Best Buy Fires Geek Squad Supervisor Following Negative Newspaper Articles About Porn Pilfering

Best Buy is on the offense, launching an internal witch hunt to unmask the “rogue employees” responsible for exposing Geek Squad’s pervasive culture of porn pilfering. Their first victim is the Geek Squad supervisor of the Santa Clarita store, one of the only Best Buy locations whose former employees were quoted in recent articles, print as being a center for porn pilfering.

Former Geek Squad agent Brett Haddock, quoted in recent articles in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and the LA Daily News, reports, “I have confirmation that the direct Supervisor of the Geek Squad in the Santa Clarita store was asked to step down, but I do not have exact numbers right now as to how many employees have been terminated.”

Furthermore, Haddock says that some of his fellow coworkers are none too happy with his whistleblowing. “Some employees have been terminated as a direct result of the articles,” writes Haddock. “Said employees are a tid bit “miffed” with me, and the article I rode in on. I have already been sent text messages and emails from people upset with “what I did.”

I’m standing up for what I believe is moral and right. I’m sorry for any legitimately innocent person that works for Best Buy whom was wrongfully terminated. It is obvious that Best Buy will seek a fall guy for the incident, so they can site it as “an isolated one” but what they do not realize is the stories that run on Consumerist.com depict a nationwide epidemic with Agents of the Geek Squad.”

Hopefully, Best Buy/Geek Squad’s vigor will extend to a systematic investigation of every single Geek Squad for possible breaches of customer privacy. An isolated report from a Geek Squad agent in the northeast that they had to remove their precinct’s harddrives and mail them to Geek Squad headquarters to check for “privacy issues” could be signs of steps in the right direction.

PREVIOUSLY: Best Buy To Sue Geeks Who Spoke Out Against Porn Stealing?
(Photo: tellumo)

Comments

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  1. dbeahn says:

    “The beatings will continue until morale improves!”

    Never works. The whole REASON Geek Squaders steal porn etc. is that they feel unimportant to the company, and so they figure they’ll at least get something out of it.

    Try paying them more, respecting their abilities, hiring actual professional techs instead of sales people, etc. etc.

  2. MiltyKiss says:

    @dbeahn: Yeah, but I’m sure that the people making these decisions don’t see that. They just see unimportant people that can be fired. :(

  3. night_sky says:

    I fear they will find their scapegoats soon enough and end it at that without addressing the problem properly.

  4. Buran says:

    Whether or not it will solve the problem, I have no sympathy for those who invade our privacy and snoop in things they have no right to snoop in, and commit crimes while they are at it (there IS a law against computer trespass). They deserved to be fired.

    I do hope that this problem is solved the right way, but if you can’t do your job with integrity, get the hell out and yield to someone who can.

  5. cde says:

    @dbeahn: I thought they stole porn because its porn. But hey, maybe I’m wrong.

    People do stuff out of spite would steal from bestbuy, not from the customers directly.

  6. KIRZEN2007 says:

    Honestly, I -hope- that they try and sue their ex-employees in regards to this, because they deserve the ridiculously large PR backlash that trying to sue a whistle-blower would cause.

    Best Buy, wake up, before someone puts a stake in you.

  7. Buran says:

    @dbeahn: Wrong. They do it because they know they are not likely to suffer the consequences.

    About time some of these people found themselves kicked out. If only it were possible to determine how many times they did this and dock their pay…

  8. cde says:

    @Buran: Computer trespass when they have been given access in the first place is a stretch of Stretch Armstrong proportions.

  9. Havok154 says:

    @dbeahn:
    Is that quote from something other then the KMFDM song?

    Also, I’ve heard from people that worked at best buy that they want to hire sales people because it’s easier to train a good salesman to be a mediocre tech, then to teach a good tech to be a good salesman. And since this is a corporate tech shop, mediocre is the best you should expect while going there.

    I work for an independently owned tech business and we do good, reliable work but we get payed more then retail employees, and also charge more. It’s a trade-off for the customer, you can pay cheap prices and get crap for work and possibly have your info stolen, or pay slightly more for a computer fixed correctly and also keep your info safe.

  10. Dan25 says:

    they weren’t given access to rummage through personal files. they deserve what they are getting. The only computer repair man i trust is myself.

  11. Cowboys_fan says:

    So by consumerist pointing the finger only at geek squad and not the entire industry, where this is rampant, they have managed to have at least 2 people fired now, and likely counting. Keep up the attack, lets get them all fired, that’ll teach them…err…no it won’t.

