JPGs in a folder named 'Family Photos". The country where this occurred makes it a crime not to report child pornography, so I was stuck in a tough situation. I had to decide whether our ethical standards concerning the customer's privacy had precedence, or the criminal code.

      I went home and thought about it for two hours, then decided that m

      • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday July 07, 2007 @01:48AM (#19777357) Homepage

        I was preparing to format a hard drive returned to us by someone. Found some truly disgusting JPGs in a folder named 'Family Photos". The country where this occurred makes it a crime not to report child pornography, so I was stuck in a tough situation. I had to decide whether our ethical standards concerning the customer's privacy had precedence, or the criminal code.
         
        I went home and thought about it for two hours, then decided that my moral responsibility trumped my ethical duties. I turned the hard drive in to the police.

        Huh? The moment you looked in the folder - you proved you had neither morals or ethics. You turned him in in an attempt to make yourself feel better and to make up for your failure.
         
         

        That decision ended up costing me my job, and ultimately made it impossible for me to stay in that community. The person implicated was well-known and widely respected. I stuck to my guns, and stood by my decision, but eventually had to leave, because people no longer trusted me.

        You prove yourself untrustworthy by snooping - and then you blame the community for treating you as untrustworthy?
  • by Leptok (1096623) on Friday July 06, 2007 @04:31PM (#19772579)
    Goddamn, I want geeks to fix my computer, and any "technician" who DIDN'T do it must not be a geek to begin with.
  • I would (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ArcherB (796902) * on Friday July 06, 2007 @04:32PM (#19772603) Journal
    Well, wouldn't you?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 06, 2007 @04:32PM (#19772607)
    I quit working for the Geek Squad about 8 months ago, and have since quit the IT field altogether, but I can safely say this was not an isolated incident. It was a common occurrence, at multiple locations I had worked at, to copy customer files onto flash drives or even burn them onto CDs. We also did have a computer set up at the store's expense for the sole purpose of caching whole copies of customer hard drives for "archival" if they purchased a data backup. (It was helpful as sometimes the customers would destroy the DVDs we burned for them and we were able to give them another set, but it was also routinely plundered with searches for *.jpg and so forth.)

    This wasn't something I ever did, mainly because I had my own pornography to look at and never came across anything even remotely interesting in any other way, but other "Agents" would do it on a routine basis.
    • Same at Fry's (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      When I worked as a technician at Fry's, I regularly observed *supervisors* grabbing "interesting" material off a customer's machine. Honestly I don't see what the big deal is. It's small time copyright violation, big deal. I personally didn't do it since I rarely saw anything worth taking, but I never felt grossly offended when other guys did.

      I did get a laugh the one time I removed a Barbie game CD from a machine that had more voluntarily installed porn dialers and pictures on it than I could count. The am
  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Friday July 06, 2007 @04:33PM (#19772611) Journal
    Oh, FFS. It's not stealing, it's illegal filesharing.

    I, for one, sympathize with the perps here. Who would begrudge the Best Buy Geeksquad drudges some cheap thrills? Besides, if they're busy sharing porn, that makes it less likely they're doing something awful to the innards of Auntie Mae's PC... I would hope.

    My real feeling on this, though, are that it's all part of Best Buy's sales model. They can get a lot of customers to purchase an additional 120-gig hard drive if it comes preloaded with porn.

    Also, did you notice they now sell tissues and lotion? It's all about synergistic product lines, folks.
  • I've done it. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BKX (5066) on Friday July 06, 2007 @04:37PM (#19772683) Journal
    I ran a computer repair shop (note that I said "ran" not "worked at"), and this practice of "stealing" porn, music and movies was practically company policy. In fact, that's pretty much all we did. Ninety percent of repairs went like this:

    1) Backup customer data (read: customer's porn, music, movies and various documents. Occasionally saved games)
    2) Copy over WinXP syspreped mini-image, wiping hard drive.
    3) Fix partition table.
    4) Run through XP mini-install.
    5) Grab any straggler updates.
    6) Copy back customer data.
    7) Delete crap we don't care about from backup.
    8) At the end of the day, copy porn, music and movies that don't suck to my laptop and clean the image/backup server.

