Geek Squad Posted Woman's Nude Photos, Lawsuit Claims
Should it be called the peek squad?
There have been cases where employees allegedly secretly taped or photographed co-workers as well as spied on the contents of people's gadgets. But there aren't many cases where the alleged victim is both a co-worker and customer.
March's suit claims that on August 18, 2011, she brought her computer into the Best Buy and paid $131 to have the Geek Squad restore lost data. All seemed fine until a Geek Squad employee allegedly told her on May 13 of this year that nude photos of her were online, including the famous outlaw file sharing site Pirate Bay, according to TV station WSFA. March's lawyer, Steven Heninger, told the station that the photos were meant as references for classwork, not for salacious or public use.
The news would be enough to give almost anyone a Crimson Tide of blushing.
"She's shocked that these private, professional photos...she never posted them on any social media kept them only for reference or professional use for art," Heninger said.
It is common for student artists to have reference photos of the human body to help them accurately prepare drawings, paintings, and sculptures. Although books of reference photos are available, many art students don't have much spare money and having digital pictures of themselves could provide the same type of reference material virtually for nothing.
In response to a request from AOL Jobs, a Best Buy spokesperson emailed, "As a matter of policy, Best Buy does not comment on pending litigation."
The suit further alleges that March contacted the store's general manager. The suit further claims that on May 17, a Geek Squad official contacted March, said that he found the person who uploaded the photos, and that asked she do "the favor of not asking who the culprit was."
March then claims that she filed a complaint with the Tuscaloosa Police Department but that no action was taken, according to AL.com. Because more than a year passed between the alleged incident and the report, even though March reportedly was unaware of the events during most of this time, the statute of limitations prevents criminal prosecution.
This isn't the first time Best Buy employees have been accused of taking a customer's nude photos off electronics in for repair. According to radio station WTOP, earlier this year, Sophia Ellison claims that she hired someone at a Fairfax, VA Best Buy to move photos and contact information from an older iPhone to a new one. She alleged that the employee offered to buy the phone and promised to wipe it after transferring the data, but that none of her 900 photos were on the new phone. Instead, the employee supposedly burned them all, including some "racy" ones, to a CD and wanted Ellison to meet him before he would turn over the disk.
According to WTOP, a Best Buy spokesperson called the event "an unfortunate experience caused by what appears to be rogue action against our code of conduct." The employee in question reportedly was fired.
The Consumerist blog claims that "Best Buy paid an undisclosed amount to settle a civil lawsuit" when an employee in a Michigan store took and shared a customer's nude self-portraits from a device she had brought in.
Bringing equipment in to a Best Buy or any other repair facility can involve a risk as any data, including saved emails and sexy photos, might be available for the taking. The best source is to remove the material from the computer, storing it elsewhere. If that is impractical, using a program to encrypt the files should keep eyes on work and not on you.
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Erik Sherman is a widely published writer and editor who also does select ghosting and corporate work. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman