Why Geeks Steal Porn From Your Computer

hashand: I used to work at a computer repair place. All the stuff you’re finding isn’t limited to Best Buy. We had a 2 TB [terabyte] server of mp3s.

The problem is that management at these places typically aren’t that tech literate and the techs are underpaid skeezy comp-sci majors. One guy actually resold to amateur porn sites with what he found. A 4-year degree for 9.50 an hour and that’s the kind of “great attitude” you end up with.
benpopken: Precisely the scenario I envisioned, reselling to amateur sites.
hashand: Yah. 11 years at these places. Geek Squad didn’t start it. It’s the industry.

benpopken: Was it a national chain or just local?
hashand: Regional chain. 42 locations. To be fair, this is a relatively “new” problem. Maybe in the last 8 years. But yeah, we had a whole 2TB server + directconnect hub. If there was enough good stuff, we’d rip your drive and replace it with a refurb. Keep the drive and just tell you we wiped it
benpopken: Hot.
hashand: I didn’t do repairs, i worked on the database and that’s how i found out about the server.
benpopken: What place was it?
hashand: I really don’t want to name names. My managers were good and it’s a good company. The people who did this ultimately got fired.
benpopken: This was in the states, though?
hashand: Yeah. I worked in the flagship store with the owner. Doing database management for all the locations. But 21 year old underpaid “professionals” are going to do whatever they want. And if they set up entire p2p networks with firewalls and blacklisting of corporate and government snoops, they can hide data stashes in a largely unmonitored internal network easily. If they don’t just use thumbdrives, there’s always a server stack and there aren’t enough hours in the day to audit what every little black box with lights is doing.

My best advice to anyone sending their computer in for repairs is find a shop that’ll take it without a hard drive. We would, if you asked. It;s easy to slot in a blank drive, run knoppix, and format it. We just booted to a separate partition anyway, so its not even like we needed your data.
benpopken: Pretty much the only way to guarantee safety.
hashand: Or, if they won’t let you do that, go buy a new drive. Put it in, reinstall your os, then ship it off.
benpopken: Unless the problem exists on the hard drive.
hashand: Well, yeah. But at that point, do you really want someone you don’t know “recovering” your data for you anyway? If there’s a hard drive problem, they’re just going to send you a refurb drive anyway. So if replacing the drive fixes the problem, you just saved yourself a huge headache anyway. Sketchy untested drives aren’t worth it. Storage is so cheap these days.
benpopken: Was checking out the content on the blinking box a group activity?
hashand: It’s hard to say. But it was endemic to at least 30% of our stores. Primarily the ones located near college campuses.
benpopken: That would figure.
hashand: You can see a real demographics trend in where these problems are.
benpopken: Basically wherever you find horny young cocky boys who think they’re invincible?
hashand: I won’t go that far. It’s the sense that they’re disposable. In the it industry, you’re nothing if you don’t have an ma or phd and 10 years on the job. Entry level it is no better than working at target.
benpopken: So it’s more of if you don’t care about me, i don’t care about you?
hashand: They get fired and there’s another job. They’re a dime a dozen. And no chance for advancement. Or if you do advance, its not even worth your time.
benpopken: Is porn-stealing then a form of insubordination and acting out?
hashand: Well, more a sense of “I want what I want and there’s no good argument for not having it” i.e. mp3 sharing. We literally paid less than a job at Costco, and the benefits were a joke.
benpopken: You would think the rewards would be greater. Handling technology and what not. At least that’s what the Devry commercials tell me.
hashand: Devry’s a whole other scam. Going to community college or devry for computers gets you basically nothing. An AS in computer science is worth less than just being earnest about technology and having used linux in high school for a couple years. When you get out of school and find out you’re 20 grand in debt and your job prospects are nil. What do you expect of someone? People just need to treat computer repair the same way they’d treat a home contractor or anything else. You want to meet the person who’ll be overseeing your work and you don’t want that person to be 22 years old and wearing a pot leaf shirt.