    (In case you didn't realize, 90% of repairs are people who got so much spyware and viruses that a wipe is just faster. Especially with the mini-image (which is just a copy of XP/2k, fully updated, with all the various media players and firefox, that's been syspreped and shrunk down to the minimum (with ntfsresize on Knoppix). On first boot, XP will auto resize the fs to the maximum if the fs is smaller than the partition.))

    This was some time ago (read: long enough ago that the statute of limitations applies), but I see no reason that it doesn't still work like that. I mean, come on, it's faster than bittorrent.
    • Re:I've done it. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Penguinisto (415985) on Friday July 06, 2007 @05:26PM (#19773347) Journal

      I ran a computer repair shop (note that I said "ran" not "worked at"), and this practice of "stealing" porn, music and movies was practically company policy.

      I hope you never apply for any sysadmin position anywhere, until/unless you lose that kind of attitude.

      Seriously - that's 100% pure asshattery on your part (and I don't give a shit what files were involved, or how clueless the person storing 'em there), and may well explain why you don't "run" a shop these days.

      If you can't prove yourself worthy of a position of trust, then GTFO out of this business. We have enough problems with pry-happy vendors, corporate espionage, and the incidental script kiddies - we have precious little tolerance or room for pathetic little asshats who would compromise their own professional ethics just to get his or her movie and pr0n fix.

      At home, w/ friends, or at a LAN party (that is, if the others are into sharing), or elsewhere... go for it; copy your ass off with nary a peep from the likes of me. But at work? Shitting where you eat? Sibling's right, there is no statute of limitations on douchebaggery.

      /P

    • Re:I've done it. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dballanc (100332) on Friday July 06, 2007 @05:56PM (#19773695)
      I ran a repair shop too, but stealing or even viewing customer files was NOT company policy. We did steps 1-6 and then told the customer we'd keep their backup for at least a week 'just in case'. We also deleted the backups on request of course.

      Unfortunately, thumbnail previews and accidental views sometimes showed me far more than I wanted to see. I think the worst was when a client warned me about the porn videos of his wife, and ASKED me to critique them. That's just creepy. I gave her a B- (hey, it's like an accident, you HAVE to look).

      Ethics mean everything if you want to truly grow a business. You don't gossip about other clients, you look away when they type their password, you try not overhear conversations (and if you do, you mentally stuff those tidbits into a bag, tie a concrete block around them, and throw them to sink in the pool of forgotten memories). It's not just out of consideration for them, but it gains you trust and respect. It's also just the right thing to do.
  • Cuts both ways (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Applekid (993327) on Friday July 06, 2007 @04:46PM (#19772803)
    Insterestingly enough, a while back on that same blog, there was an article about how Geek Squad snooping around some customer's computer revealed he had child porn [consumerist.com].

    While computer repair regulations don't exist like, say, auto repair regulations do, at the time I wondered if it would become compulsory for a computer repair shop to search and disclose child porn and similar because won't someone please think of the children.

    If you have a safety deposit box at a bank, you're entrusting them not to open it while you're away and look at all the sparklies. If you take your clothes to a cleaner, you entrust them not to wear it out on the town ala. Seinfeld. If you get your car fixed, you entrust them not to wade through those papers in your glove compartment and snicker at that condom from 1974. I think it's a reasonable expectation that you'll have files not related to your problem remain unexamined.

    Were it my repair shop, the first thing I'd think of is "wow, we're so not busy right now my employee has the time to search for goodies on client computers?"
  • by JumperCable (673155) on Friday July 06, 2007 @04:46PM (#19772813)
    Look. Most comments aren't seeing the picture here. It's not the copying of some 3rd party pron that is the issue. It's the copying of private made at home pictures that are the concern.
  • by greymond (539980) on Friday July 06, 2007 @04:46PM (#19772823) Homepage Journal
    Over a decade ago when I used to work at CompUSA the tech department did the same thing. If someone brought in their system to be worked on, the tech goes through it and sees what the problem is. Along he way if the person has a collection of porn, music or videos that we found interesting for whatever reason we would always copy them over to our jazz drives or external hard drives.