  12. StackyBotrus says:

    I think all your reasonings coulf be right, no one is ever going to know or, admit it anyway. Either that, or no none will ever enjoy the truth as fact.

    Either way, Best Buy should not even have a squad for anything. Stick to selling overpriced junk to people who dont know they can get it cheaper off of eBay.

    This Post Never Happened! Shhh…

  13. Havok154 says:

    @Dan25:
    Technically, when you sign in a computer, you sign a paper that says something along the lines of: “Best Buy is not responsible for anything that happens to any of the data on my computer”. Of course, it isn’t right to rummage through someones computer files, but you really shouldn’t trust some retail HS kid who is making $7-8/hr and possibly working his first real job, with your important data.

    All it really comes down to is how the company treats their employees and how much they make. If you are going to any retail store, there’s a 90% chance their employees are on the brink of working slave labor and making pure crap (don’t forget, that the goal of most retail stores is to take as much money from the customer before they leave) while doing so. What that means is that there’s a 90% chance you shouldn’t trust the people who are going to be working on it. Sure, there are independent shops that have unsavory employees but there is a much better chance of getting the computer fixed correctly and reliably.

  14. quagmire0 says:

    Who actually STORES porn anyway? There’s so much of it out there, I never feel the need to stockpile it away for a rainy day. :D

  15. Dan25 says:

    @Cowboys_fan: They were fired for breaking the law. BB and GS got singled out because they are one of the biggest retail chains. Just like McDonalds gets singled out when theres issues with fast food. These people deserve to lose their jobs. Its NEVER okay to do what they did. They didn’t have any business need to go through those files. They did it on their own fee will and then distributed it among themselves and got busted. Thats what happens when you’re shady.

  16. y2julio says:

    So let me get this straight. Best Buy advocates their Geek Squad employees to steal porn and punishes those that have let everyone know that they do it?

  17. JustAGuy2 says:

    Huh? Please tell me your better suggestion for Best Buy to impress upon its employees that copying customer files is unacceptable than for the company to say “do it, and you’re fired!”

    This doesn’t just impact the people at that one store – it’s designed so that staff at other stores say “dude, I wouldn’t do that, those folks in California got fired for that.”

    Also, by firing the supervisor, the company makes it clear that tolerating this behavior will get you canned too.

    Sounds like EXACTLY what Best Buy should be doing!

  18. JustAGuy2 says:

    Also, criticizing Best Buy for NOT firing the employee who stole your files is more than a little bit hypocritical, since you REFUSE to tell them who it was!

  19. y2julio says:

    @JustAGuy2: Was that comment directed at me?

  20. krztov says:

    @havok154: kmfdm lyric came to me off the bat too, i was like hey, “free your hate” heh.

  21. JustAGuy2 says:

    @y2julio:

    Nope, at the original post. Although, I can’t see any evidence that Best Buy was _advocating_ that their employees steal porn, merely that it had become a common practice that management was either unaware of, or hadn’t cracked down on.

  22. homerjay says:

    @krztov: @Havok154:

    “The beatings will continue until morale improves” is rumored to be a sign found on a WWII Japanese sub. Although that was a direct translation of the Japanese print, it is suspected that it wasn’t actually meant to be taken that way.

    “The more you know!”

  23. homerjay says:

    @quagmire0: You’re assuming that their porn is the same porn you’re finding and not the porn they’re making themselves. :)

  24. The problem here is a systemic one. Best Buy pretty much outsources the candidate screening process through a third-party service, and it’s not even that hard to get past. So you end up with hiring candidates who probably don’t have the moral fiber you’d want from someone who will be going to client sites (and when I say “client sites”, I means CUSTOMER HOMES). Couple that with the low-pay and you’re going to attract the exact kinds of people who would probably consider stealing customer data a “perk” of the job.

    Fix the problem. Fire the offendees (because they deserve it), and then fix the hiring practices that put them there to being with. And if you can’t profitably do that, then you have no business being in that business.

  25. dbeahn says:

    @Buran: OK, you’re a moron. When you give the machine over, you are giving them implied permission to access the data on the drive. That is, after all, where the OS is installed. Ergo, there is no “trespass” even if they go “snooping”. This is an ethical question, not a legal one.

    They’ve ALREADY paid the consequences – having to work in a shit job, knowing that they’re getting paid next to nothing for something the company is charging $200 an hour for.

    But then, you probably think teachers, police officers and firemen are overpaid, too.

  26. Hawk07 says:

    This is actually rather entertaining.

