Best Buy Geek Squad Informant Use Has FBI on Defense in Child-Porn Case | OC Weekly
Turning regular citizens into spies on other citizens was a common feature in East Germany. Now, it is increasingly common today in America, especially as an outgrowth of alleged child porn and domestic violence and child abuse investigations. Even hair dressers will now be trained to spot the signs of domestic violence and be required to report suspected cases.
All these things are easily manipulated by anyone who wants to mess with someone else's life.
Moreover, telecom companies routinely give up information without probable cause or a warrant.
But, as this story shows, Best Buy's Geek Squad is really the arm of the FBI today and paid informants are being used to not just fix computers but search them, even in areas the user has never accessed.
The surveillance state is a gross violation of our rights..... it does not matter if the computer is completely clean, violating anyone's rights here violates everyone's rights..... Rettenmaier is a prominent Orange County physician and surgeon who had no idea that a Nov. 1, 2011, trip to a Mission Viejo Best Buy would jeopardize his freedom and eventually raise concerns about, at a minimum, FBI competency or, at worst, corruption. Unable to boot his HP Pavilion desktop computer, he sought the assistance of the store's Geek Squad. At the time, nobody knew the company's repair technicians routinely searched customers' devices for files that could earn them $500 windfalls as FBI informants. This case produced that national revelation.
According to court records, Geek Squad technician John "Trey" Westphal, an FBI informant, reported he accidentally located on Rettenmaier's computer an image of "a fully nude, white prepubescent female on her hands and knees on a bed, with a brown choker-type collar around her neck." Westphal notified his boss, Justin Meade, also an FBI informant, who alerted colleague Randall Ratliff, another FBI informant at Best Buy, as well as the FBI. Claiming the image met the definition of child pornography and was tied to a series of illicit pictures known as the "Jenny" shots, agent Tracey Riley seized the hard drive.
Setting aside the issue of whether the search of Rettenmaier's computer constituted an illegal search by private individuals acting as government agents, the FBI undertook a series of dishonest measures in hopes of building a case, according to James D. Riddet, Rettenmaier's San Clemente-based defense attorney. Riddet says agents conducted two additional searches of the computer without obtaining necessary warrants, lied to trick a federal magistrate judge into authorizing a search warrant, then tried to cover up their misdeeds by initially hiding records.
But the biggest issue remains whether Geek Squad technicians acted as secret law-enforcement agents and, thus, violated Fourth Amendment prohibitions against warrantless government searches. Riddet claims records show "FBI and Best Buy made sure that during the period from 2007 to the present, there was always at least one supervisor who was an active informant."
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Thread: Geek Squad = FBI informants
01-10-2017, 02:41 PM #1
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Geek Squad = FBI informants
01-15-2017, 07:30 PM #2
This is already problematic, and it would be even more problematic if the government were to become aggressively paranoid of what its citizens could be reading about. The Geek Squad and similar outfits could rat out anyone who reads material online that the government does not approve of.
People who claim that those who have nothing to hide are not in danger are missing the point. This is a matter of inching ever closer to the unthinkable.