Best Buy Co Inc’s (NYSE:BBY) Geek Squad has reportedly being used by the FBI to spy on the devices of its customers.
Documents published Tuesday show that FBI agents paid employees from the Geek Squad to act as the law enforcement agency’s informants as these workers did a thorough examination of the devices that they repaired to see if they had any illegal content there.
This relationship was proven by documents posted online by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) as the digital rights group filed a lawsuit against the FBI for the documents last year due to the agency denying the EFF a Freedom of Information Act request.
The lawsuit stems from the fact that the EFF wants to learn just how much the agency trains and directs Best Buy Geek Squad workers to take part in warrantless searches of customers’ devices during maintenance. The EFF believes that using repair technicians to unveil evidence of criminal behavior may be in violation of people’s constitutional rights.
The EFF found that the bureau’s relationship with Geek Squad workers has existed for at least a decade as an FBI memo from 2008 describes a meeting between the Best Buy workers and the FBI’s “Cyber Working Group” at Best Buy’s Kentucky repair facility.
“We have a moral and, in more than 20 states, a legal obligation to report these findings to law enforcement,” Best Buy said in a statement. “We share this policy with our customers in writing before we begin any repair.
BBY stock fell 4.3% after the bell Wednesday.