Latest in Gear

Image credit: AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac

Geek Squad employee allegedly searched PCs for the FBI

The staffer allegedly conducted warrantless searches on the feds' behalf.
56 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac

An astute PC technician is supposed to report any illegal content they see while fixing a machine, but one employee of Best Buy's Geek Squad might have gone too far. The defense in a child pornography case alleges that the FBI paid Geek Squad agent Justin Meade to search customers' computers for illegal material, bypassing the warrant the FBI would need to conduct its own searches. A secret informant file supposedly shows that Meade was considered a source for child porn investigations between 2009 and 2012, leading to the bust in question. Attorneys for the accused, Dr. Mark Rettenmaier, want the evidence tossed out as a result.

Both the FBI and Meade deny that there were any orders to conduct searches. The agent says he was only following Geek Squad's reporting policy, which also forbids payments from law enforcement. However, the FBI also acknowledges that it paid Meade $500 for an unmentioned reason -- the question is whether or not this was an after-the-fact reward or an incentive.

It's far from certain that the accusation will stick. The defense could have valid concerns that the FBI violated a constitutional right... or it could be blowing smoke to distract from damning evidence. Either way, this isn't going to quiet fears (however overblown) that law enforcement might use device repair shops as fishing nets for crooks.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
56 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

Engadget's 2019 Back-to-School Guide

Engadget's 2019 Back-to-School Guide

View
Walmart sues Tesla after solar panels catch fire at stores

Walmart sues Tesla after solar panels catch fire at stores

View
A fourth 'Matrix' movie is happening

A fourth 'Matrix' movie is happening

View
Sega’s remastered ‘Yakuza’ bundle for PS4 comes to the US

Sega’s remastered ‘Yakuza’ bundle for PS4 comes to the US

View
NASA confirms mission to Jupiter's moon Europa

NASA confirms mission to Jupiter's moon Europa

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr