Maybe that Geek Squad tech was copying porn that had been downloaded from the net. At one point in the video Consumerist posted documenting the sting, we see the tech looking over his spoils, and he appears to have copied what the narrator calls "pornographic videos." But what's much more disturbing is that he appears to copy personal photographs in the same way.
Look how Consumerist baited the tech. This is a screenshot of the desktop on the laptop the website set up specifically to attract an unauthorized porn grab. (In computing parlance, this type of computer trap is called a honeypot.) Here the desktop wallpaper is an image of three young, attractive women, wearing lots of makeup and dressed in a sexy but not entirely scandalous way. It's the kind of wallpaper the stereotypical sorority girl might have, and that's exactly the point. It's designed to show the tech in one quick glance that the owner of this computer is a sexy party girl, that she has sexy party girl friends, that they get dressed up sexy and go out to parties, and that they take pictures of themselves when they go.
Even the order form the store required its customer to fill out must have suggested that this computer would be a perfect target, loaded with personal photographs: Consumerist answered the standard survey, indicating the computer was personal (circled and underlined), that it would be used to burn music and movies and to print photographs, and that photography is the most desired capability, ranked with the highest score, followed by video and music ranked in the middle. This customer, the form implies, is going to load her computer with personal photos.
And photos are exactly what the tech looks for. He immediately scans the desktop folders whose names include the words pics or pictures and determines that they are the first quarry worth copying to his USB drive. In particular, he picks out folders with suggestive names—that is, names that suggest not pornography but personal, sexy pictures. Here the screenshot catches the Geek Squad tech copying a picture folder named "out clubbin!!!" It's a folder name that, directly and implicitly through style and punctuation, says, "Here's where I store pictures of myself and my hot friends wearing skimpy clothes, getting drunk, and doing stupid things."
The tech is presumably satisfied when he actually finds sexy personal photos. In one scene from Consumerist's video, when the tech is looking over what he found, he does find some porn. But before he even looks for porn itself, he opens a photo file. From eight planted photos depicting a beach vacation, the tech chooses one to open for a closer look: the one that depicts a woman, presumably the laptop's owner or a friend, standing in the surf wearing a bikini. This isn't porn, but to a horny male computer user (or a group thereof, if this file's destination is a communal server) it serves a similar purpose.
That's the darker side to what Geek Squad is doing here. This isn't just an image the customer looks at—it's an image of herself. If you own pornography, either on your hard drive or under your mattress, of course you want to keep it private. Whatever else pornography is, for most people its role in life is a private one. But how much more private are pictures of yourself wearing skimpy clothes, doing generally naughty things, or even appearing naked? We keep the sexy pictures we look at close, but we keep the sexy pictures we're in even closer.
The horror of what Geek Squad did isn't the idea that a stranger knows what you've been getting off to. It's that the stranger is getting off to you.
Indexed by tags pornography, crime, Internet, Geek Squad, Consumerist, photography, women.