    Oh and if they had child porn - we'd call the police.
  • by Khashishi (775369) on Friday July 06, 2007 @04:48PM (#19772835) Journal
    fill your hard drive with goatse
  • Geek Squad != IT (Score:3, Informative)

    by blhack (921171) on Friday July 06, 2007 @04:48PM (#19772837)
    Geek squad is on about the same level as the kid down the street. We have ALL done that, some family friend, or neighbor, or whatever needs their computer fixed, so we fix it for them. How many of you have honestly worked on a neighbors computer without at least taking a look into ~\My Music\? It goes with the territory and people know it. You cannot honestly tell me that your average consumer takes their computer into the geek squad to have it fixed and expects that they are getting top level support. If you had a bunch of home made pr0n, or private pictures, videos, files, etc on your computer, don't hand it over to some mouth breathing idiot behind a geek squad counter.
  • Stealing is (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gonoff (88518) on Friday July 06, 2007 @04:48PM (#19772841)

    when you take something from someone and deprive them of it.

    If someone makes copies of files they find on my PC, they are invading my privacy and that is bad. They are not stealing from me. I still have all my pictures.

    If I have found that someone has invaded my privacy in this way, I will be unhappy but I should not accuse them of theft!

  • Best Buy is skeevy. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Vellmont (569020) on Friday July 06, 2007 @04:49PM (#19772865) Homepage
    I really dislike going into a Best Buy. I always get this dirty kind of feeling from 80% of the people who work their. They give the impression of being just scumbag salesmen that can't hide the fact they're scumbag salesmen. Geeksquad guys stealing porn is hardly surprising.

    A few months ago I was looking at TVs, and the sales guy was this young kid who just oozed sleeze. (If you've ever met a bad sales guy you know what I mean). He was trying to push a certain TV. I went over to Circuit City a few blocks away to see if they had any better prices. I actually wound up buying the same model this BB salesguy was trying to sell me, but the CC guy didn't try to push too hard. He of course tried to upsell my on an HDTV, but he at least had the instincts to back off a little.

    Recently I was at Best Buy because they had nice quality speakers really cheap. I checked the website price, and went to the store. The price at the store was higher than the website price, so I asked the sales guy. He went to a terminal, went to the INTERNAL website (the dodge I already knew about from a few lawsuits against BB for this deceptive practice), and proclaimed I was incorrect. Of course I complained and eventually got the website price.. but it left me feeling even more uneasy about how Best Buy isn't the most honest, or trustworthy retailer.

    Oh, and don't forget about the racketeering [slashdot.org] lawsuit filed against Best Buy. Not so great a track record.
  • by Aquitaine (102097) <sam@ia[ ]m.org ['msa' in gap]> on Friday July 06, 2007 @04:57PM (#19772987) Homepage
    Disclaimer: I worked at Best Buy as a PC tech from 1996 to 1998, seasonally (this was well before Geek Squad days). I was 16 when I started. I saw a lot of crazy stuff, both from customers and from our management (most of the managers were let go at one point, supposedly because they had been DEALING COCAINE...but that's just hearsay.)

    I am always surprised when I see stuff like this -- shock and astonishment that retail PC techs aren't complete pros. That's not to say that there weren't some good techs there -- there were. But there were also bad techs, because the management at a story like Best Buy knows about retail sales and (hopefully) customer service. They cannot tell the difference between a good tech and someone who can just talk like a good tech, but they do know that, if we were really great techs, we wouldn't have been working at Best Buy. Other posters have mentioned bad behavior as a natural result "bottom of the food chain" and "low-paid" employeees.

    We weren't the bottom of the food chain. The sales floor guys were - especially in the computer department. They wanted our jobs. I routinely had guys in their mid-twenties give me shit because I was 16 and had a better job. I wasn't making more than they were since I was seasonal, but that was okay with me. I was making decent money for being 16 in 1996 (about $8 an hour, I think) and the job was as tied to merit as it could have been. If I fixed computers well and quickly, I got a good review and customers left happy. Since a lot of our customers expected to have a miserable experience dealing with us, it was actually a pretty good feeling to make somebody's day and fix in an hour what they thought they'd have to come back for in a week.