    Honestly, in an age where homemade and professional porn can be so easily saved on a customer’s private computer, what else do you expect the self-labeled geeks to do?

    Geeks like porn for one reason or the other. You can come up with your own reasons for that one. Give them somebody’s private computer, is like opening the door to strangers and letting them look around. Additionally, with the ability to easily save gigabytes of data effortlessly on very cheap mediums, it’s a perfect storm.

    BB is obviously on a witch hunt here, but it’s going to be like the lawyers playing whack-a-mole with internet pirates.

  27. dbeahn says:

    @Hawk07: Exactly. Plus there’s the whole problem of nothing being stolen per se. A copy is made, and there’s an argument about intellectual property, but then you have to prove damages etc. for there to be a court case, and that would be civil, not criminal.

  28. swalve says:

    @dbeahn: No, they steal the porn because they are kids (or childish adults) with no professional ethics. Good lord, I can’t wait for there to be some kind of union or professional association to regulate this industry like other professional trades have.

    When you turn a computer over to be fixed, you give them authority to access only what is required to fix the problem. You give the plumber access to the bathroom to fix the pipes, that doesn’t mean he should be rooting around the medicine cabinet.

    Is this a legal issue? Probably not. But it IS a type of trespassing- you are accessing an area that was not authorized.

  29. Coder4Life says:

    Ok, so they are sending out a threat to all their employees that they are goinig to fire them if they speak out..

    Well what are they going to do when you get a employee to pist at the company, that he is going to speak out and then he will be fired, and be happy forever and be freed from hell… Whatcha gona do then..

    I am sure they have a huge turn over, I mean com’on it’s WORST BUY!!!

  30. Havok154 says:

    @homerjay:
    Thanks for the history lesson. I actually like to know the real origins of stuff like that so I don’t have to look like a tool that thinks everything is a music quote. (I only look like that every now and then…like now) =)

  31. aphxtwn says:

    this is not about punishing the actual pilfering, but rather punishing the fact the pilfering was made public. it’s like the godfather – you just don’t take sides against the family. ever.

  32. MarkMadsen'sDanceInstructor says:

    About that disclaimer argument, i.e. Best Buy forces you to sign a waiver regarding their protection of the data on your machine. Courts will not enforce waivers of liability that allow companies to engage in illegal activities. The exception of course is if the waiver is considered consent for the activity and hear it clearly does not. When you sign those waivers you are only assuming that Best Buy is waiving liability for loss of your personal data, NOT THEFT of your personal data.

  33. Sudonum says:

    @swalve:
    I don’t find the medicine cabinet analogy accurate. I think it’s more like calling the plumber to fix the toilet and he finds that pound of coke you stashed in the toilet tank and takes half of it.

  34. masterdave says:

    Well, I’m glad you guys finally stopped this epidemic once and for all, and that it’ll never ever happen again, under any cirumstances. Gone are the days when people should take responsibility for their own data around a third party, as Geek Squad is hunting down the terrorists, er perverts, and making sure that horny 20somethings are never able to be employed ever again!

    Lets all celebrate by removing our passwords and unencrypting all our files! Oh, what’s that? Nobody’s ever been advocating passwords an encryption? Well, that’s just too bad, more fun for me!

  35. Buran says:

    @cde: They were given permission to access what they needed to make the repairs. Accessing personal files that are not related at ALL to the problem at hand IS crossing the line.

    I guess you don’t mind if I rifle through your personal file cabinet if you invite me over to your house, and copy down your financial data, do you?

  36. Buran says:

    @dbeahn: See comment above. This is wrong, end of story.

    And weren’t we all told to leave the personal attacks at the door just the other day? So lay off.

  37. nequam says:

    @dbeahn and @cde: : What you are ignoring is the fact that many states (including California, where Santa Clarita is located) makes unauthorized copying of data a crime in and of itself, and without regard to intellectual propery issues. What these GS jokers did seems to fit the bill.

  38. geeksquaddave says:

    As a Geek Squad Supervisor, I’m upset that some employees (the ones that performed the acts of stealing porn, not the ones that outed them) have, through their disrespect for our rules and culture, shed such a bad light on Geek Squad and Best Buy.

    At my current precinct and my old one, I was surrounded by competent agents that respected our rules, our customer, and their data. In my 3 years with Best Buy, I have no knowledge of this ever happening at my stores. If this ever happened at my precinct, I would see that the responsible agent was fired.

    Most agents I know are professional, good at what they do, and better compensated that suggested by another poster (minimum for agents is $10/hr, the highest in the store for a full time non management employee).

