There’s nothing like a Big Box in bed with the police state.
Recently unsealed records reveal a much more extensive secret relationship than previously known between the FBI and Best Buy’s Geek Squad, including evidence the agency trained company technicians on law-enforcement operational tactics, shared lists of targeted citizens and, to covertly increase surveillance of the public, encouraged searches of computers even when unrelated to a customer’s request for repairs.
To sidestep the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition against warrantless invasions of private property, federal prosecutors and FBI officials have argued that Geek Squad employees accidentally find and report, for example, potential child pornography on customers’ computers without any prodding by the government. Assistant United States Attorney M. Anthony Brown last year labeled allegations of a hidden partnership as “wild speculation.” But more than a dozen summaries of FBI memoranda filed inside Orange County’s Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse this month in USA v. Mark Rettenmaier contradict the official line.
But evidence demonstrates company employees routinely snooped for the agency, contemplated “writing a software program” specifically to aid the FBI in rifling through its customers’ computers without probable cause for any crime that had been committed, and were “under the direction and control of the FBI.”
A $500 incentive to rifle through customer files. No PC. No warrant. No suspicion of a crime. Probably no need to look at data files either in most cases.
Given the cash promised, and the abandonment of the Constitution and the rule of law, who’s to say Geek Squad didn’t plant some evidence where and when they couldn’t find it.
Under no circumstances should one take a device to these Stasi hacks. Probably best not to do business with Best Buy at all. The Big Box of Entrapment.