But yeah, this goes way back. Even working at AT&T in the 90s, this all existed. Just not on the scale it does now. It’s bbs [bulletin boards] culture projected onto a much more savvy generation.
benpopken: Why do you think it only started 8 years ago?
hashand: Combination of the dot com boom and 80s babies graduating. Kids who grew up with computers but were teenagers in the 90′s. Napster, bbs’, warez culture. IP [intellectual property] in general means less to people these days than it did back then. For better or worse.
benpopken: What did ip mean back then?
hashand: Well, the rise of things like the gnu [a free version of the Unix operating system] have instilled a certain consciousness about it within long time computer users. Your work is always attributed and you get credit for it. Period. People who break the gnu invariably disappear because no one trusts them. When you’re a hacker and your code gets stolen, you have a better appreciation for why you shouldn’t take things from other people without permission.

benpopken: So, since the kids don’t have to create any intellectual property in order to use computers, they have less appreciation for other’s intellectual property? And the bar is lowered?
hashand: Essentially. Two clicks and you have the new t-pain record. And no one seems to care. There are some niche music communities, for example, that have gotten proactive about calling out people amongst them who steal. Side-line.com is a magazine that hosts forums And many of the musicians whmo the magazine covers post there. And there was a recent thread where a guy was file sharing from work. Three of the bands he was pirating ganged up, tracked up his ip, got his real name, and called his employer.
benpopken: That’s impressive.
hashand: It’s interesting. It stinks of vigilantism, but the guy’s gone from the torrent sites he was on and, as far as has been revealed, has been fired from his job. And that’s what the coding scene used to be like and still is. Because for these musicians, they’re happy to let mp3 blogs and internet radio stations post or play their stuff for the public.

As with putting your record out in stores and crying when it gets stolen, the best protection is to keep stuff you don’t want people to take out of their hands. Data on your drive, music you’ve written, anything. Either that or publicize it to the point that it’s worthless.

My personal data storage solution is that i have a 40 gig drive in my actual desktop and 500 gigs of network storage for business records, etc. All on usb devices. It’s better to treat your personal setup as a series of legoblocks where every piece is interchangeable, but the whole thing functions as a whole without every little bit.

But even drive encryption on your home computer is worthless. Because, again, these are trained computer professionals with years of college schooling and nothing better to do than crack whatever encryption or protection you’ve set up. And snagging a drive out of the refurb pile is no big deal. These guys routinely build new PCs out of “spare parts.” I’m sure you could write a whole doctoral thesis as to why all of this is.
benpopken: Right, but it’s still a barrier. Since it’s a crime of opportunity, won’t some protections increase the likelihood they will pass on to the next one?
hashand: Well, definitely. But short of having your computer repair cost 3 grand, nothing’s going to be done about it. Lowest bidder wins. Capitalism has its shortcomings.
benpopken: By the same token, the personal file pilfering can be combated if its costs are raised. Like if individual people, local news stations, or kids for science fair projects start doing their own honeypot missions and published/broadcast the results.
hashand: Yeah, but will it change anything? Probably not. Like auto mechanics doctoring your bill. One guy gets fired, two more get hired. You’re not going to convince computer repair to start paying double the wages to get people who actually care what they’re doing.
benpopken: I suppose not. There’s been all sorts of jiffy lube investigations and people are still getting screwed by car repair.
hashand: Yeah. It’s systemic.
benpopken: But if we get people to take their computers to other places, or to local outfits, maybe… I’ve been talking to a reporter in Canada, and she’s interested in the story because they’re going to do a piece asking whether computer repair needs to be regulated and require official certification before you’re allowed to work on computers. So maybe some day the other option will be to send your computer to Canada. Free socialized computer health care.
hashand: I would *welcome* official certification. Computer engineers should be bonded just like contractors and have insurance. I’m a registered libertarian and I think there needs to be *some* regulation. Take that how you will.
benpopken: I would take it that if even a libertarian is supporting regulation, than you know they’re serious about it.
hashand: Totally. Bonding is a nice non-governmental way to go about it.

(Photo: Getty)

PREVIOUSLY:

VIDEO: Consumerist Catches Geek Squad Stealing Porn From Customer’s Computer
How To Make Your Computer Catch People Stealing Your Porn
2 More Former Employees Claim Geek Squad Stole Customers’ Personal Files

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. superlayne says:

    I think the best thing to do would be to change your wallpaper to “ALL I HAVE IS MAN ON MAN PORN.”

