FBI Paid Geek Squad IT Repair Staff as Informants to Rat Out Best Buy Customers Sidestep Search Warrants
The relationship between the FBI and employees of Best Buy’s computer and device repair unit Geek Squad is more complex than first thought, according to newly released documents.
Records posted Tuesday by the Electronic Frontier Foundation following a freedom of information lawsuit filed last year reveal that federal agents would pay Geek Squad managers who pass on information about illegal materials on devices sent in by customers for repairs.
The relationship goes back at least ten years, according to documents released as a result of the lawsuit.
The aim of the FBI’s Louisville division was to maintain a “close liaison” with Geek Squad management to “glean case initiations and to support the division’s Computer Intrusion and Cyber Crime programs,” the documents say.
According to the EFF’s analysis of the documents, FBI agents would “show up, review the images or video and determine whether they believe they are illegal content” and seize the device so an additional analysis could be carried out at a local FBI field office.
That’s when, in some cases, agents would try to obtain a search warrant to justify the access.
The EFF’s lawsuit was filed in response to a report that a Geek Squad employee was used as an informant by the FBI in the prosecution of a case involving child abuse imagery.Read More...