I had to take my Mac Book into Apple to get the video card repaired. I was so paranoid that someone would look at /copy my HDD (proprietary software and private keys) that I took it out and replaced it with a blank drive. With the new Mac’s the HDD is not removable so aside from the other downsides, no tech is ever going to get something with my private keys on it. My porn is pretty vanilla so I’m not that worried about it, but my keys cause me far more anxiety if any rogue tech got a copy.
no tech is ever going to get something with my private keys on it
Full disk encryption?
Since you can lose your laptop on the train and someone could use it for identity theft, there is no excuse not to use FDE.
I do use FDE, still not going to open up my HDD to a tech and give it to them.
One thing I didn’t understand from the article: The Geek Squad technician found child porn in “unallocated space” on the hard drive which presumably is what happens after you empty the recycle bin or whatever, and it’s still there on the drive but hasn’t been zeroed?
So they have some tech that’s searching the unallocated space on the hard drive for photos?? Just bonkers.
Also, previously on Geek Squad and searching customer hard drives for porn: https://consumerist.com/2007/07/16/how-geek-squad-steals-your-porn/
As for having such software — they do advertise the service of recovering accidentally deleted files.
I myself have once recovered an accidentally deleted textfile from freed blocks from another person’s laptop. It was in some sense similar to recovering images: signature search (rare keywords in this case), examining adjacent HDD blocks… The person was sitting besides me, seeing all the progress and suggesting other keywords for finding this file. That’s no magic, just some amount of skilled work — and I wasn’t using any non-FLOSS software, and the final workflow could be implemented using just the tools already present on a generic Ubuntu Live DVD.
On the other hand, the Geek Squad employees have tools for accessing unallocated space and technical competence to use them and full physical control over devices for a long time and monetary incentives to find something and (apparently) no comprehensive legal training on handling evidence. Also it looks like most Geek Squad branches have previously reported similar findings, and it is impossible to prove they don’t have any remaining copies of such files. In an ideal legal system such a combination of motive and opportunity to plant evidence should significantly increase prosecution’s burden of proof at a trial.
There’s freely available tech for file recovery, so it’s not hard to imagine people being seduced by the dark side and be snitches. Without dates and other metadata, they might as well have planted it, hoping to make a quick buck.
Innocent until proven guilty, no matter how bad the accusation is.
Even with dates and meta data it could still be planted. This is like the “the (company/gmail) email server is the single source of truth” falacy. Basically anything unsigned in a digital world can be forged. Signed data may or may not be forged depending on the strength of the keys, the collision space, or the availability of the keys.
But that’s exactly what they need and have for the purpose of data recovery. It doesn’t really matter if the data is some important precious memory photos or child pornography.