BGR reported last week that newly unsealed court documents suggest that Best Buy secretly teamed with the FBI to perform completely warrantless searches of customer computers with no probable cause or reason to do so.
The documents in question apply to United States of America vs. Mark Rettenmaier, a child pornography case in which the illegal content was discovered by a Best Buy Geek Squad technician who then reported it to the FBI. Both the FBI and Best Buy have repeatedly claimed that they do not deliberately search customer devices for any type of material, but many of the recently unsealed FBI filings completely contradict those claims.
The documents show the FBI remaining in close and regular contact with a Geek Squad supervisor named Justin Meade. The agency notes in its filings that Meade was continually providing the FBI with "valuable information" and "local collection" of material that was found on customer computers. The FBI notes in the memos that it planned to have agents meet with Meade regularly "to ensure he is reporting" on customers.
Most damning, the company at the very least discussed — and potentially developed — an application specifically to root through customer hardware in the search for illegal material. The filings suggest that at least some Geek Squad members were performing tasks "under the direction and control of the FBI."
While I have no specific knowledge of the facts in this case, it wouldn't surprise me if the FBI and Best Buy were cooperating in this completely illegal conduct. It will be interesting to see what happens next – frankly, it has gotten increasingly depressing to read the news. The Constitution seems to be undergoing one hell of an assault.
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Digital Forensics/Information Security/Information Technology