Beware Best Buy's "Geek Squad." They fix your computer! They come to your
house! They spy on you!
These folks are a division of Best Buy and
they have been giving their corporate parent quite a legal workout.
I also find the name insulting. Why do computer repair places have
to refer to their employees as "geeks" "nerds" or worse! Apparently
anyone smart enough to fix a computer must be some kind of Autistic mess.
About all they are good for is dumping old equipment that needs recycling.
Think twice before you hand your computer over to them so that Senior
Stickyfingers can check you out. People put their entire lives on
their computers now. When you let a stranger fix yours you are probably
exposing passwords, financial information, personal data and more.
So what are the Geek Squads crimes?
PRIVACY OF LOS ANGELES CUSTOMERS
Geek Squad employees have allegedly engaged in peeping tom activities on
female customers during in-house service visits. A 2007 case alleges that
a Los Angeles Geek Squad employee used his cell phone to record a 22-year-old
female customer while she showered without her knowledge or permission.
The employee was arrested and Best Buy was sued over the incident. In another
case, a Geek Squad employee allegedly stole nude photographs of a 27-year-old
female customer from her computer while it was being serviced. The employee
then allegedly shared the photos on the internet.
STEALING PORNOGRAPHY & PERSONAL DATA
Geek Squad technicians have been caught on numerous occasions searching
for and copying pornographic content stored on their customers' computers
without permission. When asked about the incident at an unrelated conference,
Geek Squad founder Robert Stephens refused to discuss the topic, instead
focused on whether bloggers should be considered true journalists and whether
bloggers follow the same ethical standards as journalists. At least
one former Geek Squad employee had come forward with allegations that the
practice of surreptitiously searching for pornography on their customers'
computers is not restricted to isolated employees, but is often shared with
management at the location where the one employee worked. In 2013, Geek
Squad was sued for invasion of privacy and several other civil infractions
for allegedly releasing nude images found on a customer's computer. The
suit is ongoing as of 2015.
USING PIRATED SOFTWARE
In 2006 Geek Squad was sued for allegedly using pirated copies of Winternals'
Emergency Repair Disk Commander. The lawsuit filed by Austin-based Winternals
claims that employees of Geek Squad have continued using the pirated versions
of the software after the commercial licensing agreement broke off. Best
Buy and Geek Squad were accused of copyright infringement, circumvention
of copyright infringement systems, and misappropriation of trade secrets.
A settlement was eventually reached, and Winternals created a three-year
agreement in place with Best Buy, allowing Geek Squad employees to lawfully
use their licensed programs.
SUING PEOPLE OVER PETTY
In 2002 during a spate of legal threats and challenges to competitors with
"geek" in their names Geek Squad attempted to block the trademark registration
of New England area competitor Geek Housecalls claiming that it violated
their trademarks. When Geek Housecalls
refused to budge, Geek Squad
filed civil suit. After two years of wrangling, Geek Squad and Geek Housecalls
arrived at an out-of-court settlement, the details of which cannot be disclosed
according to the terms of the settlement except to state that Geek Housecalls
retained its name. In 2010, Best Buy issued a trademark infringement
cease and desist letter against a priest in Wisconsin for painting "God
Squad" on his car.