Best Buy Busts Middle-school Janitor For Having Child Porn

Best Buy’s Geek Squad tech repair service helped bust a middle-school custodian for having child porn on his hard-drive. Fox9 reports:

Geek Squad employees viewed over 800 images contained in a folder titled XXXYOUNGS. The images featured young girls believed to be between the ages of 7 and 15. In some of the pictures the children were nude; in others, they were engaged in sexual acts with adult males.

You would think they could stop after the first couple or so. Pedophiles should die a thousand deaths, but no doubt police appreciate that some tech services are now performing warrantless searches of citizen’s hard drives for them.

Middle School Employee Charged with Child Pornography Possession [FOX9] (Thanks to Nick!)

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  1. The Great Aussie Evil says:

    Giving your computer to BB waives your right against search/seizure, right? Otherwise, this perv may get off scot-free…

  2. Parting says:

    Geek Squad is still good for something. (Since they are no good at repairs!)

  3. Parting says:

    @Aussie-Evil: Pretty much.

  4. new and troubling questions says:

    Geez, you’d think that before he hands his computer over he’d bother to sweep the hard drive clean (no pun intended, hahaha)

  5. DallasDMD says:

    @Aussie-Evil: BB isn’t police.

    Did the BB employees actually view over 800 images? I hope that is poor wording on the part of the news writer.

  6. Dead Wrestlers Society says:

    I know of at least two teachers I had growing up that were arrested for molesting kids. They always go to where the fish are. I wonder what kind of background check they did on this guy.

  7. se7a7n7 says:

    As bad as it sounds, I bet some of those pictures ended up with at least 1 of the Geek Squad employess.

  8. zibby says:

    Seems to me it’s kinda like bringing your car in for repair while having a leaky stiff in the trunk. It’s stupid, and the warrantless search that occurs when the mechanic finds the body probably ain’t gonna get tossed…

  9. sickofthis says:

    Best Buy employees aren’t really covered by the search-and-seizure provisions of the Constitution. If you’re dumb enough to leave your kiddie porn on your computer (and evil enough to have it in the first place), you deserve whatever happens next.

    Kudos to the BB employees for turning this guy in. For all they knew, the abuse of the kids was ongoing, and bringing it to the attention of the police might have put a stop to it. Child porn prosecutions often go beyond mere possession of pictures.

  10. nutrigm says:

    So it is confirmed that bestbuy WILL snoop around your computer when you leave it with them for repairing. That’s very comforting for people who file taxes and store other personal stuff on their computers!

  11. TechnoDestructo says:

    I wonder if they copied it before they turned it over to the police?

  12. The Great Aussie Evil says:

    @DallasDMD: Ew. That makes me see the Geek Squad as no better than Mr. Janior here.

  13. picardia says:

    This is why you always title your porn file “Accounting Records.”

    Seriously, the Geek Squad did the right thing. With that file name, they were undoubtedly suspicious — and for good reason.

  14. AgentTed says:

    I work for the Geek Squad. My only comment is that we do not go looking for child porn. Depending on the service being done, we hardly ever go into personal files. If we DO come across child porn, we mention it to our manager ONLY. They then notify the police.

  15. Isn’t this akin to people at the photo-mat who turn people in for kiddie porn when it’s their grandkids? Or the people stupid enough to take pictures of their baby on a blanket with a pile of weed.

  16. @picardia: They probably did a search for image files. I once brought my laptop into a independent place, and made all of the files invisible. Guy did a search and ragged me about it when I picked it up. He did compliment my choice of the picture I used for the jigsaw puzzle.

  17. DallasDMD says:

    @picardia: So you’d go clicking on a folder that says XXXYOUNG out of curiosity?

    I’d avoid it, especially when it comes time to explain to the authorities and my boss why I was purposefully looking at such a folder.

  18. DallasDMD says:

    @GitEmSteveDave: I sure hope so. The Consumerist did a “sting” operation several months ago and recorded Geeksquad employees copying some provocatively named folders off of the ‘honey pot’ PC onto a USB drive.

    The employees might be perverts themselves.

  19. DeeJayQueue says:

    Geek squad don’t care about your accounting information. They want your pr0nz and your w4r3z.

  20. IrisMR says:

    I’m glad they caught the guy but I’m torn. I hope they chop his balls and dick off with a rusty knife then put salt on the wound. BUT computer repair teams should dictate a privacy rule saying that you will not look at the data in the guy’s computer.

    Unless the shit was all over his desktop of course. Then he’s just asking for it.

  21. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    @zibby: Maybe not for a dead guy, but the defense would clearly go for the “images were planted” avenue.

    I used to freelance for a while repairing computers. I didn’t make a lot of money at it, but the thought of extorting large fees in exchange for me not tipping the cops off about kiddie porn I planted, er, found on their machine did cross my mind.

