As hard as the FBI tries, people’s rights keep getting in the way of their investigations!
The latest revelation came out of a court case in which a Doctor is being prosecuted by the FBI. The doctor was nabbed for child pornography, after one image was found on his computer by a Geek Squad employee in the obscure space that requires high tech digging to find deleted images and files stored automatically while browsing the web.
The image later turned out to not even be child pornography. The defendant alleges that the Geek Squad search of the computer was illegal in the first place, and therefore the case should be thrown out.
So the real issue is how the FBI searches for these crimes. They have been paying Best Buy’s “Geek Squad” employees to search client’s computers. In order to get around the requirement for a warrant, the FBI claimed that Geek Squad employees only reported to the FBI when they stumbled across illegal images while servicing a computer.
But more information has come to light that shows the FBI paid, and even trained, Geek Squad employees to go snooping around customers’ computers looking for a crime. And of course this was all done without warrants.
The FBI Distributes Child Porn
This is not the first controversial tactic the FBI has used in combating child pornography.
When the FBI took over the servers of a child pornography site called Playpen, they continued to host the servers for two weeks in order to catch criminals using the website.
They ended up catching a lot of sick criminals, and removing some children from abusive situations, which is clearly a positive result. But this is one of those cases where you have to wonder if the end justifies the means. What about the precedent set that it is okay for the government to break its own laws in order to catch criminals?
The government’s official position is that every time an illegal image of an exploited child is viewed, the child is re-victimized. This means the FBI victimized thousands of children in order to initiate criminal cases.
So if the FBI is willing to victimize children to get prosecutions, how far will they take that tactic? Would they continue to operate a sex slave brothel in order to catch the perpetrators? We know they provide fake assistance to potential terrorists in order to nab them; would the FBI actually let a suspect carry out a terrorist plot if it meant catching more terrorists?
Case Dropped Because the FBI Won’t Come Clean
Prosecutors actually dropped one of the cases against a man who was caught using the site Playpen while it was being hosted on FBI servers. The case was dropped because prosecutors demanded more information about how the FBI investigated the crimes in order to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The FBI however, would say no more than that they used “network investigation techniques.”
So the FBI would rather hide their, probably illegal, investigation tactics than prosecute a criminal suspected of crimes against children.
It sort of makes you wonder just how far the FBI does go into illegal territory to investigate crimes.
The fact that they use Geek Squad employees for illegal searches is just another piece of the puzzle. What other private companies is the FBI using to circumvent the rights of the accused?
And with the Vault 7 CIA revelations about their hacking tools that can remotely hijack and use a computer, can we even trust the federal agencies who investigate these crimes? Especially agencies like the FBI who have a long history of abusing citizens rights.
It seems framing suspects in cyber-space would be just too easy these days.