    While not agents are experts on computer repair (as to be expected with the pay rate which is below industry standards), we recognize this, and zone our agents accordingly. In my precinct, we zone our agents based on their abilities. Our newest agents that are not as experienced in repair are trained and zoned on new PC setups. Our best salespeople are trained and zoned on the counter helping customers, and our agents that are well versed in repair perform all our work on old PCs. Of course there is some overlap, but no one repairs computers until the are approved and fully trained. Collectively, we have over 20 years of repair experience in my precinct, and are very good at what we do.

    In closing, please don’t judge the Geek Squad in it’s entirety for the actions of some irresponsible agents with no sense of professional duties. Most of us care about our job and the customers we serve.

  39. JohnMc says:

    justaguy2,

    Hmmm. How can you call something stealing when most likely the person who placed it ont he computer did so ‘free’? One of the concepts associated with theft is that there was a loss of monetary value. If something is given away to you that is not theft be it the original downloader or the GS guy?

    The GS guys problem is they don’t know what was paid for and what was not.

  40. ColdNorth says:

    I had the opportunity to work at BBY HQ for about five months during a consulting gig in a former life. The current witch hunt being undertaken by the strong arm of the inner sanctum against the GS whistle blowers as well as anyone they can ostensibly tie to porn pilfering is really not at all surprising. The people who rise to the top of this organization are adroit at winner-take-all business operations. Actually, they share the same “talent pool” as Target, Northwest Airlines, Wells Fargo and US Bank… all of whom have graced the pages of this fine publication on more than one occasion.

    BBY HQ is all about the team; working together to dominate all opponents. This is a bare knuckle business model that has no tolerance for incompetence (the supervisors who allowed this to happen), unethical behavior (the GSAs who created this mess in the first place) or traitors (the people who went public instead of “keeping it within proper channels”.) Their goal is to WIN and anyone who gets in the way of this will be dealt with.

    By my read of this situation, BBY is really not concerned about the “PR Impact” of their witch hunt. What they really want to do is get the GS structure back under control and set an example for any other would-be whistle blowers. They have undoubtedly made a very calculated decision that their legal department and flush bank accounts will outlast any potential lawsuit shenanigans from “former agents” who wish to test the tort waters.

    Alas, I believe they only really care about what happens on these pages insofar as it makes it into the “mainstream media.” Otherwise, they know all too well who their customers are and how little they really pay attention to these sort of “fringe stories”.

  41. Dan25 says:

    @Buran: You are absolutely right. There is no business need for them to go through personal files, and especialy to copy them.

  42. JustAGuy2 says:

    @JohnMc:

    Fair point – stealing wasn’t the best word. Taking, then. In any case, copying the files of customers for one’s own use is unacceptable behavior.

  43. guroth says:

    Simple Solution!

    On their application add a multiple choice question that outlines a typical scenario and have the answers be:
    a) search their computer for porn and steal it
    b) search their computer for porn but not copy it
    c) do not search their computer for porn

    this should weed out applicants nicely!

  44. faust1200 says:

    Poor Geek Squad agents, let me hand you a Kleenex….Oh I see you already have one.

  45. cde says:

    @Buran:

    @nequam:

    And that is exactly what I’m trying to say. In the eyes of the law, and trespassing/unauthorized access of a computer system, it is either all or none. You can’t be selective of tresspassing. They have your permission or not. Now, the unauthorized copy is a seperate offense, which I’m sure there is a federal stature for as well (Which would supersede the state one). But come to think of it, how many people will testify saying that the porn, which as evidence would need to be shown, is theirs (as in porn that they made)?

    @guroth: That’s about as usefull as Target’s “Do you like to play with fire or fire starting tools?” is to weed out pyros.

  46. dbeahn says:

    @Buran: I never said it wasn’t wrong. I never said it didn’t violate laws. It isn’t, however, a criminal issue.

    You did say it was a criminal issue. You were wrong. I notice that even after insinuating that these guys don’t have honor or integrity because they look for porn on other people’s PC, you don’t seem to have the honor or integrity to admit that you made a moronic statement in asserting that it was a criminal act of computer trespass for them to snoop. Clearly it is not.

    Hey! With your ethics you’d probably make a great Geek Squad agent. At least you’d get some porn out of it…

    @nequam: “What you are ignoring is the fact that many states (including California, where Santa Clarita is located) makes unauthorized copying of data a crime in and of itself, and without regard to intellectual propery issues. What these GS jokers did seems to fit the bill.”