  22. Saboth says:

    I applaud that a child porn viewer was arrested. However, anyone else worried about the laws being passed that are hailed as “necessary to catch predators”, but merely allow the gov’t to monitor your web viewing, emails, hard drive content, travel destinations, etc…etc… Seems like we are giving up a lot of rights to catch a few hundred sick people. Wondering if the cost is worth the payoff (and yes, I am very much pro rights, and anti big government).

  23. faust1200 says:

    “Best Buy’s Geek Squad tech repair service helped bust a middle-school custodian for having child porn on his hard-drive.”…..yet was unable to fix the man’s computer.

  24. NoWin says:

    @tmccartney: Best Buy employees aren’t really covered by the search-and-seizure provisions of the Constitution.

    I concur. I think it is that the Child-Porn Laws actually require an individual (ergo, employee or corporate entity in this case) to report child porn or child abuse to the police when discovered “in any form”.

  25. lowlight69 says:

    i’m not a lawyer so i’m just thinking here, but if the BB techs called the cops, could the cops not use this evidence as grounds for a search warrant? then search his house? i’m guessing the guy had/has a lot more of that stuff at home. since i assume that his expectation of privacy is 0 when he gives the computer to BB, i can see that evidence being admissible, if it is admissible then getting a warrant for his residence should be fairly easy. i think the images could certainly show probable cause. again i’m not a lawyer, just thinking out loud.

  26. themediatrix says:

    Photo labs (remember those?) are supposed to report such things as well.

    I’m glad they turned him in, but I’m disappointed if the employees really did view so many of the images. There’s something to be said for keeping your mind free of such things.

  27. SOhp101 says:

    @picardia: Aww you’re giving away the secret! ;)

    Anyone who brings their computer to Geek Squad probably doesn’t have enough knowledge to know how to back up these files to another location.

  28. noquarter says:

    @IrisMR: And others: There’s nothing in the news story to suggest that he molested any kids. Anyone suggesting violence against someone who has screwed-up sexual desires, but who hasn’t acted on those desires beyond looking at pictures, is a bit out of line.

  29. UpsetPanda says:

    @Saboth: Not a few hundred sick people. More like a few thousand. With the number of burgeoning pedophiles, child porn lovers, molesters and not to mention those who fall through the cracks by being “productive” members of society who have normal jobs and no criminal record, there are a lot of people out there who are just a-ok with something so disgusting. It’s not just about the people on the internet who look at photos, it’s about the people who hang around schools and playgrounds, and people who solicit young children. These people are largely undocumented, and even those who are released, registered in databases and are kept away from children still have access to innocuous items such as magazines and books, and can still live in whatever fantasies they remember about their ‘past life’ before being caught. Many of these people are not cured – they’re just released for good behavior while in prison.

  30. semanticantics says:

    That store is about a mile from my moms house.

  31. GothamGal says:

    I cannot believe that any of you are saluting Best Buy employees for this. I am not condoning the behavior of the pedophile, but if someone from Best Buy finds your personal records and steals someone’s identity, you would be singing a different tune. They should just do their job and not snoop through your files. Let’s not pretend that they are upstanding citizens.

  32. gniterobot says:

    The story left out one part.

    “Employees first viewed and COPIED FOR PERSONAL use all 800 photos before turning them over to police”

    Fixed that.

  33. FreemanB says:

    Read the article, people! “In August 2007, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office received reports that a hard drive sent to the Best Buy Geek Squad in Maplewood for data recovery contained child pornography.” He specifically asked them to inspect his hard drive and recover data from it. While doing that, they found a directory named “XXXyoungs”. In this case, there was every reason to expect they would actually have to examine the hard drive in question. Otherwise, how would they be able to determine they had actually recovered the information as he had instructed them?

    As for the legality of the search, the laws about search warrants only apply to agents of the government, not to corporations. You can still sue them in civil court, but that doesn’t affect whether the information they gathered can be used in criminal court. As long as the police followed the rules, the evidence will be admitted. In this case, the article states that based on the evidence presented by Best Buy, they obtained a warrant to gather more evidence. The police, acting on information and evidence obtained from a private citizen, obtained a search warrant in order to uncover evidence. That’s the way it is supposed to work.

    Now if the police ever asked Best Buy(Or any computer repair shop) to search a computer, they would then be acting as an agent of the state, making them subject to the same rules as police officers. But as long as they are acting in their own interests(Repairing a computer, looking for free porn, or whatever), evidence found by computer techs can still be used in criminal court.

  34. dgcaste says:

    @JD: Not to mention this creates a demand for the creation of such porn. This is also about the victims.