    Most computer geeks, male anyway, would just not even dare to snoop.

  2. Buran says:

    All the “it’s the industry” excuses don’t excuse this behavior. Period.

    And will someone PLEASE FIX THE VANISHING COMMENTS? This is the first story I’ve been able to actually comment on in ages because the comments and the comment box keep vanishing.

  3. Ben Popken says:

    @Buran: I’ve reported the problem to tech and they seem to be on it.

  4. uriahsw says:

    This is very true. However, I am also a libertarian and i’ve got a problem with regulation of any kind. You can not stop this sort of thing from happening. Regulation will merely increase the cost of providing this service and eliminate a lot of good people from having jobs, and a lot of poor people from being able to afford a valueable service.


    It is up to the business owner to curb these problems, don’t allow these sort of culture’s to exist, and it is the customers job to attempt to protect themselves. If they store all of their files in a secure drive with TrueCrypt (http://www.truecrypt.org/), and not Windows fake encryption, and don’t use a password that is used elsewhere on the system, for no cost at all, they can protect them selves. Additionally, if they see these abuses they should challenge the business manager/owner directly, and scream it from the tree tops, this is how you will force their business to change.

  5. Scuba Steve says:

    I’m not skeezy, but I am a comp sci major who would rather do sales in Staples or Office max than step anywhere near a BestBuy.

    If you treat your employees like child-slaves, that’s exactly the type of people you’re going to have after the smart people get fed up.

  6. Televiper says:

    I agree, computer repair technicians should be bonded. Especially when you consider the immensely private nature of what’s on someone’s personal computer. Personally, I keep all my data on an external drive.. and there’s the simple fact that I only need me to fix my computer.

  7. goodkitty says:

    @superlayne: Until your hot man porn box gets returned to you with a scary smile from the clerk and about 80MB worth of jpg’s richer.

  8. inboulder says:

    Chat logs are never interesting.

  9. bleacheddecay says:

    How funny is this? I think you should “cleanse” your computer of porn and store that stuff on a back up external drive before letting someone work on it.

    My husband wasn’t thrilled about the time he took in my lap top with a hottie shirtless Spike wallpaper on it. I guess for him it was like having to wear a purse.

    *giggles*

  10. CharlesJBarry says:

    I completely agree with the need to have computer repair people government certified/regulated/bonded. I’m interested in hearing more of this story that the Canadian reporter is doing being Canadian and in IT.

  11. Skeptic says:

    This isn’t new! Secretly stealing people’s porn is as old as the photo developing business.

    It has always been the case that brining in you homemade porn could either get you busted, or, more likely, that the technician would knock off a few extra copies for himself. In a few cases, this kind of stolen porn has wound up on the internet.

    The clear moral is to keep that stuff locked up and away from people who work in back rooms.

  12. wreckingcru says:

    Umm.. I’m a computer engineer, and I don’t think any other computer ENGINEER I know has other looked at Geek Squad or such as a career/job option.

    Yes, if you take the least minimum courses required in a Computer Technology “degree”, whilst spending your time either partying it up with your fraternity or moderating IRC chatrooms – that doesn’t make a good professional. Sitting at your computer 23 hours a day doesn’t make you an expert.

    I took courses in C++, Python, Computer Architecture, Compilers etc, with projects that really pushed my intellectual and analytical ability to the brink, and though I may have cribbed about them at the time, I can now see the fruits of my labor every time my managers express their happiness over my solutions. I don’t even work in IT anymore (I quit my first job after 2 years of being management’s personal bitch, and took my skills to work in finance for a hedge fund), yet everyday, I see how my engineering degree helps me do so much more at my position.

    Just because “geeks” start waving a Linux flag, it doesn’t give them any credibility regarding computers in my book. At the end of the day, any idiot with a Dummies book can learn how to re-arrange your desktop icons or upgrade your anti-virus, but it’s a college degree that enables one to really SOLVE a problem.