    I’d be interested to see that statute. Whether or not this sort of thing would be covered would depend on what the statute says.

  47. nequam says:

    @dbeahn: Funny how you call BURAN wrong for saying its a criminal issue, but then reveal in your reply to my comment that you aren’t sure.

    Check out Cal. Penal Code sec. 502(c)(2).

  48. what is ironic is that I applied for Geek Squad once. What can I say I was curious and work was slow. their application process asks a little too much and I canceled out before it was done. I mean, you dont need my SSN unless I am hired. you really dont need to know my mothers maiden name or any of that stuff. If you cant background check me with my name address and phone number than you are lazy.

  49. Buran says:

    @cde: I can give you permission to look at one thing and not another. If you look at both, you’re still guilty of trespass. Go directly to jail, do not pass Go, do not cllect $200.

  50. Buran says:

    @dbeahn: Actually, computer trespass is a violation of the Patriot Act now. You can indeed be prosecuted for unauthorized access to a system.

  51. dbeahn says:

    @nequam: “Funny how you call BURAN wrong for saying its a criminal issue, but then reveal in your reply to my comment that you aren’t sure.”

    No, what I said was that it wasn’t the criminal issue Buran said it was. I go on in my reply to your comment to cite what BURAN had said. Here’s the relevant part for you from the comment I made that you’re replying to:
    “asserting that it was a criminal act of computer trespass for them to snoop. Clearly it is not.”

    I went on to say that according to you, there may in some places be other State statutes that cover what you referred to. If my comment to BURAN is still unclear to you, please let me know.

    As to the statute you cite, here’s the relevant part: “(2) Knowingly accesses and without permission takes, copies, or
    makes use of any data from a computer, computer system, or computer
    network, or takes or copies any supporting documentation, whether
    existing or residing internal or external to a computer, computer
    system, or computer network.”

    This wouldn’t apply because the customer gives permission to access and copy (backups) when they sign the computer in. The code would have to be re-written in a more specific manner to define how and where the data may be copied when permission is given.

  52. nequam says:

    @cde: There is a federal statute, but it is limited in scope as compared to representative state statutes (including California). The scope of preemption also is limited.

  53. nequam says:

    @dbeahn: Don’t rephrase your own comments. What you said is: “I never said it didn’t violate laws. It isn’t, however, a criminal issue. You did say it was a criminal issue. You were wrong.” There is no qualifying language in this statement. What you said is that it is not a criminal issue. period. You may have meant something else, but you didn’t write it.

    Also, your reading of the statute is stilted. The statute in fact is broad in how it frames unauthorized access. The scope of permission defines how the data may be used. Assuming a customer gives permission to make backup copies, that would not include copies for the tech’s personal use.

    You get all hot and bothered. Consider using that energy to get a law degree.

  54. dbeahn says:

    @nequam: I didn’t “rephrase” anything. Maybe you should read the entire comment, since the part I even copied and pasted for you came later in the comment you referred to? I literally copied and pasted from my original comment the section you refer to when you say “Don’t rephrase your own comments.”

    Yes, I said, as you correctly quote, “I never said it didn’t violate laws. It isn’t, however, a criminal issue. You did say it was a criminal issue. You were wrong.”

    Later in that same comment, I went on to clarify that he had:”made a moronic statement in asserting that it was a criminal act of computer trespass for them to snoop. Clearly it is not.”

    You get very holier than thou. Consider using that energy to improve your reading comprehension.

    You still haven’t established that it is ANY sort of criminal issue, even in the State of California. The statute makes no mention of the scope of permission, other than to say one either has, or does not have, said permission to access, copy, etc. It goes on to define a few, select areas where some sections of the statute specifically doesn’t apply (as provided in subdivision h). It doesn’t in any way state or imply that said permission comes with any qualifications, restrictions, etc. etc. Because of that a court would have to rule on each action.

    The statute DOES define:
    (8) “Injury” means any alteration, deletion, damage, or
    destruction of a computer system, computer network, computer program,
    or data caused by the access.
    (9) “Victim expenditure” means any expenditure reasonably and
    necessarily incurred by the owner or lessee to verify that a computer
    system, computer network, computer program, or data was or was not
    altered, deleted, damaged, or destroyed by the access.

    Good luck proving injury or expenditure because your porn was copied (generally speaking. In specific cases where someone posts some amature nude pics stolen by the geek squad on a pay for porn site then maybe you could prove injury and expenditure)

    Setting all that aside, there’s another problem with your argument. Specifically that any “scope of permission” would be defined by the document that the customer signs when giving the computer to Best Buy. No matter what the customer may think, or what the customer may say, it is what the customer SIGNS that defines said permission. We don’t seem to have a copy of the document that frames the permissions that you’re trying to argue.