  35. theblackdog says:

    Well now that it confirms that Best Buy employees snoop in computers while they’re under repair, I will never buy a computer from them.

  36. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Before calling the cops, I’m sure the BB employees posted their findings on miscellaneous message boards for the peanut gallery to ridicule.

    I think we can all agree that exploitation of children is wrong, but the BB employees aren’t exactly saints here. As noted in previous Consumerist stories, they’re snooping hard drives for movies, music, pics, and whatever else. It would really suck if they copied all those DRM-free Amazon and itunes music you bought, and then posted them on P2P networks. Because those files do contain some meta data about you, and you might find yourself on the receiving end of a RIAA lawsuit.

  37. joemono says:

    @NOQUARTER: A child must be abused in order for this guy to have the pictures in the first place. There is absolutely no use for these kind of people in society.

  38. ClayS says:

    @GothamGal:

    Very true. My computer contains my passwords for financial accounts, quicken data, business information. I would have to be crazy to give my computer to these people for repair.

    The answer is to backup important data and consider the computer disposable if you can’t repair it yourself.

  39. FreemanB says:

    Long post just got eaten, so I’ll do a short one. Most of you condemning Best Buy seems to have missed something in the article:

    “In August 2007, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office received reports that a hard drive sent to the Best Buy Geek Squad in Maplewood for data recovery contained child pornography.”

    He brought the hard drive in specifically for them to try to recover files from it. You can argue about whether they normally look through files, but in this case, that’s essentially what he was asking them to do. While recovering information from the hard drive, they saw a folder name that made them suspicious. If I saw “XXXyoungs” on a computer folder, I think I might suspect something there also. I can’t really find any fault with their behavior in this situation.

    And no matter how unethical the actions of the Geek Squad may be, it doesn’t change whether the evidence they obtained can be used in a court of law. That is determined by the actions of the police after they receive the report of the evidence. If they don’t follow procedure at that point, the evidence can be thrown out.

  40. FreemanB says:

    Grr, double post :(

  41. uricmu says:

    This might be a stupid legal question, but isn’t it illegal to view that stuff, not just own it?

    In other words, once you’ve determined that there may be illegal material on the drive (e.g., from the filename), wouldn’t actually opening it be a criminal offense?

  42. strathmeyer says:

    Indeed; who are these people who give their things to others and don’t expect them to be trifled through with a fine toothed comb?

  43. This proves only two things to me:
    1) People can be arrested even if the evidence is not obtained by police with a warrant for the search (I want to hear from a police officer near me that the discovery of something illegal on my computer negates any “rights” against warrantless search & seizure I may hold).
    2) Best Buy still isn’t doing their job and is still looking for porn rather than what he’s supposed to be doing? Why do I say this, XXXYOUNGS could easily refer to “teens” (aka, the so-called “Barely Legal” porn sites). Also, it’s also the fact that it was… in a Folder. What does this mean? The Tech deliberately opened the folder obviously in search of pornography and instead discovered Child Porn much to his chagrin because it meant he couldn’t legally keep it. “Geek Squad employees viewed over 800 pictures”? Who are the true perverts here…

  44. @uricmu: Exhibition and/or Possession of Child Pornography is considered a federal offense if I am not mistaken. I know for a fact it’s a felony.

  45. Upsilon says:

    Remember, Best Buy, possession is nine tenths of the law >.>
    I mean seriously, why can’t they ever bust big businesses for possesion?

  46. IphtashuFitz says:

    @uricmu: A filename is not a crime. If I created a subdirectory on my computer called “XXX_kiddie_porn” and put a file in there called “kiddie_sex.jpg”, how do you know that it’s actually what the file name states? Maybe I have a picture of a Kiddie ™ brand fire extinguisher in a compromising position. You going to call the cops on me based just on a filename?

  47. ClayS says:

    @Papa Midnight:

    You also have to ask yourself, what would happen if a Geek squad employee placed pornography on a computer in for repair. Say, someone he didn’t like for some reason?

  48. AD8BC says:

    @FreemanB: There was an interesting Law & Order SVU episode that illustrates your point.

    It involved a girl breaking and entering to find a piece of evidence against someone else. Had she done it on her own, the evidence would have been admissible (although she might be subject to criminal charges for the breaking and entering). However she was under the false believe that a police detective told her to do so (he had told her to “bring in what she could find” but he didn’t tell her to break and enter to get it. It was, however, thrown out.

    Until the defense attorney asked his client a question under oath and the defendant’s answer contradicted the piece of evidence in question (which was a journal that he kept). Because his counsel opened the door, the evidence became admissible again.

    I know I’ll get flamed for using a fictional example but I was so interested in the legalities on this particular episode that I had a lengthy discussion with an attorney friend about it, and it’s pretty close to reality.

