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Geek Squad Lawsuit Opens Up With Employee Confession

 

Minneapolis (MN) - As a high-profile lawsuit against Best Buy’s Geek Squad technical support service gets ready for court, a new employee confession has come through detailing one of the company’s more questionable policies.

The lawsuit, filed in Hennepin County, Minnesota, claims that when a computer comes into a Geek Squad center, the employees comb through personal files and sometimes copy lewd or other content over to their own personal flash drive.

According to Minneapolis newspaper The Star Tribune, the lawsuit was filed quickly after an anonymous employee sent a letter to online consumer advocate site The Consumerist. In the letter, the employee wrote, "If you have any interesting pictures of yourself or others on your computer, then they — will — be — found."

Geek Squad says it takes "reasonable precautions to protect against the loss, misuse and unauthorized access of your personal information."

Geek Squad, which is the self-claimed largest computer support company in the country, downplayed the event by saying it was an isolated incident. However, a new employee has come forward confessing a similar action.

William Giffels came forward and said he sought out revealing pictures of a customer who brought in a computer for repairs. He copied the pictures to his flash drive, and then were copied to multiple CDs used in the Geek Squad department of the store.

"It was dumb, and I regret that lapse in judgment. I have placed Best Buy in a precarious position, both legally and ’reputationally,’" said Giffels. Several other people claiming to be Geek Squad employees have quietly admitted to doing the same kind of thing.

Best Buy says it has increased the number of audits it conducts at its Geek Squad locations, but advocates suggest the store needs to completely overhaul its operation. "No matter what investigative protocol Best Buy uses, someone is going to find a way around it," said Consumerist editor Ben Popken to the Star Tribune.

With regard to controversy, though, Best Buy remains defensive. "Our agents only see the data they need to," said Best Buy spokesperson Paula Baldwin.

  • So why are people trusting their (compromising) personal documents and images to minimum wage A+ (laugh) certified children at Best Buy? Can there be any reasonable expectation of privacy when you hand over your computer to a place like this?

    I have to say, if you do own a computer that requires you to go to a big box store for repairs and/or warranty (and sometimes you have no choice) then don't keep anything important on that computer. Get an external hard drive or USB memory stick.
    Reply
  • snajper69
    Ha ha ha Kids will be kids lol no matter how old they are. Next time guys before you service your PC at best buy make sure you remove those naked pictures of you/wife/gf lol :) or if not Geek Squad will enjoy them lol hahahhaha
    Reply
  • This is news? Unfortunately, when one turns over their computer to a repair agency (ANY AGENCY), they are handing any and all personal data over to said agency. In doing so, they are taking that risk. It's not to say that I support repair shops snooping through someone's data, but it is why I keep any private or sensetive information on a thumb drive or removable hard drive to prevent something like this.

    Reply
  • This is exactly the kind of stuff that happens when a company employs immature teenagers instead of , imagine this, qualified personell. As a former employee of Compusa, I'm not shocked at all about this. And it will continue to happen as long as the predominant demo of these stores are teenagers.
    Reply
  • vherub
    look out drugstore photolab, you're next for privacy invastion!
    Reply
  • Oh Snap
    @ PMB917
    Thing is, these companies are cheap and are only willing to pay the kind of wages that only teenagers and highly uneducated adults are willing to take. If they up the pay, they end up having to up the costs, and the ever wise consumer will end up going elsewhere where teenagers are still getting $8.50 an hour. Sure a few might be willing to pay more, but then again, those people are probably already receiving tech support from someone other than Best Buy or CompUSA. You get what you pay for.
    Reply
  • Oh Snap
    @ PMB917
    Thing is, these companies are cheap and are only willing to pay the kind of wages that only teenagers and highly uneducated adults are willing to take. If they up the pay, they end up having to up the costs, and the ever wise consumer will end up going elsewhere where teenagers are still getting $8.50 an hour. Sure a few might be willing to pay more, but then again, those people are probably already receiving tech support from someone other than Best Buy or CompUSA. You get what you pay for.
    Reply
  • Oh Snap
    gah, double comment, said page couldn't be found :(
    Reply
  • cscpianoman
    Oh Snap,
    Actually, Best Buy still charges out-landish fees to get your computer serviced and still hire teenagers. Every time I walked through Best Buy and saw someone in line for the Geek Squad I cringed. I know full well that I could do it for half they were going to charge and half the time.
    Reply
  • it doesnt matter what you pay, if you take your computer to any repair shop anywhere they are going to snoop around. whether they keep copies or not they are looking.
    Reply