Best Buy 'Geek Squad' worker helped FBI conduct warrantless searches

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by driekus, May 23, 2016.

  1. driekus

    driekus Registered Member

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    I think most people here would never give Best Buy workers access to their computers but here is another good reason why.

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-geek-squad-child-porn-20160521-snap-story.html

    Yes I understand in this case it was child porn but we know how the government uses this as a way to increase its powers as few are reluctant to support the rights of child sex offenders. Based on the quote below I have doubts that this was an accidental find and more a deliberate search.

     
  2. Carver

    Carver Registered Member

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    While online shopping for a wireless router I read through "best Buys" policy's, the results are alarming. That is the jest of it is "Best Buy" has all the rights the consumer has very little rights.
     
  3. Minimalist

    Minimalist Registered Member

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    I don't know if it's their usual practice to open personal files when they are fixing customers' computers.
    I helped my friends with their machines, even restored personal files from deleted partitions and never felt a need to open personal files. Just do what you're paid to do and leave personal data alone. When dealing with other people's data, less is definitely more.
     
  4. itman

    itman Registered Member

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    Another case of intelligent people showing incredible stupidity when it comes to computer technology.

    At least it appears the individual wasn't an experienced pedophile. They would have had the smarts to wipe the hard drive before sending it out for service. If that wasn't possible, then they would have just replaced the drive themselves or had another pervert do it.
     
  5. hawki

    hawki Registered Member

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    I have never used Geek Fraud , but I have purchased a couple of PC's from Best Buy over the years. Last week I received an email from Geek Squad. Geek Squad is losing its separate corpoprate identity and affiliate corporate stutus and is becoming a part of Best Buy and Best Buy's Privacy Policy will apply to "Geek Squad." It is also stated that Best Buy's Privacy Policy has been updated to simpler english so as to be easier to understand.

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/help-to...=790939&SubscriberID=254350346&eut=2747775594

    None of Best Buy's Privacy Policy appears to be appropriate or applicable or well- suited to Geek Squad. It almost appears as though Geek Squad has no privacy Policy as the BB PP appears to be geared to transactional and online submitted information.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2016
  6. Palancar

    Palancar Registered Member

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    How could anyone with all those images on the media have been that stupid? I have no stomach for that stuff, but the stupidity of taking a device to BB with all that on the drive(s) is amazing.
     
  7. syrinx

    syrinx Registered Member

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    I believe in privacy and while I'm not familiar with this case or the circumstances I can think of a few instances where such a discovery could happen without a deliberate search. The first that springs to mind is that they used a windows based OS to preform the recovery. The second, related to the first, is any recovery software that displays 'previews' for images or documents along the way. These days, that's quite a few! It could happen at any point from within a piece of software trying to 'show the user' what they would be recovering to the standard Windows thumbnails.

    I've worked on many computers (usually friends or family) and never opened any files to snoop but I have encountered the occasional thumbnail I wish I hadn't :p They were nothing like this but I think the Geek Squad employee in question did the right thing here. A paycheck isn't worth letting a predator (be it child related, a murder or terrorist plots ~not to mention other possibilities where I might find it acceptable) remain undiscovered so I applaud the employees actions in this scenario even *if* the FBI prompted him to the search but my initial thoughts are that it is more likely he saw it, then reported it.
     
  8. Carver

    Carver Registered Member

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    People have sensitive information on their HD credit reports; bank statements; Bank info isn't that what encryption is for ( I am not talking about child porn). But it is not the employees job to snoop.
     
  9. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    Maybe he didn't know that the drive contained incriminating files. Maybe he bought the drive used, and didn't wipe it well enough. Maybe he had loaned it to a friend. Or ...
     
  10. Palancar

    Palancar Registered Member

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    Spoken like a lawyer. LOL!

    I would never take a computer to BB even if it was clean as a whistle first. I would be too worried about "interdiction" of my devices. If it was a warranty repair, fine, but then I would sell the machine and replace it for one bought with $$.

    Tin foil hat I suppose.
     
  11. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    Not at all :)

    I've never had third parties work on my machines. Except for servers that I've used only for true-name consulting.
     
  12. driekus

    driekus Registered Member

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    Lenovo does allow you to purchase warranty where you keep the hdd if you send the computer in for service. Very good idea and surprised not offered by others.
     
  13. Palancar

    Palancar Registered Member

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    The only problem there is if you have software problems fixing the hardware (or examining it for defect) doesn't really help you at all. Most users don't have a clue on how to restore a full hard drive unless its point and click stuff from the factory.
     
  14. wshrugged

    wshrugged Registered Member

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    The plot thickens -
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/loca...4ab630851e8_story.html?utm_term=.08d0005483df
     
  15. deBoetie

    deBoetie Registered Member

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    One of the obvious issues with this case is that the chain of custody is not established - evidential integrity is missing. The hdd state was clearly not frozen.

    For anyone who actually cares about the presumption of innocence and the rule of law, that's a fatal issue, as it is with all the LE/TLA hacker tools which quite specifically have the ability to add/alter files. Of course LE/TLA appear to care little about the rule of law, but should be made to; but it's going in the other direction right now. There have been specific cases where TLAs attempt to discredit opponents, and one way of doing this is specifically to plant illegal material on the hdd to be conveniently found on a tip-off.

    I view hard disk failure as an opportunity to upgrade capacity and rebuild the OS, and never attempt to repair it. I also use FDE on all devices I can, in part for this reason. I have no real idea or even control of what's on the hdd because I cannot guarantee that malware or LE hasn't had a little flutter on it, or visits to websites by myself or others hasn't downloaded/cached some files there.

    Clients are not secure.
     
  16. caspian

    caspian Registered Member

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    So where does a guy go to have an HD worked on without having them copy your data, go through all of your banking and financial files, personal correspondences and family pictures, etc... ??
     
  17. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    One doesn't, I think.
     
  18. Minimalist

    Minimalist Registered Member

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    I agree. If possible replace your drive for yourself.
     
  19. deBoetie

    deBoetie Registered Member

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    Modern high density HDD are basically not repairable. My experience these days is that whereas you used to get some warning as more bad sectors appear, these days it's all or nothing.

    If it's a software corruption and I want to repair, then I take it as an opportunity to rebuild myself - I never trust the OS if there's been a glitch which apparently seems to have been repaired. It's also a good opportunity for house-keeping and ditching all those apps you thought might be valuable and weren't. I've always kept data backup completely separate from individual machines too.

    I'd never entrust that to a 3rd party either - I always do a fresh rebuild from new (if the OS is pre-installed as with laptops). If you give an unprotected OS to a 3rd party, they can be an Evil Maid who you've just given carte blanche to do their wicked way.

    Encrypting all mass storage from the outset helps, and would prevent unauthorised access by 3rd parties.

    Finally, running most of the time in virtual machines makes the software corruption recovery rather easy, because you can always revert to a fresh image (either via snapshot or file copy).
     
  20. caspian

    caspian Registered Member

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    I dropped mine. Well, actually a dog knocked it off of a table. I wish I had all of it copied somewhere. I do have some of it though. I need to find an ext. HD that is a little tougher. Preferably a lot tougher. Or maybe start encrypting USB sticks to store copies. Does anyone know if these SD cards can be encrypted with TC? I wouldn't have to worry about dropping it at least. https://www.sandisk.com/home/memory-cards/sd-cards/ultra-sd
     
  21. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    I've used LUKS on SD cards.
     
  22. deBoetie

    deBoetie Registered Member

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    I've started using 2.5" SSD drives for selected important backup since the price has become bearable (still use mechanical HDD for bulk media backup and so on) - small, slim, light and fast and less vulnerable to mechanical shock. You can easily take it with you when travelling. I use mine bare, connected via usb3 adapter. Encrypted as appropriate from the outset.

    I don't think I trust ordinary usb sticks for "real" data backup, and they're limited in capacity, a bit slow and get hot for bulk operations. The full sata ssds are much better.
     
  23. Palancar

    Palancar Registered Member

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    I just try to memorize my data but I start to forget a few things when it gets to around 6 TB. LOL!

    I know not even funny. I don't rely too much on any type of media and my answer is always multiple (3 at least) devices with the same data backed up. Only multiple backups with one off premises is what lets me sleep well at night.
     
  24. caspian

    caspian Registered Member

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    Can you recommend a particular brand? Or does it matter?
     
  25. deBoetie

    deBoetie Registered Member

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    @caspian - I happen to use the Crucial ones mainly, but don't base that on anything other than dated research and subsequent inertia. However, they've proved reliable so I've no particular reason to change. I use them as system disks as well as backup. They do support the Opal standard if that's of relevance for you with hardware-acceleration for some Windows systems. Obviously Samsung and Intel are the other big players.

    For backup purposes, reliability tends to trump speed - all the brands will be a breath of fresh air in comparison with mechanical disks or the smaller usb sticks, particularly for random writes.

    I don't worry too much about wear levelling or lifetime issues on the ssd because I also do bulk multi-Tb HDD backups which are off-sited. The ssd is to carry pretty much fresh valuable data around with me as a personal backup, or it can easily be posted.
     
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