    So, unless a cop asks you to snoop, if you find something in the course of your normal actions, the evidence is fair game.

    I equate this to MSNBC and their “To Catch a Predator” show. I have been torn on the whole idea of the show for a while (I’m strangely addicted to it yet I thought for a long time it was some sort of entrapment). They may have a decoy pose as an underage piece of jail bait, but the pervert makes all the moves. At which point, even if the police weren’t involved up to this point, it becomes valid evidence.

  49. noquarter says:

    @joemono: I agree. Everyone who has thoughts that I find morally objectionable should be killed in the most painful way possible. They should also be held accountable for the actions of everyone who has similar thoughts. So maybe killed twice then.

  50. AD8BC says:

    @Upsilon: Posession is illegal, of course… but not if the illegally possessed material is handed to you unknowingly. Then it is your duty to report it.

    Unless of course you are referring to them copying it off and keeping it for their own use. Then you are correct.

  51. AD8BC says:

    @ClayS: That is an excellent point. Of course, by this point, the police have already obtained warrants to search the suspect’s personal property, and, being as the perp is too stoopid to hide/delete his kiddie porn, he is probably dumb enough to have flash disks with it, hard copies, or perhaps another computer. If the police cannot find anything other than pictures of Jesus, and perhaps some holy water, at his home (unless, perhaps he is a Catholic priest (ouch!), then they will probably start looking at the Geek Squad to see if they planted the evidence.

  52. CrunchBite says:

    @uricmu: Depends on the circumstances. Most CP laws have provisions for accidental viewing. If some jerkbag posts some on a random message board you frequent, you aren’t in any kind of trouble, assuming you don’t go saving it or something.

    Also while I don’t like Best Buy digging through personal property, there’s nothing legally wrong here. Private citizens aren’t covered by search and seizure and it’s been that way for a loooong time. If I break into your house and find a stash of pot, I can report it to the police and it’s usually enough for probable cause for a warrant. Of course I’d still be in trouble for breaking and entering, but in this case Best Buy isn’t in any such trouble.

    Anyone who brings their computer to Best Buy is an idiot. Anyone who does it without encrypting sensitive data is a double idiot.

  53. AgentTed says:

    Obviously, you guys have never recovered data before. I work for the Geek Squad. We aren’t “hunting” for your porn. If we happen to see child porn while we are doing the task you paid for, we will turn it over to the police.

  54. wellfleet says:

    FYI: When you leave your computer with Geek Squad you sign a 10-item agreement, one of which is that if we find child porn on your computer that we will turn your computer over to the authorities. Another clause, which people happily sign but hardly ever read, is that you must back up all your information because some of it may be lost when the comp is restored.
    Why do people sign contracts without reading them? I feel like half of the articles on Consumerist would not exist if consumers made it a point to understand and review any and all contracts, including service agreements, before purchase.
    That said, my store has sent a notorious child porn ringleader to jail and I couldn’t be more proud.

  55. wellfleet says:

    We see pictures, directories, file names, etc. during the normal data transfer process. Our agents are way too busy to sit around looking at porn, although many of our customers come in for us to back up their porn collection.

    It’s utterly frightening how many people are crying out against search and seizure when it does not apply in this case.

    Additionally, while a doctor is ethically bound to patient confidentiality, he is obligated to contact police if he knows a child is being abused, just like on Law & Order SVU! (watching it right now)

  56. create says:

    He won’t get off on the charges… I worked at a mom and pop repair shop, and some guy came in with some kiddie porn (granted, he wasn’t that bright and it was right in his “My Documents” folder… which with xp, any folder with enough images defaults to thumbnail view… kind of hard to miss), I call the cops, and we were informed by the guy from the DA’s office handling my grand jury testimony said i was required by law to report it.

    [buffalo.fbi.gov] <– That is my handy work :)

  57. Mr. Gunn says:

    Isn’t there established case law concerning what happens if you bring a roll of film with similar content in to be developed?

  58. XianZhuXuande says:

    @Aussie-Evil: The check-in sheet at Geeksquad actually discusses child pornography, and that Geeksquad will contact the appropraite authorities if it is discovered on a computer. I’m not sure of the exact legal implications, but I have seen several customers turned in by Geeksquad for child pornography over the years, and all have been prosecuted.

    I too hope that all pictures were not ‘viewed’. It is easy to see something like this working on a computer, though. If a backup was being made, for example, you would see the path to the directory, the directory name (which is pretty obvious), and all the contents flashing past. If discovered, the Geeksquad employee is supposed to stop looking, get a manager, verify that it is actually what it appears to be, and contact the authorities if it is.

