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How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Tag: child pornography

Records Reveal Geek Squads’ Relationship with FBI Is Deeper Than Previously Reported

Best Buy, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling

The FBI has paid Best Buy’s Geek Squad employees to act as informants for a decade, much longer than previously reported.

Records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act by the Electronic Frontier Foundation reveal that the FBI has been working with Geek Squad employees since at least 2008. 

The FBI declined to say whether it has similar relationship with other electronics repair companies.

The records raise serious questions about whether the relationship between the bureau and Geek Squad employees violate the Fourth Amendment against unreasonable searches and seizures.

At issue is whether the FBI’s payments to the employees for turning over child pornography prompted Geek Squad workers to search computers beyond what was required to make repairs.

The bureau paid at least “eight FBI informants at Geek Squad City” between $500 and $1,000 each for helping disclose child pornography.

Judge Drops Child Pornography Case, Saying FBI Misrepresented Facts

Best Buy, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling

A judge dismissed child pornography charges against a California doctor whose computer was searched following a repair by Best Buy’s Geek Squad because the FBI agent made “several false or misleading statements or omissions... with reckless disregard for the truth” in a search warrant affidavit, The Washington Post reports

The pornography case was triggered by the Geek Squad’s discovery of a photo of a naked girl, believed to be 9 years old. She was not involved in a sex act, and her genitals were not shown.

Technicians tipped off the FBI.

But U.S.District Judge Cormac J. Carney said the FBI misrepresented the case in obtaining a search warrant for the home and computers of oncologist Mark Rettenmaier. Agents found hundreds of pornographic photos on his iPhone.

Carney concluded the search was illegal because FBI agents received the warrant by inaccurately saying “the image was child pornography.” The judge said the photo was “one image of child erotica” and that it “is simply not sufficient to search Dr. Rettenmaier’s entire home, the place where the protective court of the Fourth Amendment is most powerful.”

FBI: Florida Man Used Twitter to Send Child Pornography to News Anchor

Marchaun Browning

Marchaun Browning

By Steve Neavling

A 20-year-old Florida man was arrested after the FBI said he used multiple Twitter accounts to send child pornography to a local news anchor.

Investigators said Marchaun Browning created new Twitter accounts when the news anchor blocked his tweets containing sexual images of children, ABC Action News reports

Using the IP addresses for each Twitter account, the FBI discovered the tweets originated at Browning’s Gibsonton, Fla. home.

A total of 163 child pornography images were found.

On Aug. 16, a grand jury indicted Browning with three counts of distributing child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.

He was arrested Saturday.

Neighbor Hacked into College Students’ Wireless Account to Download Child Pornography

Data securityBy Steve Neavling

Six years ago, FBI agents knocked on the door of three honor students at the University of California in Davis because the roommates’ AT&T wireless router was used to access child pornography.

“When it became pounding, I stumbled out to open the front door – to the complete and utter shock of having FBI agents on my front porch shoving a warrant in my face and suddenly appearing armed in my home,” Caitlin Fitzgerald wrote in a letter to the FBI two weeks ago, the Sacramento Bee reports. “Even thinking about it now, years later, my stomach starts to tighten.”

Turns out, the roommates’ 22-year-old neighbor was downloading child pornography by using “his great computer savvy” to hack into their password-protected wireless account, according to federal court records.

Today, the neighbor Alexander Nathan Norris is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court in Sacramento, where prosecutors are calling for a 17.5-year sentence on charges of possession and distribution of material involving the sexual exploitation of minors.

“This case is not a run-of-the mill child pornography case because the defendant hacked into and used his neighbors’ password-protected wireless internet to download and distribute child pornography, thereby roping innocent bystanders into his criminal activity,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Morris and Shelley Weger wrote in their sentencing memorandum to the judge.

“His actions caused the FBI to search his neighbors’ personal computers, cell phones, bedrooms and living space.”

Federal Judges Dismiss Cases After FBI Hosted Child Pornography Site

hacking By Steve Neavling

The FBI’s child pornography sting “Operation Pacifier” was successful at locating and identifying abusers, but it has come under attack by federal judges across the country.

Agents took over the “dark web” site, The Playpen, for two weeks, when 48,000 images and 200 videos of sexual abuse were posted or swapped. The FBI arrested more than 180 people in the U.S.

But the Knoxville New Sentinel reports that at least seven federal judges ruled that the FBI’s takeover of the site was illegal and violated federal rules of criminal procedure.

The judges cited constitutional violations.

FBI’s Refusal to Release Details of Child Pornography Probe Compromises Case

computer-photoBy Steve Neavling

The FBI may lose some of its cases against alleged pedophiles because the bureau has refused to release details of how investigators used the Tor network to track suspects.

ZDNet reports that a court overseeing the case against an alleged visitor of the site, Jay Michaud, dismissed evidence as a result.

The cost said the evidence can’t be used because against the Vancouver school administrator.

The FBI seized a website on the dark web last year so that investigators could track who used the site.

Since the FBI won’t reveal the full source code of the website takeover, the evidence isn’t permissible, a court said.

Attorney: FBI Used Best Buy Employee to Perform Warrantless Searches

Data securityBy Steve Neavling

A Best Buy employee who worked at the company’s repair center served as a paid FBI informant who essentially performed warrantless searches on electronics at the maintenance facility in Kentucky, according to the attorney of a doctor facing child pornography charges.

Since 2009, “the FBI was dealing with a paid agent inside the Geek Squad who was used for the specific purpose of searching clients’ computers for child pornography and other contraband or evidence of crimes,” defense attorney James Riddet claimed in a court filing last month, the Los Angeles Times reports. 

Riddet is defending Dr. Mark Albert Rettenmaier, who was indicted in November 2014 on two felony counts of child pornography.

Riddet has asked the judge to dismiss most of the evidence in the case because it was taken during illegal searches by a supervisor at the Geek Squad.

FBI Employee Arrested for Allegedly Tampering with Evidence in Probe Against Husband

handcuffsBy Steve Neavling

An FBI employee was arrested for allegedly tampering with evidence in a child pornography investigation involving her husband.

Local News 8 reports that Jennifer Barnett, 38, of Idaho, was arrested on charges of destroying, altering or concealing evidence.

Authorities said Barnett informed her husband, David Phillips, 41, of the investigation.

Jennifer Barnett was arrested Monday and released on $5,000 bond.

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