    It’s really easy to always blame capitalism and the economy for low-paid workers (and not without fault), but just because you couldn’t be bothered to study in college and now have a shitty job, doesn’t mean you commit unethical and illegal acts – especially to YOUR CUSTOMERS – the reason you get paid anything at all. There’s a saying about this kinda stuff in India about such people – “You’re cutting a hole in the same plate you are eating in”

  13. bohemian says:

    The lowest cost (aka: paid) wins, is the problem. Many of the decent techs have left for better things.

  14. Havok154 says:

    I’ll agree that it has to do with the “you’re just another number” retail mentality and the fact retail employees get paid just enough to beat out McDonalds. When I was a retail computer tech, many people did the same thing you see from best buy, now that I work for an independently owned computer business and we get paid good money, this type of thing isn’t even an issue. If you want to bring your computer to some kid making $8, the same as the kid at Shoprite, be prepared to get Shoprite quality service. Bring it to the same kid making $15-20 an hour, and you will get your computer fixed fully, correctly, and without the “who cares” mentality because his job now means something.

  15. ctech_05 says:

    @wreckingcru: not to but heads but it doesn’t really take a college degree to solve problems. it’s more experience then anything. i have been doing the computer thing since the days of DOS 3. I have taken some courses as refreshers but other than that I am all self taught. There have been people in and out of my old company that went to college that don’t know a damn thing about computers. All they had were papers saying they have certs. A trained monkey can pass those exams.

  16. samurailynn says:

    I agree with ctech – a computer degree does not make a person a problem solver. A person with some cognitive ability and a good sense of logic will most likely be a much better problem solver than the person who went to college and memorized a bunch of answers.

    Also – what is the big deal with stealing people’s porn? Do that many people have homemade porn sitting on their harddrives, or are they just embarrassed that someone found their hand job stash? I would be much more worried about financial data, and personal records that could lead to ID theft.

  17. mac-phisto says:

    i’m reminded of one of my favorite bumper stickers: “oh government! please save me i’m so scared!”

    c’mon. bonded computer repair personnel?!? i’ve seen 12 year olds that are more computer savvy than some sys admins & there’s thousands of friendly neighborhood computer repair ppl that work out of their home for beer money. yes, please require a gov’t merit badge for these ppl to fix your computer for $50. & lord knows we need more vacant mom & pop computer shops on main street.

    but please, hire a few thousand “experts” w/ fat benefits to shuffle some papers on my dime.

    where’s all the outcry for personal responsibility on this comment thread?

    interesting convo on IP though.

  18. ctech_05 says:

    @samurailynn: around my area people “were” very trusting about who is working on their computer. There are banks around here I used to do work for that would let you roam around anywhere as long as you had the uniform on. The same went with the schools. All the schools you need to be buzzed in. You have the uniform on, your in the door right away and no one watches you.
    People do have alot of homemade porn on their computers. I have had many customers tell me that there are things on their systems that they don’t want people to see. I even had a man on man porn episode. (I was warned ahead of time by the guy)
    It’s a shame I had to leave the company but I just couldn’t take the nonsense anymore and all the illegal things I was expected to do.

  19. endless says:

    As I see it, the good techs, if they are working at geek squad, they are probably just there until they can find a better job. There is not a reason to stay there long term.

    I think the best way for people to solve this issue is not to use “services” like this but find the local kid, who you know, and pay him what you would at something like Geek Squad.

    “Whole Home Network Installation” $199

    “Add Device to Existing Network” $159

    “Operating System Install” $129 (in store)

    If you pay the talented local kid half that in cash, i would expect way better service than any other place you could find.

  20. Shadowman615 says:

    >>”The problem is that management at these places typically aren’t that tech literate and the techs are underpaid skeezy comp-sci majors. One guy actually resold to amateur porn sites with what he found. A 4-year degree for 9.50 an hour and that’s the kind of ‘great attitude’ you end up with.”


    I don’t know. A 4-year comp-sci degree and these people are working in retail for $9.50 ? I wouldn’t have even considered taking a job like that out of school — and I went to a second-tier state school.

    Somehow I’m guessing these are the people who posted all of their comp-sci homework questions verbatim on the internet and blindly submitted whatever answers they got.