  59. Unit01 says:

    The waiver is pretty lock tight, people. Geek Squad’s contract is very straightforward. The people who say Geek Squad wasn’t doing their job will ignore three things.
    1. They make you sign a waiver about this very thing.Sucks if you don’t read the fine print. I for one am glad this guy was too fucking stupid.
    2. Unless you were there, you don’t know what they were doing or if they were looking at the computer for their own uses. Yoou May be in other cases they have, but that’s just it. You don’t know.
    3. If you see illegal activity, the government pretty much wants you do report it. Doesn’t matter if you’re using computers or sheets of paper back in the 1800′s. The shit is still illegal, and the same Constitution and laws that allow for you to report a crime have not changed.

    People will just want to hate on Best buy, even if they did what any sane person would do if you found a computer with kiddie porn. Would any of you let it go? If you can, then any questionable action on Best Buy’s part is dwarfed by the amount of harm that may be inflicted on a child. because you didn’t act. They did the right thing, they followed policy, now man up and admit they did some good.

  60. StevieD says:

    Before reformating a HD, it would be smart to examine a computer to find the data files and make sure the data files are properly saved off the drive before reformating or re-installing the operating system.

    So a tech is looking for files and finds a folder with xxx in the name and is most likely located as the last file in alphabetical order, or the first file for the most recently opened folders.

    Curiousity is a common human trait and xxx just stands out asking for a snoop. Even un-intentional snooping will occur when the tech just takes a peak to make sure the contents are being transferred. And some things are just way to obvious to ignore.

    From my experience, most law enforcement is going to try to gather independent evidence in instances when a civilian has discovered a crime. In this instance the police requested a search warrant and examined the man’s home for additional evidence… and found more evidence. I suspect the police would have dropped the case should the search warrant fail to produce any additional evidence, primarily because the tech at BB could have tampered with the content of the man’s HD.

    So all this event boils down to is the fact that the BB saw something flash before his eyes. The xxx in the name caught his/her attention. The tech called the police. The police developed independent lines of evidence. The perv is going to jail. Everybody is happy except the perv. Life is good.

  61. uricmu says:

    @IphtashuFitz: Actually, you can do that. If the police saw that filename, they’d have reasonable cause to search.

    So, is the bestbuy employee committing a felony?

  62. junkmail says:

    @GitEmSteveDave: Considering the files were labeled “XXXYoung”, I SERIOUSLY doubt your analogy stands.

  63. eelmonger says:

    While there may be nothing legally wrong with what BB did, there’s definitely something morally wrong. Sure it’s right to turn in someone if you happen on child porn while fixing someone’s computer, but unless it’s their desktop image, they probably had to snoop to some degree to find it. If it’s in a folder, even a somewhat suspiciously named one (but young can easily mean 18-20) they still had to open it up. Also, stuff like data recovery and backing up hard drives are largely automated processes. There’s no reason to sit there and watch as the file names go by when you’re supposed to be fixing other computers. Also, if they need to verify that the drive has been backed up or that a CD burner works, they should have some standard procedures like a set of test files to burn or running a program that verifies the copy. GS is snooping, plain simple.

  64. RvLeshrac says:

    @wellfleet:

    That’s funny. You mean they saw the actual images while recovering the data? I’ve never personally seen a general-purpose recovery tool (EasyRecovery, GetDataBack) display the contents of various files during the recovery.

    They opened the images to look at them. End of story. The customer did not ask the employees to look at the images and rifle through the documents. They were asked to obtain the data and place it somewhere else.

  65. RvLeshrac says:

    @RvLeshrac:

    I’d also like to point out, as others have, that “young” does not automatically mean “kiddie porn” (Barely Legal…), nor does “Looks young” automatically mean “kiddie porn” (Tove Jensen, Cytheria, any number of other porn actresses).

    (On that note, where do you draw the line? The government has filed CP charges against a 15 year old for taking pictures of herself. I’m not really sure how it is possible to be both the perpetrator and the victim in the *exact* same breath. Not to mention the aforementioned cases of families taking pictures of their children/grandchildren in the bath, or whatever have you.)

  66. ShadowFalls says:

    I’m surprised by now that isn’t a virus that doesn’t just cripple your pc, but loads kiddie porn onto it too.

    That way all these unsuspecting people take their computers to Best Buy, end up getting arrested, meanwhile pleading their innocence.

    Sounds messed up I know, I am sure someone will implement that eventually… This can be a sick world at times…

    One does figure that they didn’t just come across it by accident, I figure someone was looking. Does XXXyoung mean kiddie porn? I suppose it is possible someone could think that.

    Would you go looking yourself or call the police and have them do it?

    I mean you do have to take into consideration that some people store their porn in a folder on their desktop and name it whatever. Obviously the right thing here was done, but I think many would question how the person arrived at the right thing. More especially, was he sick enough to copy the stuff himself?

  67. forgottenpassword says:

    I definately have no love for pedos or kiddieporn aficionados , but I worry about the police using unofficial outside “agents” as spies for them.

    Especially people whom you pay to do work for you. From the contractor that accidentally opens a closet grow room while looking for the bathroom, the mechanic who finds a secret compartment with a drug stash in my vehicle (that I had no idea about) to the photomat developer that sees a pic of me smoking pot in Amsterdam. Sounds like something from the old informer days of Russia.

    I beleive there was an article about police in NY officially using ambulance crews, meter readers & other people that have access to people’s homes as a crude network of homeland security spies …. all in the name of the “war on terror”.

  68. Raiden47 says:

    @ShadowFalls:

    I recall many, many stories detailing how Geek Squad employees were being fired for stealing porn from customer’s computers.. doesn’t anyone else commenting here remember such things?

  69. forgottenpassword says:

    Ok… imagine this scenario…. you bring in a computer to best buy for repair & it has a folder marked “XXXYoung” that has encrypted files inside.

    Geeksquad dude tells manager, manager tells police, overzealous police (looking to make headlines) take possession of said computer to investigate, break the encryption only to find no kiddie porn. But the police have already spent too much time, resources & money investigating this….. so as to not look like fools & wasting taxpayer money on a wild goosechase… they plant child porn on said computer. You are arrested convicted (because you cant afford expensive lawyers & forensic computer science experts to investigate).

    Dont think this would ever happen?

  70. BeFrugalNotCheap says:

    How can we be sure it was really the guys porn to begin with? For all we know a Geek Squad employee uploaded the files THEN called the police. Maybe they were using the guys PC to “hold” the files then called foul when found by another employee. Furthermore, how can we be sure the females depicted in the said files were’nt adult actresses posing as teens or photoshopped pics found on the net? Or that the guy bought a used PC and never had the know-how or foresightedness to search for such files? So now he’s screwed because files were uploaded without him knowing? I know he’s an older man and this is no excuse however alot of people don’t think of doing a deep search of a HD after purchased. So he can be pursecuted for his ignorance of PC maintainance? What if it was a grandchild or hacker who wanted to f*** with the guy and his network was weak. Seems BB is beginning to fancy themselves as the Batman of porn. They had no right to call the cops and they should be sued. Plain and simple.

  71. mgyqmb says:

    @AgentTed: You must be the geek squad agent they always showed us when I used to work there as the “model” employee. Whenever my coworkers would find porn, they’d show everyone on the staff, then copy it and finish the work.

  72. eelmonger says:

    @forgottenpassword: If the files are encrypted they can’t do much about it. It would take years to brute force through it, and a recent ruling (also involving kiddy porn) said that they can’t make you give up your encryption key because of your 5th amendment rights. It’s being challenged, but for now all they could really do is question you about it.

  73. AgentTed says:

    @mgyqmb:

    If one of my coworkers was caught copying ANYTHING (for personal use) by myself or any other agent, they would be fired THAT INSTANT. We do have computers that we all share. If you search those computers, you might find some music that I copied from my Zune and a boat load of drivers and installers we download for work.

    Honestly, everyone here, please read this:

    Geek Squad could care less about stealing your pictures and your tasteless music collection, or you stupid tax info. All we care about is doing the job right so we don’t have to deal with customers yelling at us :)

  74. Counterpoint says:

    I find it shameful that so many replies have condemned Best Buy for turning in a pedophile (at minimum.)

    I can think of many programs / actions that display file names on a computer. Data backup, virus scans, etc. In fact, the article states the unit was in for a data backup. I was a computer tech when I was in college way back in the day, and it was amazing how many people wanted “all of their data” backed up but had no idea what or where it all was. In those instances, a tech is forced to browse the computer to find any customer data that they will scream and yell about not being there if you don’t.

    Blame the Best Buy person who was (highly probable) innocent of anything beyond doing their job and taking a person who hurts children of the streets? Disgusting. And yes, someone who just subscribes to child porn sites (or whatever they have) is hurting children, since they are financially incentivizing that crime.

  75. forgottenpassword says:

    @AgentTed:

    This obviously has to be a trolling attmept. Everyone here knows the infamous reputation geek squad has for going thru people’s computers & snagging porn, music & movies for their own private use. Even Best buy investigated geek squad.

    Maybe this is just a sophisticated clever joke I am not getting or something. *shrug*

  76. Ailu says:

    Yay for Geek Squad! *claps hands* Report those bastards!

  77. Kilotonne says:

    The Geek Squad employees did the right thing – as private citizens they have the right and the duty to report offenders. Plus, they can’t be sued in a civil court because the customer signed the consent form. Like all perverts the guy was very dumb.

