Privacy: When Your Computer is Repaired, Does the Facility Scan your Private Information too? BestBuy’s GeekSquad Gets Paid to Scan and Report to the FBI
See the MPG recommendations for iMac Pro, backup, peripherals. Not sure which Mac to get or how to configure it? Consult with MPG.
Law enforcement enlisting companies are one solid structural beam in establishing a brutal police state, so I find the following very disturbing:
After the prosecution of a California doctor revealed the FBI’s ties to a Best Buy Geek Squad computer repair facility in Kentucky, new documents released to EFF show that the relationship goes back years. The records also confirm that the FBI has paid Geek Squad employees as informants.
EFF filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit last year to learn more about how the FBI uses Geek Squad employees to flag illegal material when people pay Best Buy to repair their computers. The relationship potentially circumvents computer owners’ Fourth Amendment rights.
The documents released to EFF show that Best Buy officials have enjoyed a particularly close relationship with the agency for at least 10 years. For example, an FBI memo from September 2008 details how Best Buy hosted a meeting of the agency’s “Cyber Working Group” at the company’s Kentucky repair facility.
For those unfamiliar with the constitution of the United States:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
It’s hard to imagine how warrants having been issued to search every computer coming info for repair—there is no probably cause to actively search a computer’s data. This is a chilling abuse of corporate and government power.
MPG advises readers to boycott GeekSquad and BestBuy.
Don H writes:
This is another reason why I’m reluctant to buy another iMac (or other machine without easily-reomved storage). Not only does a buried/glued-in drive thwart easy troubleshooting, it also means you can’t remove it if you need to have the machine repaired. If the power supply dies you can’t even access it through Target Disk Mode as a last resort.
I *really* hope that Apple releases a user-servicable (even if minimally) Mac Pro which allows the storage to be removed somehow. Assuming it’s not a terrible design I’d get one to use daily and then watch the refurb deals to stock up on spares over time if necessary. We really are losing control of our own computing resources and private data now.
(This is also a reason I don’t rely to much on my iPhone for anything. Not only can it be lost or stolen, it locks you away from your own data in significant ways by design. To me it is just a disposable, albeit expensive, appliance, and not a personal data repository.)
MPG: Apple is tone deaf to such needs and wears “looks good in pictures and reviews” blinders these days, a sort of idiot-savant corporation.
Jonathan L writes:
Photoshop won’t allow you to scan or take high res photos of us currency: https://hyperallergic.com/195922/what-happens-when-you-try-to-photoshop-money/
Of course, the US won’t release to adobe exactly how they recognize the anti-counterfitting measures, so this means that Adobe has allowed them to put in code that Adobe hasn’t been able to review. Who know what else the code is doing.
MPG: unaudited code is a very bad idea, not just for privacy reasons, but security weaknesses.