    I think ‘Hashand’ has acquired an inaccurate view of the IT industry if he thinks one needs an MA or PhD or 10 years on the job to get anywhere. Perhaps this is how the industry is perceived by employees in computer repair shops, but this is certainly not the case in the IT industry.

  21. ShadowFalls says:

    As being a person who repairs computers on my own, I can say that this mentality is more of a lack of ethics and parents not raising their children with values and not an “industry norm”.

    I treat every person’s computer as sacred, their private data has no value to me, but I can respect that it will most likely have great value to them. I will ask them where it is located or have them show me. I will not go browsing around for things of interest, it wouldn’t be much different than looking through someone’s house just because you thought it was ok because they let you in the front door. You wouldn’t want a plumber to go and snoop around your bathroom and in your medicine cabinet would you? It is the same breach of trust and complete disrespect that these people show.

    Many do not realize that you can do a lot without a college degree and are more likely to be hired with a list of certifications which do not require you to have a degree to get, just the money to do so. Sure they take some studying and hard work, but it is worth the effort in the end. That is probably the issue with some of these people, they don’t want to put the effort into something, so they settle for the simple, low paying job.

  22. vonskippy says:

    What bullshit.

    Any (ANY) modern encryption utility (like TrueCrypt) that’s properly setup means there is NO chance the post-pubescent wanna-be cracker will be able to snoop your data (porn or otherwise).

  23. mind says:

    What’s with the rant in the middle about “intellectual property” (a misnomer)? The problem is trusted people snooping about where they shouldn’t, not anything involving any sort of copyrights.

    You can be against copyright and still respect people’s privacy.

  24. EtherealStrife says:

    @Scuba Steve: I’m a skeezy ics major and I certainly wouldn’t work at BB. I have trouble believing anyone with a college degree in the sciences would resort to a 9.50/hour job when 20-30/hr internships are so easy to come by in junior and senior years. I guess they’re just too lazy, or got their degrees from “technical institutes.”

  25. Ben-M says:

    Shit, if I were working on people’s computers, I’d definitely snag their MP3′s / Videos. That is not even remotely close to what would be considered invasion of privacy like that of grabbing all of their personal photos.

  26. theantidote says:

    This seems to be from someone who was outside the whole mess. His details are sort of vague and not technical. At the place I used to work at, a small local shop, there was only one tech who would take MP3s from computers and he eventually got fired. Otherwise there is absolutely nothing similar to what he describes here. We had plenty of servers, but none of them were for taking data from customers, the others that worked there had varying levels of degrees and certification and nobody felt underpaid.

    The idea of taking your hard drive out before going to a repair shop is ridiculous. 99.9% of the repairs I did were software repairs, which sort of need the customer’s OS configuration and files in order to find the problem!

    My advice: find a local shop, not a chain, and be as explicit about your problem as possible. That was my biggest pet peeve!

    Also, don’t leave your porn on your desktop, please. I really don’t like seeing that you have a tranny scat fetish.

  27. RandomHookup says:

    I don’t think he was saying these guys are comp sci grads, just that BB was an easy kind of job to get while you are going to school. And, like most people, he prob. doesn’t know the difference between CS, CIS, MIS, EET or any of the other disciplines that involve computers as part of the education.

  28. hoosierdaddy812 says:

    When it comes to dealing with my personal info I only take my computer to people I know. It is very convenient to work with the IT guys so you get to know them personally. If you are just an average Joe there are easy ways to figure out how to reformat your HD or defragment it. Hell, I’m not a computer guy but I still know how to install and run bot-programs. There is plenty of info in books or on the internet that will help you maintain your computer as for repair, if your like me, find someone you personally know who can fix it then there will be no worries.

  29. xhan says:

    I used to work in a PC repair shop similar to the ones your talking about and not once did I witness anyone there go into someones ‘my documents’ and steal stuff, unless of course you count backing up the harddrive.

    We were a small shop so I dont think something like that would have gone unnoticed!

  30. Dervish says:

    @Shadowman615: I was going to post pretty much exactly this. My fiancee went to a state university for a bechelor’s in comp. sci. Now, seven years out of college, he’s a lead developer who manages six other people. He makes great money and he’s never had a problem finding a professional job, even when he was contracting for two years and changed jobs every six months. You absolutely don’t need a MS or anything higher to get anywhere in the IT field. You do, however, have to act professional and generally like an adult.

  31. yzerman says:

    I think some of you need to go back to school or college and take ethics 101.

    There are certain ethics involved that if your willing to steal information, may it be porn, software or mp3s leads you down a path where later on ethically you have lowered yourself to be open to breaking other laws and ethics.

    I am not trying to be self-rightous so I will fully admit I do my own downloading of mp3s and movies at home, but when I was a tech working on other peoples machines it didn’t matter how much money I made I didn’t take information off peoples hard drives without their personal consent because they were paying me to work on their pc.

    The big qualifier here is I was not being paid my $7-12 a hour to steal their data.

    When I steal data at home it’s on my time and my dime and I accept the risk involved with that personally.

  32. gorckat says:

    Fascinating read.

  33. miburo says:

    Government regulated? Are you kidding?

    Ben, I love your blog and have been a reader for a long time. I do understand where you are getting at from all of this but you really seem to make a strong effort paint the whole industry as encouraging things like this. While low wages do add to the problems, most of these people are the outliers.

    You seem to skirt across the much more important issue of people just being responsible for their own data. With all the identity theft around, full access to all personal documents on a computer should never happen in the first place

  34. masterdave says:

    At least this guy actually understands that the problem isn’t some sort of OMG BESTBUY IS SNOOPING MY SHIT sort of deal.

    Unfortunately the dude goes way off into some crazy mp3 tangent… and the two concepts are not similar. Nobody’s been convicted of mp3 sharing yet, at all. Chances are, it would never last if the RIAA actually went to a full trial, even if they targeted the right person, so to put it on the same scale is ignorant of the law and projecting their own misguided morals on others.

    The grabbing of someone’s data on their computer… I don’t think there’s a question about the legality of it, but what’s the punishment? Losing your crap job? If for some reason you REALLY think that the right solution is busting all the “young punks” into some zone of fear and getting them convicted of whatever charges you can make stick, then go ahead and actually promote that agenda.

    Otherwise, start educating people on how to properly secure their data, because it’s a good thing to do even without taking it into a computer shop with all the lovely viruses, trojans and other fun ways that people can gain access to your computer.

    Instead, you’re just complaining about a problem and offering zero solutions while at least somewhat recognizing that it won’t go away.

    And it’s been around a lot longer than 8 years, but like everything else the advent of broadband and cheaper long-distance networking has enabled like-minded people to share their favorite things much easier.

    There were people making and sharing child pornography well before the internet, but they just didn’t have easy ways to get it from Toyko to Tallahasse. Same goes for people sharing music (used to be cassette tapes!), movies (VHS in the mail!) and everything else that we now do at the speed of light. It took a while, but you could get the same thing accomplished before this magical internet that keeps this website kicking.

    So, it kinda makes people look rather foolish when they try to put a timeframe on something that’s been going on for a long, long time.

  35. enm4r says:

    @yzerman: I think some of you need to go back to school or college and take ethics 101.
    There are certain ethics involved that if your willing to steal information, may it be porn, software or mp3s leads you down a path where later on ethically you have lowered yourself to be open to breaking other laws and ethics.

    Maybe you should head back to class to learn how to make shit up. Having one of my majors in philosophy (what a waste), and taken every ethics class under the sun, I assure you that you are wrong. Stealing mp3s in no way necessarily equates to further ethical breaches. And because it could (and I suspect does) just mean they have a different/higher threshold on what they consider morally wrong than you do, it means your point is wrong. Good day.

  36. ehlaren82 says:

    Geezus freakin a.

    Government regulation? Vigilante busts? heres a better idea…increase customer awareness.

    Yah, thats right, people need to learn and realize that you DONT PUT CRAP YOU WANT OTHER PEOPLE TO SEE SOMEWHERE WHERE THEY CAN SEE IT. Do you seriously expect the Wal-Mart photo tech to not notice the naked pictures he just developed or make his own copies? Would you let somebody you don’t know into your house to fix something then leave for 6 hours?