    And stop being paranoid about the government – just keep your porn nice and legal, don’t plan a terrorist attack, etc.

  78. Jesse in Japan says:

    Note to self: get rid of eBook of Vladimir Nabokov’s masterpiece, Lolita, before taking computer in to Geek Squad. Or don’t take computer in to Geek Squad at all.

    It’s good that they caught this asshole (especially since he was working near children), but how do you feel when Best Buy goes through all of YOUR files because you MIGHT be a pedophile? Unless XXXYOUNGS was on the dude’s desktop or in the top folder of his documents, Best Buy wouldn’t have just naturally “stumbled” across it. They’re looking for these files and that means they’re suspecting all of their customers of being sickos.

  79. forgottenpassword says:

    @Jesse in Japan:

    I just think GS employees are just still going thru people’s files looking for any porn, music, film, software they want to keep for themselves & just ran across the kiddieporn in the process…. you know… just business as usual for underpaid, bored, resentfull little computer geeks with unlimited access to people’s computers.

  80. SgtBeavis says:

    There are some real dumbasses on this comment section.

    Most of you didn’t even read the article. However I’ll give you the benefit of a doubt because it some of your stupid comments crossed my mind too. But then I read the article.

    1. Pervert took his hard drive to Geek Squad for DATA RECOVERY.
    2. Data Recovery involves INSPECTING the recovered data.
    3. Pervert signed the contract allowing his data to be inspected.
    4. Pervert CONFESSED.
    5. Even if the data had been planted and the pervert hadn’t confessed, an inspection of the metadata would have shown that the data had been planted. At the very least it would have shown tampering which would lead to an acquittal.

    For once in their miserable existence Geek Squad does something right.

  81. mmcnary says:

    I would like to second the above comment about being cautious when buying used hard drives. I have a friend who is serving 3 years in a federal prison after buying a hard drive at a swap meet. The seller apparently sold 6 drives to unsuspecting people and turned them over to the cops. It turns out that the seller had been busted for possession of CP and offered this as a way out of his problems. Six for the price of one.

  82. picardia says:
  83. cerbie says:

    @Saboth: no, they’re taking away rights to gain more control. The newest, “think of the children,” law will not change any of these situations, and will be abused, used in ways they were not claimed to be intended for (but most likely were).

    It was a person noticing something suspicious at GS that caught this guy. Just as you’re no safer with a meaner TSA and Patriot Act, your kids won’t be safer with a new law in the long line of child predator laws. When a cosponsor of said law wants to move from the House to the Senate, though, it will make his campaign seem that much better—he helped protect the children!

    @GothamGal: taking identity information and tipping police off to criminal activity are not remotely related.

    @befrugalnotcheap: they likely had a duty to call the police. Many of our laws are set up to protect whistle blowers, if they blow the whistle. If they don’t, and there’s any evidence they could have, they can get punished for it.

    @Jesse in Japan, et al: file names flash across the screen when backing up and recovering. When someone wants their stuff moved over, but doesn’t know what or how, you’ve got to “snoop” to find the data that could be lost, or at least become a PITA to get back in there later on (FI, an iTunes library of music, including DRMed tracks, after they’ve just installed iTunes anew—crap). When diagnosing problems, one often has to “snoop” around to find how the person screwed up their system.

    They guy asked to have his data restored. That’s what he got, with all the trappings. Consider it a good thing, since he was obviously smart enough to keep that aspect of his life mostly hidden.

    Of course I’ve come across financial data, sensitive communications, password files, and pr0n (yay, Will Ferrel!) when working on computers–what people use their computers for. It’s not like most people hide and encrypt their stuff, and more often than not, it’s the more sensitive information, like saved passwords and finance spreadsheets, that they want back. I’ve transfered my share of PC pr0n stashes, along with everything else. I really don’t care about your files, beyond making sure I’m getting them all to their destination—and possibly saving the names of malware I found that you installed, because you deserve to be scolded for that. Can you not Google, “[adjective] Texas Hold Em,” to see if there are horror stories about it on software and security forums?

    I think a controlled corporate environment like GS will attract people who don’t care (thus their file-taking scandal), but that doesn’t mean everyone there is out to get you, and planting evidence all over the place. It looks to me like they were doing their jobs.

  84. blkhrt1 says:

    As a Geek Squad agent, you are obligated to report any illegal findings to a manager upon discovery of said illegal items. Its all in the liability forms Best Buy makes you sign when you start working there.

    As for the guy leaving his stuff on his computer, that stuff is fair game. When you have the Geek Squad examine your computer, you sign a release waiver stating that it is alright to scan your hard drive and release all liability on Geek Squad for whatever they find, be it adult porn, child porn, pictures of kittens, cookie recipes, etc. ALWAYS READ THE FINE PRINT ON ANYTHING YOU SIGN…

    …Either way, this perv would’ve been caught sooner or later.

