Electronics retail giant Best Buy confirmed that four Geek Squad employees accepted payment from the FBI to turn over alleged child pornography, KPIX reported.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco sued the FBI to release nearly 200 pages of information about its relationship with Best Buy. Redacted documents showed the employees had turned over computer files to the FBI.
Best Buy officials said the employees used very poor judgment and the action was a violation of company policy. Three of those employees are no longer with the company, KPIX reported.
“We’re very concerned about the FBI using Geek Squad employees or any computer repair facility employees to potentially, you know, get a back door around our Fourth Amendment rights,” said Aaron Mackey, staff attorney with the EFF.
The EFF said it was most concerned about payment to Best Buy employees. Court documents revealed an FBI payment request for $500 to pay a Geek Squad employee, KPIX reported.
“When the FBI is actually rewarding employees of Best Buy for finding this information and potentially directing them and engaging in sort of an ongoing, multiyear relationship with managers and others at this facility, it raises the question as to how much are they now just employees and technicians at Best Buy doing their job and happening across this or are they actively searching for it in the hopes of obtaining future rewards,” Mackey told KPIX, saying that it was a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
The FBI said it does not comment on its relationships with informants, KPIX reported.