    Anytime you make documents available, whether they be financial, personal identification, or homemade porn pics, to a place accessible by other people why would you not expect that somewhere, sometime, sooner or later someone is going to try to copy that digital information.

    Even if every computer tech stopped stealing peoples porn right now there is still going to be problems cropping up for entrusting your easily accessible personal data to anyone except yourself. This whole argument on consumerist is missing the point. Just vilifying techs at Best Buy and computer repair techs in general will NOT stop this from being a problem.

  37. ehlaren82 says:

    Oh and one other thing

    “There are certain ethics involved that if your willing to steal information, may it be porn, software or mp3s leads you down a path where later on ethically you have lowered yourself to be open to breaking other laws and ethics.” -YZERMAN

    Another thing failed to mention in a lot of these articles is whether or not the porn is of the actual person or not (if its the person yes that is unethical but see my last comment as to why that shouldn’t be the focus of the problem). If some dude brought in a computer and had hot girl on girl porn what exactly is the difference between that and downloading it off the internet? Its not like that isn’t where he got it in the first place?

    That comment above is kind of comical because I guarantee the business itself is actually doing real unethical stuff not even comparable to what essentially amounts as making a photocopy of someones playboy magazine.

  38. enroper says:

    I’m sorry, but this guy sounds like a kook trying to make himself sound smart.

    Case in point :
    But even drive encryption on your home computer is worthless. Because, again, these are trained computer professionals with years of college schooling and nothing better to do than crack whatever encryption or protection you’ve set up.

    Bullshit. You telling me a washed up CS grad working at GeekSquad can crack TrueCrypt volumes. Right. If that was the case they should be working at the NSA.

    I think this guy was embellishing just a tiny bit to say the least.

  39. Denada says:

    It really pays (saves?) to have a friend that’s an IT professional. For many people I’m that friend, and my arrangement couldn’t be easier. I’ll fix your computer for you as long as you take my wife and I out to lunch or dinner some time. They get their computer fixed, I get a free meal, we get to spend time with our friends, everyone’s happy.

  40. rawsteak says:

    this guy sounds like a vietnam vet… talking about how us young kids are running amuck because we’re “rebellious” and “non-conformist.” Yea, I said we, because I like to think I’m still fairly young and wet behind the ears. it’s not THAT complicated!

    Think back about 10 years. You ever go to a friend’s house and say, “hey, this looks like a good CD, lemme copy it from you.” BAM. That’s it, there’s no conspiracy, there’s no rage against the machine, there’s no Linux hippie subculture! It’s just laziness and public interest. You like what you hear and you don’t feel like going out and buying the CD, and you know how to work a tape recorder.

    Fast forward to now. People are a lot lazier and a lot more open. Here’s a computer with a mother load of music and porn… I think I’ll copy it from you. Why? Because you don’t feel like buying the CDs or buying porn like a regular sleaze ball and you know how to work the [Ctrl] ‘C’ and ‘V’ keys! Before you had to like the CD, now you take for granted that you or someone else will like the music you’re copying from the computer!

    The problem is people not taking care of their data. You don’t send your pants to the cleaners with your wallet inside and think you’ll get it back, right? You don’t mail someone cash and think they won’t steal it right? Most of the time, you don’t even park your car without taking all your stuff out, even if you don’t live in THAT KIND of neighborhood.

    Consumers have to be educated on how their data is vulnerable and how to protect it, because no amount of certification, job ethics, or regulation will protect their data and themselves from their own ignorance.

  41. NorCal says:

    Like all the other techs on here, I can confirm that this is very commonplace. I’m suprised that it’s this big of a shock to consumers.

    Like I’ve always said, read the fine print before you sign. I know the intake form at my old job had the phrase “Your machine is on my bench on my network and I can do whatever the fuck I want” translated into legalese, and we ALWAYS had the customers signature on that. I’m willing to bet Best Buy and all the other repair shops do the same.

    Like benpopken said, if your really that worried about it, send it in with a wiped drive. I did that when I claimed a warranty on my laptop, because I didn’t want someone looking at my stuff. It’s YOUR job to protect your private data, NOT the repair tech’s.

  42. The HZA. says:

    @bleacheddecay: As is Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike?

  43. Facts aside, this is the best interview I’ve read thusfar on Consumerist, and the first I’ve come across that READS like a thought out interview as opposed to a loopy IM chat.

  44. jjblackshear says:

    I am the band member that tracked the music thief down and called his employer. There was no actual ‘ganging up’ among bands, other than that when I finally discovered this guy’s info, I contacted the other bands I knew that had been ripped off, and encouraged them to make their own complaints.

    I can’t comment directly on what went down with this guy at his work — for a few different reasons — including that the situation remains more beneficial for us if I don’t divulge what I do or do not know, as it may include information that this guy may or may not know. I can say I do not know whether he was fired or not.

    Anyway, I went after THIS guy because he was leaking our album before it was released, but after our promo copies were sent out by our label 23db Records. Neither his address, nor real name, matched any names or even regions for promo copy recipients.

    The best I can tell, someone on the 23db Records promo list (they get free advance copies to review) must have leaked our album, this guy found it (or had an arrangement with said promo recipient), and immediately uploaded our album to at least 3-4 different sites, Russian sites included.

    Anyway, I figured if I could get this guy’s attention it might get the leak’s attention.
    Vigilantism maybe, but you reap what you sew.


    Jessica
    [sd6online.com]

  45. CrashTECh says:

    I agree with just about everything there, except the constant pinging of the younger 20 something crowed. I am in that group, and I don’t think that I would be that untrustworthy. I have done many jobs independently (I would never work for a “Geek Squad” company). I am always asked “how much?” and I usually shrug my shoulders and say, “Whatever you think is fair.” I have walked away with $30 for defraggin a windows 98 box, and suggesting that it might be time to retire and get a new machine. I got $40 for running an HP recovery and installing some AV and firewall. I was “on-site” just long enough to make ~ $20+/hr. On my own, no degree, word of mouth (He knows computers).

  46. ocp says:

    I’m probably one of the first Geek Squad type guys working on micros. I worked at ComputerCraft in 1985 and saw many computers with pron even back then. Although I didn’t have a usb drive like now I started helping myself to customer pron when working on their computer. Back then I would use hundreds of floppies to copy the pron or data that I liked. I also learned tons of software that I would have never bought by copying the programs as the systems came in. The knowledged gained there allowed me to get my future job 6 years later working for that larger software firm in Redmond. As one of the first computer support techs I used my knowledge to read and copy tons of documents throughout the company. Some of it was confidential but the people that were starting to work there didn’t realize that sharing a drive meant they should also be securing the data and since it was internal they never suspected I was reading or looking at everything on their drives. And yes there was tons of pron in those days on the servers. Back in those days you went to the usenet servers and pieced together a picture or video file until you had a decent quality picture or video. So as you can see gathering data or pron has been going on for over 20 years and probably existed even when my own father worked on mainframes in the 1960s as I remember a green bar picture I found at his desk that when printed out was a centerfold made out of letters and symbols. Even on greenbar paper there was pron.

  47. Warpigeon says:

    There are two points in all of this that i see. I have been a consumer and enterprise level IT Pro for a number of years now, and I never go snooping on client’s computers. On the other had i believe that consumers should be more responsible with their Data.
    A way to look at it would be like this. Would you take your car to a repair shop with a kilo of coke on the passenger seat, and a dead body in the trunk? Probably not, so why bring a porn laden PC to a service shop for a repair then?

  48. Xenuite says:

    Certification requirements! Awesome, its a corporations wet dream that computer repair will be regulated. I have a roommate who does computer repair on the side, but doesn’t have the 800 dollars to get certified. Just slap him out of business and take away any sort of local competition for Circuit City and the ever dreaded Best Buy! You should e-mail this idea to Best Buy, you would get their support for once.
    And do you think that having people certified will raise their pay? You will just have certified people getting hourly wages. Oh, and geek squad is A+ certified. That is a requirement, yet still there are security issues.

  49. ElijahDProphet says:

    I wonder how many child pornography collectors have been busted by snooping PC techs. Is it worth it if it means they might copy some of your legal porn?

    Now, people who make their own porn and don’t store it securely, that is a whole different issue.