    Again, my guess is that BBY legal has covered this in the boilerplate to protect the company from possible civil action that would follow criminal procedures against one of their employees. No way to prove that without a copy of that contract, which I don’t have handy.

  55. swalve says:

    Of course it’s stealing. They are taking something that isn’t theirs. Doesn’t matter the genesis of the thing in question. If you steal a stolen car, you still stole it. If you copy an MP3 that has gone around the internet a million times, if you don’t have a license from the artist/record company, you’ve stolen it. Even if the porn is stolen, you are accessing and copying data that isn’t yours to have. Stealing.

  56. dbeahn says:

    @swalve: Yes, but are you going to call the cops and say “Hey, someone stole the car that I stole!!!”?

  57. cyrusu says:

    As a current geek somewhat familiar with procedure, Best Buy has very strict policies concerning any employee speaking to the media; that’s likely the official reason for the supervisor and others being fired. It’s bad enough with the crap a sup has to deal with, but you’re plain asking for it if you’re going to make an obvious break in reg.
    As for the acts done by whatever the hell location did it, those caught deserve whatever come to them. You do your job wrong and you get terminated, period. But I don’t know why people are blowing this up like it’s the discovery of Jesus’ bones or something. This is hardly new. Hell, I’ve peeped a few times while performing data backups when at times customers will be open enough to straight up tell me what they have and get my fill of laughs.
    To clairfy the current article, precincts are being asked to hook up their hard drives and flash drives to their main pc so corporate can take a look at them. It’s definitely a less than aggressive posture they’re taking, but they’re certainly not deaf.

  58. nequam says:

    @dbeahn: Ha ha ha ha.

    Nice job cutting and pasting definitions. Now go back and read that neither of those definitions have anything to do with whether a crime has occurred, but rather what the potential penalties are. And here’s the kicker: Those penalty provisions do not apply to 502(c)(2). Rather, they apply to (c)(3), (c)(6), (c)(7) and (c)(8). The other subsections of (c) carry criminal penalties without regard to injury or expenditure.

    Oh, I didn’t argue what the substance of the permissions might be. In fact, it was YOU who stated that: “the customer gives permission to access and copy (backups) when they sign the computer in.” I then responded that “assuming” that to be the case ….

    Do you see the problem here? I agreed with you for purposes of my comment. Yet you’re now trying to use that against me. Bravo!

  59. cde says:

    @Buran: Jaywalking is also a violation of the Patriot Act. Any crime can be considered domestic terrorism according to it.

    @dbeahn: The victim of someone posting their pics online couldn’t get restitution from that stature because that is not a violation of it. They would need to fight under other statures, such as copyright infringement or sexual harrasment.

  60. PlanetExpressdelivery says:

    The big problem I have is that homemade pornography and private media stolen by Geek Squad employees have the potential of making it’s way onto filesharing websites and online forums. Not really pleasant to think that friends or family might inadvertantly become famous because of something that was suppose to remain private. I actually believe that victims of this practice should be allowed to sue for punitive damages and personal grief.

  61. Topcat says:

    Talk about making a big fuss out of something not worth the time.

    People, theyre stealing porn. If you have porn on your computer and drop it off at a desk of young, underpaid geeky men with unlimited storage space, you’d be stupid to believe theyre not going to copy the good stuff.

    Just be thankful that this wasnt about Geek Squad employees stealing all your online banking passwords out of the autocomplete feature in your web browser.

    Want to curb porn-stealing? Firing them won’t help. It just reinforces the fact that the higher-ups have no way of monitoring whats going on, so theyre relying on the shotgun method of discipline. Hire competent, well-trained supervisors and it would be a different story.

  62. miburo says:

    @TOPCAT “Just be thankful that this wasnt about Geek Squad employees stealing all your online banking passwords out of the autocomplete feature in your web browser.”

    That would be more important than anything said on this blog about this subject by far, but that doesn’t bring in the click-thru’s like Porn does so obviously it’s slated for a later article…. much later

  63. Ghosx says:

    Y’know what, this shit is just plain petty. Heck, let’s even throw aside the Geek Squad angle. If you bring your computer to a repair tech at ANY retailer, DUH, he (or she) is probably going to look through it if they’re bored enough (or if they need to do so to accomplish the job).

