Editor's Note: Some comments to this post suggest that TUAW is "giving advice to pedophiles" by reminding readers that sensitive information could be read or copied by service technicians when you bring your Mac in for repair. While one assumes (present example to the contrary) that people who keep illegal content, such as child pornography or evidence of other crimes, on their computers would already be alert to the possibility of discovery, in this case we are addressing the innocent Mac users who would prefer to keep their personal, legal information private rather than inadvertently sharing it with the Geniuses.
Another commenter objected to our publishing of the accused man's name; this information was revealed in the source article in the Stamford Advocate and we repeated it. The post has been edited to clarify the source of the name.
A Fairfield, Connecticut man took his Apple G5 desktop to the Genius Bar at the Stamford Town Center store complaining about some issues with his image file thumbnails. It seemed some thumbnails were overwriting thumbnails on other images and they didn't match up.
As reported in the Stamford Advocate, according to court documents, the Genius started examining the files, and allegedly found pictures of naked juvenile girls in suggestive poses.
The tech called a policeman who was stationed at the mall, and the customer Raymond Miller was promptly arrested and charged with possession of child pornography. If convicted, Miller faces a minimum of 5 years in jail.
Police also searched Miller's home, but found nothing illegal.
Remember, when you bring your Mac into a store for service the technicians will likely see whatever is on your machine in the course of repairing it.
The tech could have ignored the alleged porn, but that could likely make him an accessory under some state laws. Apple warns people to always have a good backup of their data when they bring something in for repair. It's also a good idea to remove anything you don't want anyone else to see -- financial data or home inventories, for example.
This incident is reminiscent of 2 cases in Florida where the Best Buy Geek Squad techs found illegal porn on computers brought in for repair. The employees reported the porn, and both men were arrested.
Then in an ironic turnabout, a three-month investigation by the Consumerist blog caught Geek Squad employees taking porn off a computer and sharing it with others. It was also alleged that some employees routinely stole music, pictures and other data from computers that were in for repair by copying the data off to personal thumb drives.
Via The Stamford Advocate and thanks to Doug for the tip.