  85. Andrew says:

    I fix computers for a living. Here in California, I’m required to report kiddie porn should I find it on a client’s computer. I’m not required to LOOK for it, but if I see it, I don’t have any choice.

    My advice (for all you non-pedophiles) is to steer clear of the big box stores like Best Buy and Circuit City and go to a local technician. But make them sign a non-disclosure agreement first. This will cover your ass for all those non-illegal images (plus any other data) your have in your porn stash.

  86. secretcurse says:

    Have any of you that are crying about “warrentless searches” ever actually fixed a computer? You can’t help seeing document names, and customers often leave their folders in thumbnail view so that you can see a frame of a movie or an thumbnail of an image just by opening a folder. It’s perfectly reasonable to expect that while running a virus scan, you may see the name of any file on the system. It’s also reasonable to expect that during a data backup you will see personal information. The difference is a responsible tech might see “Resume.doc,” realize it’s the person’s resume, and leave it alone. A douchebag tech might read through the person’s resume. However, if you see kiddie porn, you’re obligated to report it.

    Also, the guy signed a waiver that explicitly states any unit checked in for repair at Best Buy that contains child pornography will be turned over to the authorities. I know the people that read this love to bitch about Best Buy, but the Geek Squad agent that turned this low life in didn’t do anything wrong.

  87. Unit01 says:

    people fucking hate Best Buy, and can’t admit when it does good. If I have one issue with the consumerist,it’s that a good majority of the people on it will complain even if the company does really, really, good. I may not have any love for companies, but is the stupidest thing on earth to drag a wayward opinion of GeekSquad or the company into this when it has nothing to do with a straightforward story. That sort of attitude blinds you, and makes you less of a smart consumer and more of a big-box hating sheep who hasn’t learned how to feel good about anything that could be connected to a business. Which makes your criticism more hearsay than objective opinion.

  88. RvLeshrac says:

    @Kilotonne:

    That kept the Japanese-American citizens safe during WWII!

    No, wait… they locked up all of the perfectly law-abiding, straight-shooting, red-blooded, American-born part-Japanese citizens as well as the ones who emigrated!

  89. RvLeshrac says:

    This is also, for the record, why you should just use a real data backup service, one which provides and respects a full confidentiality agreement.

    You’re opening yourself up to divorce attorneys, disgruntled employees, disgruntled employERs, disgruntled techs, the guy you pissed off at the coffee shop, yadda yadda, when you take your data somewhere like this.

    That said, SOME of us DO respect the privacy of our customers.

  90. RvLeshrac says:

    @RvLeshrac:

    That said, I’m all for punishing the guy… but the police need to do their own damned investigating. This isn’t Soviet Russia or Fascist Germany. Yet.

  91. FreemanB says:

    We cover the same ground every time this subject pops up. To the people complaining that a disgruntled Geek Squad employee could plan CP on your computer and turn you in, that wouldn’t do any good. The police need to show not only that the CP was on your computer, but that you were actually the one who downloaded it. In this case, the police used the information provided by GS to obtain a warrant to search his house. They found additional evidence, including CDs and zip disks containing CP there. If there was no other evidence, then they would have to show how the CP ended up on the computer to have a decent chance of a conviction. The presence of the files is not sufficient to get him convicted if his attorney is even halfway decent. There have been several cases where the charges were dropped or dismissed simply because there wasn’t any credible evidence that the defendant was the one who downloaded the computer.

    Oh, and a confidentiality agreement is meaningless in most cases like this one. A legally binding contract cannot require either party to commit an illegal act. Since many states now require people to report CP, you would be breaking the law if you failed to report it, regardless of whether a confidentiality agreement was in place.

  92. chattwriter says:

    K, I guess I have to say it then. As a Best Buy employee (even not as one), if someone comes in requesting services – such as a data backup or soft restore (where all of your data is saved in a backup folder but a clean version of your OS is installed) – the Geek Squad agent is required to check all files that were copied or restored to make sure no data was corrupted.

    Furthermore, customers do sign a paper (and are supplied with a copy when their unit is left for repair/upgrade) that states depending on the service, your data may be seen and checked by an agent. At my store, we usually catch a predator that way every few months.

    Not that uncommon, honestly. Anyway, point being, the employee did exactly what he was supposed to do. The service that was requested was not listed, and if it was, I bet it was a data backup/restore (most likely due to high concentration of viruses/trojans from all the porn sites this guy went to). By the way, that must have been a well-paid janitor to be able to afford a service like that from Geek Squad!

    Not trying to say anyone in particular is wrong in what they say in this article, just trying to set the record straight.