    I only worked summers and over Christmas, so every time I came back, I had to "prove myself" again as the other full-time techs had invariably either been fired or else moved on to better gigs. For every full-time guy there who knew a lot and showed me a trick or two, there was a guy there three times my age who didn't know anything other than how to reinstall windows, and who resented the smartass 16-year-old who made him look bad. Most of these guys lasted only a couple months, but every now and then you'd get somebody who could weasel their way into the job and manage not to be a bad employee even if they were a bad tech. The fact is that a lot of the "repair" jobs we got back then were really basic. An un-scientific analysis of what I remember the job was like saw maybe one or two machines over an 8 hour shift that actually needed hardware work we were capable of; the rest were OS issues, software problems, driver problems, or else they were hardware issues that we had to send out to our service center. The bad techs just sent more stuff out to service, which wasn't really encouraged since we got a happier customer and probably a better profit margin for our store if we fixed it in-house rather than sending it to a regional service center.

    At the end of the day, though, we had a lot of autonomy. The second summer I was there was the best one -- they'd fired all but one of the other techs and (for whatever reason) had a hard time replacing them, so it was just me and this one laid-back dude fixing just about everything, and since we were both pretty good, we got the same amount of work done with half the manpower. The managers rarely enforced the "regional" policies as to how we were supposed to do things (if there even were any) so long as our numbers were good.

    Best Buy as a company has about as much oversight of their techs as Honda or VW have of their dealership techs. They're hired locally and monitored locally (if at all). They can try to set some standards for who to hire (realy easy things like A-Plus certification) but it doesn't change the fact that it's a low-ish level job unless you're a masochist and you want to use it as a stepping stone to management.

    So I'm not surprised by any of this, but I don't really hold Best Buy responsible unless they knew about it and did
  • by mw13068 (834804) on Friday July 06, 2007 @05:30PM (#19773399)
    TFA says they took their entrapment box to "about a dozen" geek squads, and finally found one to do this, and then cry WOLF! I thought the Consumerist was a decent blog until this crap sensationalist story, which has now been picked up by freakin' slashdot (of course) who added the headline "Consumerist Catches Geek Squad Stealing Porn".

    1. When running an entrapment scheme, a 1:12 ratio is hardly damning of the whole organization
    2. Who cares? Was the entrapment author deprived of his pr0n? No, someone just got a copy.
    3. If you have super secret pr0n or whatever on your computer, DON'T TAKE IT TO BEST BUY. Hire someone to come to your house so you can discuss your concerns and sit next to them while they do their thing.

    Give me a break. Ethics?! How about journalistic ethics?

    Shame on the Consumerist and shame on Slashdot.
  • by OrangeTide (124937) on Friday July 06, 2007 @05:34PM (#19773439) Homepage Journal
    So your girlfriend found out that those naked pictures and movies you took are out on the internet and she is so very mad at you.

    Simple, tell her the geeksquad STOLE them off your computer.
  • by gweihir (88907) on Friday July 06, 2007 @06:27PM (#19774029)
    Why do people not undertand the distinction? It is really easy: If you steal, then the stolen object is not with the original owner anymore! Too hard to understand? I think not.

    So, with that said, this is invasion of privacy, espionage, copytight infringement and unauthorized use of data processing equipment. Might even get a higher sentence than ordinary theft.

    I might add that anyone concerned about his/her privacy shoould use drive encryption anyways, or remove the drive before giving the computer in foreign hands.
  • truecrypt (Score:3, Interesting)

    by misanthrope101 (253915) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @04:45AM (#19778133)
    If you have an dirty pictures or movies that aren't encrypted, shame on you. You could die tomorrow--after the will gets sorted out, do you want your mom|sister|kids|whoever finding your smut? Everyone may suspect that I watch porn, but I certainly don't have to let them browse through my collection of underage llama porn for verification. Private stuff should be private. Make an effort, people.

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