    Is it right? No. But there isn’t jack shit you can do about it, nor is there anything the repair vendor can do about it aside from hire someone to stand over the shoulder of the guy doing the work. Just what the hell do you expect be done about it (within realistic reason)?

    You guys don’t report these stories out of any sort of nobility. You’re just looking for whatever dirt you can dig up to throw in the face of “the man” just for sport. This then triggers witch hunts company-wide, people get canned for sneezing wrong, and all sorts of new bureaucracy and red tape complicates everything in ways that end up accomplishing little except killing productivity, and generally makes the job even more miserable.

    Grow the fuck up.

    If you’re worried about some stranger browsing your pr0n, then learn to back up your shit so that you won’t need him to retrieve it when your drive goes bust.

  64. obvi0us says:

    it may seem “morally right” to blow the whistle on something like this. but what this idiot agent doesnt understand is he’s potentially hurting agents that had nothing to do with this whole thing. Geek Squad agents generally get paid between $9 and $13 per hour. This is garbage wages for a technician. This agent thinks he can right the company by telling corporate about the actions of his fellow agents… Brett Haddock: they dont give a SHIT about YOU!! The only thing corporate worries about is making the numbers and to do that they pay talented (generalization) young people shit wages. That is disrespect, I believe. Brett Haddock, go to hell.

  65. TyroneShoelaces says:

    Okay…here’s the deal. Repair people are nothing more than salespeople with an incentive to sale things. I’m not familiar with Best Buy’s policies but if they are like other places I’ve been around, the techs do have quotas to meet.

    By meeting those quotas, they are not guaranteed anything…not even keeping their job.

    So…a tech who does his job well, meets his quotas, could still be terminated, as a friend was, for not selling enough useless repairs. I mean come on…virus scans? Defrag the HD? Install an external HD?

    If you have any technical item and do not know how to use it, then you have no business having it. It’s irresponsible.

    But for Best Buy to punish employees on a hunch..is proof positive of what kind of company that they have become.

    We saw evidence of it when they began segregating consumers into Suzie Homemakers, Flash tech people, and Devils who came in for loss leaders only. Then we saw it when they became even more contentious with their return policy…people buying laptops and never having taken possession of it, being charge 15% restocking fees.

    And we have seen it as their return policy and price match policy have been reduced to pretty much in name only. Have you ever tried to return something to Best Buy?

    You have to stand in line for upwards of an hour at times, and then the item is taken from you and given to a tech to test and only if the tech can replicate your problem will you be compensated.

    Best Buy is the role-model for companies with bad customer relations policies. They continue to succeed in spite of how they have treated their customers. It’s sort of like a case of battered-spouse syndrome…we know they are going to batter us and we keep going back to forgive them.

    The whole thing has gotten silly and out of hand.

  66. TurboFool says:

    This is really upsetting. Most of the Geek Squad members at the Santa Clarita Best Buy are friends of mine, and I’ve never known any of them to do any of this. Them getting canned for this crap is absurd and unfair. Getting fired for actually stealing from customers? Fine. But for being in the same store as a whistle-blower? Uh-uh.

    I’m on the fence about my feelings toward this Brett guy (still don’t remember him). I’m all for the rights of whistle-blowers, but I don’t feel like he actually helped anyone here. Copying files that have already been stolen off of file-sharing sights isn’t exactly much of a crime. And some of the tasks customers expect computer technicians to perform directly involve them going through personal files. When you have someone work on your computer it’s much more than letting them into your home. It’s more like asking them to work, unassisted, in your bedroom and bathroom for a few hours and go through whatever drawers and closets might be related to the problem.

    More reasons why not to go to the Geek Squad. They have no standards for their employees, and the good ones get fired when the average ones put them in a bad light.

  67. susm says:

    @TYRONESHOELACES

    They didn’t punish on a hunch. They fired people who spoke out saying they stole customers data. I think its great how much this website has spread so much hate for one company that when they fire an employee for admitting to the press that they stole data they get a bad wrap for it.

    The staff here has also proven how childish they are by doing this report finding that someone stole their data and then refusing to admit who it was. It’s hard to hold the accountable parties responsible when you don’t know who they are. Then you bash the company for not firing that person you refuse to name? what the hell.

