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Computer Tech's Looking For Illegal Files?


PineDominator
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so I was talking to a friend here in canada and he told me a friend of his who worked at a future shop told him they catch people with illegal files and have to report it.

I told my friend only if they stumble onto it while fixing the computer problems. he said they are looking for those things.

so I am asking does anyone know if that is happening? that they have the right to pause fixing your computer issues and take there time to search your hard-drive?

I just don't think that would be right when your paying someone. maybe I'm paranoid

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It's invasion of privacy I would think. But it is all how they laws see giving your computer/data to a repair person with permission to access it. But to report them for stuff found is really none of their damn business. Unless they find something unlawful like child pornography or child abuse.

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It's up to the individual technician. Some technicians will just fix the problem and ignore anything else. Other technicians will go digging through whatever you have on your hard drive.

Your best bet is to never hand your computer over to anyone else. Learn how to repair your own computer so that you're never at their mercy.

But if you end up having to take it to some technician, you'll be better protected if your data was already hidden/encrypted. They probably won't spend too much time trying to break the encryption.

https://encrypteverything.ca/index.php/Main_Page

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If you bring a computer to a place to fix it, unless they need the HDD, remove it, or put in a blank one. Never send it to someone with any data on it, even if you haven't done anything illegal. BestBuy, Circuit City and a slew of other places, have turned people into the police for porn, warez, and other stuff they had no business messing with in the first place. Bottom line, if you have sensitive data on a machine you don't want touched or messed with, even if its just family pics, don't send the HDD with the defective machine. I have countless friends who got viruses and instead of brining me the machine to help them back up their data, they took it in under warranty, and the places wiped their HDD's and they lost all their files in the process of a "restore" but those places do not backup your files, and will not guarantee your data will be there when you get it back.

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... BestBuy, Circuit City and a slew of other places, have turned people into the police for porn ... even if its just family pics

Here's the thing, the laws governing what is or isn't child pornography are very subjective and vague. I used to work at a company that converted peoples' old home movies into DVDs for them. Nearly every family that brought us home movies of babies or children under four had at least a few minutes of tape with the kid running around naked. Lots of families had videos of babies getting bathed in a bath tub or sink. Nothing overtly sexual or anything that looked like abuse, but people have been prosecuted in this country for similar photos/videos.

The point is, even if you don't consider it to be pornography and just family photos of your baby niece or nephew, someone else might see something different and that could land you in trouble. It doesn't even matter if you're convicted, once word gets out that you were even investigated for possible possession of CP you could be stigmatized by your community. Why take a chance? It's none of their business anyways. Don't even leave your family photos on your hard drive when you take it in for service. Period.

(There was one case in which a woman brought in a bunch of tapes for us to convert and one of them contained inappropriate underage nudity. Apparently her son had taken the camera to a high-school party where kids were drinking and some of the girls were flashing the camera. We simply refused to convert that tape and when we told the mother she was extremely embarrassed. Neither this woman nor her son were dangerous criminals who were abusing minors, nor were they knowingly distributing CP. Regardless of what the law says, we didn't see any reason to ruin their lives over a bunch of kids just doing what kids do.)

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I agree with digip and Sitwon. NEVER give an untrustworthy/stranger source your hard drive or sensitive data! I remember one of my first laptops I bought around 2004 when I first got into wireless. It was an HP Pavilion series and just after a year of having it, the (monitor) went out.

I don't have much patience for laptop dis-assembly, but I got a buddy who does. Just curious I did take it to a CompUSA at the time and paid their $139.00 "diagnostic's" fee just to see how good their troubleshooting was. Well of course they told me bad monitor, but the actual issue was just the bulb that lit the display in the monitor.

I'm sure they have a technical standard on where they stopped as far as repair, but my point is, when I took it in I threw an old 4GB hard drive in just so it could boot if needed and of course when booted it said Operating System not found and I had to be CLEAR to them that I do not want you to install and OS or anything ONLY diagnose the LCD.

So yea definitely make sure you trust who accesses your data.

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The whole topic is very loaded, my normal response to when someone says “that’s illegal”, “this is illegal” (this cursed, that is cursed) I ask them to back up the statement with documentation.

Now with a computer repairer “finding” eg kiddie porn on a customer’s PC, the phrase, which should be well known to anybody in any type of security role is “chain of custody”, e.g. prove that the customer “acquired” it, especially when the PC has been in someone else’s possession, which could backfire.

Now ya’all being majority Americans, the most litigious country in the world, would also have to look a civil case for breach of privacy policy, breach of trust etc, and also as others have mentioned the reputation of the repairer, so any person hunting for “illegal” whatever on someone’s computer would have to be either very careful, not like their customers or business, or be lacking in a few brain cells.

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The whole topic is very loaded, my normal response to when someone says “that’s illegal”, “this is illegal” (this cursed, that is cursed) I ask them to back up the statement with documentation.

Now with a computer repairer “finding” eg kiddie porn on a customer’s PC, the phrase, which should be well known to anybody in any type of security role is “chain of custody”, e.g. prove that the customer “acquired” it, especially when the PC has been in someone else’s possession, which could backfire.

Now ya’all being majority Americans, the most litigious country in the world, would also have to look a civil case for breach of privacy policy, breach of trust etc, and also as others have mentioned the reputation of the repairer, so any person hunting for “illegal” whatever on someone’s computer would have to be either very careful, not like their customers or business, or be lacking in a few brain cells.

Pretty much if child pornography is found, it doesn't matter as long as whomever found it stop what they are doing and IMMEDIATELY calls the authorities for a forensic specialist to analyze the system and make a case.

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Why would you bring your computer into a shop to have it repaired? Just fix it yourself. I don't trust anyone but myself to do my tech work.

The whole topic is very loaded, my normal response to when someone says “that’s illegal”, “this is illegal” (this cursed, that is cursed) I ask them to back up the statement with documentation.

Now with a computer repairer “finding” eg kiddie porn on a customer’s PC, the phrase, which should be well known to anybody in any type of security role is “chain of custody”, e.g. prove that the customer “acquired” it, especially when the PC has been in someone else’s possession, which could backfire.

Now ya’all being majority Americans, the most litigious country in the world, would also have to look a civil case for breach of privacy policy, breach of trust etc, and also as others have mentioned the reputation of the repairer, so any person hunting for “illegal” whatever on someone’s computer would have to be either very careful, not like their customers or business, or be lacking in a few brain cells.

If you read the work order before you sign you will see that you are pretty much authorizing them to do whatever they want with your system. Corporations make sure they cover themselves legally, they wouldn't want their employees getting them sued.

Edited by redhook
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The whole topic is very loaded, my normal response to when someone says “that’s illegal”, “this is illegal” (this cursed, that is cursed) I ask them to back up the statement with documentation.

Now with a computer repairer “finding” eg kiddie porn on a customer’s PC, the phrase, which should be well known to anybody in any type of security role is “chain of custody”, e.g. prove that the customer “acquired” it, especially when the PC has been in someone else’s possession, which could backfire.

Now ya’all being majority Americans, the most litigious country in the world, would also have to look a civil case for breach of privacy policy, breach of trust etc, and also as others have mentioned the reputation of the repairer, so any person hunting for “illegal” whatever on someone’s computer would have to be either very careful, not like their customers or business, or be lacking in a few brain cells.

There has been a great deal of debate in the USA on what legally constitutes "Obscenity" going back to the 1960s when US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously said "I know it when I see it" to describe his threshold test for pornography. The language used in the various laws which Congress has passed since then have done little to make it any less subjective. Furthermore, many of the laws governing child pornography in the USA are utterly broken.

At one talk I saw a couple years ago (I think it was at The Next HOPE, but I can't seem to find it) the speaker went into detail describing how the child pornography laws in the USA possibly even not constitutional. For example, if an image or video is suspected of depicting an underage model it is up to the accused (the person found to be in possession of the image or video) to provide proof that the model was of a legal age at the time of recording. Notice, it is not up to the prosecutor to prove that the model is underage, as is normally the case. The accused must somehow track down the model or person(s) who produced the recording and procure evidence in their defense that the model is of a legal age. That whole "innocent until proven guilty" thing is just thrown out the window entirely if the judge hears the magic words, "kiddie porn".

Relevant article I found while trying to find that talk.

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Yes, what digip said, remove the hard drive. I know for a fact that those people will sometimes, instead of fixing your computer, just go through and look through personal files for private information. It sure is a scary world we live in now, that's why I learned as much as I could about hardware and diagnostics, fix it myself! :)

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Or you can encrypt your hard drive using the True crypt...Create a hidden voulme in a Container there hide ur family potos and imp files and hand over th HDD to fix their issues ..even u acn use the bit drive encryption to protect your secondary partitions ...

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Or you can encrypt your hard drive using the True crypt...Create a hidden voulme in a Container there hide ur family potos and imp files and hand over th HDD to fix their issues ..even u acn use the bit drive encryption to protect your secondary partitions ...

Ideally, you should have a separate hard drive for all your files/documents/pictures. Rather than saving it all, to your main HDD. And if you ever take your computer into a repair shop, the least you could do is remove the hard drive and be safe from those idiots.

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Ideally, you should have a separate hard drive for all your files/documents/pictures. Rather than saving it all, to your main HDD. And if you ever take your computer into a repair shop, the least you could do is remove the hard drive and be safe from those idiots.

right bro, if a poor person who have no bucks to buy an external drive , What would you suggest ? Bit locker ?

but these days tom ,dick ,and harry also have external drives ..!

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There has been a great deal of debate in the USA on what legally constitutes "Obscenity" going back to the 1960s when US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously said "I know it when I see it" to describe his threshold test for pornography. The language used in the various laws which Congress has passed since then have done little to make it any less subjective. Furthermore, many of the laws governing child pornography in the USA are utterly broken.

At one talk I saw a couple years ago (I think it was at The Next HOPE, but I can't seem to find it) the speaker went into detail describing how the child pornography laws in the USA possibly even not constitutional. For example, if an image or video is suspected of depicting an underage model it is up to the accused (the person found to be in possession of the image or video) to provide proof that the model was of a legal age at the time of recording. Notice, it is not up to the prosecutor to prove that the model is underage, as is normally the case. The accused must somehow track down the model or person(s) who produced the recording and procure evidence in their defense that the model is of a legal age. That whole "innocent until proven guilty" thing is just thrown out the window entirely if the judge hears the magic words, "kiddie porn".

Relevant article I found while trying to find that talk.

Yep its a fine line and open to interpretation,what if I was of a particular background and I had a flight sim installed and google maps bookmarked? That could potentially see me off on a very unpleasant trip, heck I could be off on that trip just by talking about it.

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Personally I am hopping that this kind of stuff does not become common place. I make my living doing on-site technical support and there are many times that systems need to return with me to my shop for repair. I have a very strict policy of whats none of my buisness. I am paid to fix the computer, I could care less whats on it. However, after a data recovery or even a backup in the case of a nuke and pave I always open a few files to make sure nothing got corrupted. I tend to just randomly click on a few pictures to make sure they open. However, my customers privacy is critical to my buisness. If you break that trust not only would you loose that customer but anyone else that they told.

On the subject of kiddie porn or abuse the rules are off the table. While I don't go looking for anything if I stumble across something like this, and definitions aside we all know what that is, then you belong in jail. I'm sorry but you don't f*ck with kids, there’s a line and that crosses it.

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