  68. nofxpunx1980 says:

    What about the photo-processing centers that have to ‘verify’ the contents of the photograph before printing? what about the many ppl that print ‘extra’ copies of your prints – or refuse to print photographs that are legal , but conflict with their ‘corporate morals’? Any time you allow another person access to your home (appraisals, movers, cleaners/maids), car (repair shops, touch-up/detailers), and even computer, you put yourself at risk for individuals to take the opportunity to poke through your stuff. I think that underpaid employees lead to higher rates of this. Crimes of opportunity are just that – if you give them the opportunity to do it, most likely it will happen. I used to work for GS *(store/state/name/etc will NOT be mentioned). We have lead authorities to arrest people for child pornography when we had to look around a hdd to figure out where all the data is being ‘used’ on an ‘empty’, fresh-OS-installed computer that a non-tech-savvy user brought in to have an extra hdd put in. essentially he just wanted more room for kiddie porn — who figured!? We have had customers come in asking us JUST to back up their porn….. “oh, and [their] anniversary-dinner pics too” :-) Our information-age technology doesn’t really allow for anyone to remain private outside their homes (and with the internet and remote/wireless/internet cameras — inside either). CYA – it’s too late to worry about that porn being found AFTER your computer breaks. Dont want it found, dont leave it on there. and for GOD’s sake, dont have it as your BACKGROUND!!

  69. agent2600 says:

    @TyroneShoelaces:

    if you have any technical item and do not know how to use it, then you have no business having it. It’s irresponsible.

    I could not agree more. How can you own somting with out a basic working knowlage of it? I don’t own a single thing that I don’t atleast know the bascs of how it works (yes that includes my TV, Car, Toliet, Refridgerator, Computer, Cell Phone, Toaster ect ,ect ,ect)

    I meen comon? How can you use somthing every day and have no idea how it works? If that i was me, the world would be a truley frightening place.

    I am in no way saying im an expert in everything, but i will say, there is very few problems that people bring into best buy that they shouldn’t be able to figure out on your own.

    Did you know best buy uses 90% freeware and demos to diagnose and fix your computer?

    It’s just the average consumer is to stupid (or lazy) to figure it out own there own.

    computers are NOT that complex and they have not changed that much since the 70s (if anything they have gotten simpler)

    If you don’t know how a computer works, or how to fix the basics (harddrive replacement, backing up data, OS install, ect) on your own, you shouldn’t be using one in the first place.

    Its like owning a gun and pointing it in the wrong direction because you don’t know how it works.

  70. Brett.Haddock says:

    The context in which “porn” is used in this instance refers to personal pictures of people in a compromising fashion, ie, “Amateur porn” as it were. Personal pictures that people take of their Wives/girlfriends/themselves etc, things that are NOT freely available on the internet.

  71. JustAGuy2 says:

    @agent2600:

    “It’s just the average consumer is to [sic] stupid (or lazy) to figure it out own [sic] there [sic] own.”

    Pot, meet kettle.

  72. CubsIn07 says:

    I have never posted on this site, but after reading some of this, felt the need to help end some of the debate. THIS IS NOT ILLEAGAL. This has already been ruled on by the high courts. Now this is taken from memory so may not be 100%, but i’m sure someone with more time can find the case file. I want to say it was 4 or 5 years ago and if i remember correctly i think it was actually Circuit City that was involved. The courts ruled that when you hand over your PC are giving permission to everything on that computer. I remember in the case notes they felt this fit under the same statue as a previous case that was already ruled on. That case involved a car that was taken to the shop and drugs where found in the trunk. The owner who was arrested used the argument that it was illgeal search and tresspass because the shop had no reason to open the trunk. As you can imaigne he lost as the courts ruled that when you hand over your property to another individual you give up your rights to search and tresspass. If i find the case and get approved i will post it. That being said i in no way think it is right, just not illegal.

    Next thing, for all those that think this is a Best Buy problem or a pay problem please take your heads out of the sand. I have been in the computer industry for many years and i have seen very well paid people fired for the same thing. Also, know of many other companies this happens at. I can tell you that i know of cases where a manufacturer has returned computers unrepaired and notified the police because child porn was found. I won’t tell you the name of the company cause this isn’t about them, but how do you think they found it. Someone had to be looking through the files on the computer. That’s what has sorta had me torn on these issues. If you look at many cases of child porn they are often uncovered by someone uncovering them on the perps computer. So, while the person should not have been looking through the files, this led to the arrest of someone who is a sick sick person. Or how about the Circuit City(?) employee who recently uncovered a terroist plot to attack a military base because he looked through the files on a customers computer? I don’t recall one story why he was invading the customers privacy, i do recall a lot of stories on how he was a hero.

    So like many things this is not a black and white issue. To me if it means more sick pervets get caught with child porn cause techs are looking through files, go ahead and look at my files when i drop my computer off. Sadly, i am one of the few that feel this way.