Geek Squad Inc. is a subsidiary of American multinational consumer electronics corporation Best Buy, headquartered in Richfield, Minnesota. The subsidiary was originally an independent company founded by “Chief Inspector” Robert Stephens on June 16, 1994, and offers various computer-related services and accessories for residential and commercial clients. In 2002, they merged with Best Buy, retaining Stephens as the primary corporate leadership for the subsidiary. The Webroot Geek Squad provides services in-store, on-site, and over the Internet via remote access, and also provides 24-hour telephone and emergency on-site support. Geek Squad no longer works solely on computer-related devices. It now diagnoses issues in and repairs all consumer electronics, as well as appliances
In 2007, Geek Squad officially added Magnolia Home Theater installation teams as well as Best Buy Mobile Installers to the Geek Squad brand. The change was titled, “Total Services” and was aimed towards the combination of major Best Buy services into one cohesive unit. Best Buy mobile installers and Magnolia Home Theater installers have now switched from their previous grey and blue uniforms to grey and orange shirts with grey cargo pants. This change removed all “Magnolia Home Theater Installation” branding and was replaced by “Geek Squad Installation Units” instead. This has now allowed Geek Squad to incorporate home theater installation as one of the in home services offered via telephone.
Mark Atlan is featured on the mobile application and the current spokesperson for Geek Squad. Geek Squad employees are known as Agents and are assigned titles similar to those used by intelligence agencies – Counter Intelligence Agent (CIA), Deputy of Counter Intelligence (DCI), Double Agent-Covert (DAC), Covert Agent (CA), Special Agent (SA), Deputy Covert Operations (DCO) and Deputy Field Marshal (DFM), to name a few. Unlike most computer repair facilities, Best Buy US does not require any industry certifications for its in-store technicians. However, Best Buy Canada requires at least A+ Certification to work as a CIA. They also require MECP certification for all technical mobile electronics installers.
Uniforms and vehicles
In-store PC agents, and in-home PC field agents, wear a white, short-sleeved, pocketless dress shirt. Agents are required to wear a black clip-on tie with the Geek Squad logo pin. Male agents wear black trousers, white socks and black lace-up shoes that used to have the Geek Squad logo on the sole. Female agents may wear either black trousers, white socks, and black shoes; or, a black skirt with hose and black shoes. White and black are the only colors allowed in Geek Squad uniforms. Agents who have served in an eligible capacity within any branch of Geek Squad for eighteen months, or who have held certain positions prior to 2014 including on-site Double Agents, Special Agents, and Deputies of Counter Intelligence carry a metal police-style badge with their Agent Number engraved on it.
The Minnesota Historical Society added the official uniform to its permanent collection in 2000.
Geek Squad Autotechs and GSIs (Home Theater Installers) wear a grey button-up work shirt or black short sleeved and collared dress shirt with the Geek Squad logo on the front and optional certification patches on the arms. Matching pants or shorts are worn as well as a bright orange undershirt. These agents also have the option of wearing a grey Geek Squad hat and/or black Geeks Squad nylon jacket.
Prior to 2016, Double Agents & Special Agents drove black-and-white Volkswagen New Beetles (dubbed “Geekmobiles”) with an orange-and-black company logo on the door. Geekmobiles in California are all-black with white roof and running boards due to a request by the California Highway Patrol that the vehicles no longer resemble the paint scheme of their police vehicles (a violation of California law). In 2016, Geek Squad began phasing out the New Beetles and replacing them with Toyota Prius Cs.
Due to a number of financial issues, including a large number of parking tickets and thousands of dollars lost for parking garage fees the Geekmobile program was ended in Manhattan New York City Geek Squad Precincts.
In the UK, Double Agents used Smart cars initially, but due to the congestion charge, agents operating in the centre of London later relied on the London Underground system.
The Double Agent program in the UK ceased in late 2012. All technical support services continued in store or via Mission Control, Tulketh Mill. From here, the Covert or Covert Operations Agent title was established, Agents from Covert Operations are responsible for the technical support of desktop or laptop devices. They provide support for narrow range of approved issues verbally over the phone, or Agents will connect to clients devices remotely and fix any issues if the computer is able to connect to the internet.
Geek Squad City
Located in Brooks, Kentucky, Geek Squad City is the largest Geek Squad Computer repair site at 240,000 square feet.
Geek Squad technicians have been caught on numerous occasions searching and copying pornographic content stored on their clients’ computers without permission. When asked about the incident, Geek Squad founder Robert Stephens refused to discuss the topic and focused on whether bloggers should be considered true journalists.
At least one former Geek Squad employee had come forward with allegations that the practice of surreptitiously searching for pornography on their clients’ computers is not restricted to isolated employees, but is often shared with management.
Geek Squad employees have allegedly engaged in peeping tom activities on female customers during in-house service visits. A 2007 case alleges that a Geek Squad employee used his cell phone to record a 22-year-old female customer while she showered without her knowledge or permission. The employee was arrested and Best Buy was sued over the incident. In another case, a Geek Squad employee allegedly stole nude photographs of a 27-year-old female customer from her computer while it was being serviced. The employee then allegedly shared the photos on the internet.
In 2002, during a spate of legal threats and challenges to competitors with “geek” in their names, Geek Squad attempted to block the trademark registration of New England area competitor Geek Housecalls claiming that it violated their trademarks. When Geek Housecalls refused to budge, Geek Squad filed civil suit. After two years of wrangling, Geek Squad and Geek Housecalls arrived at an out-of-court settlement, the details of which cannot be disclosed according to the terms of the settlement except to state that Geek Housecalls retained its name.
In 2006, Geek Squad was sued for allegedly using unauthorized copies of Winternals’ Emergency Repair Disk Commander. The lawsuit filed by Austin-based Winternals claims that employees of Geek Squad have continued using the unlicensed versions of the software after the commercial licensing agreement broke off. Best Buy and Geek Squad were accused of copyright infringement, circumvention of copyright infringement systems, and misappropriation of trade secrets. A settlement was eventually reached, and Winternals created a three-year agreement in place with Best Buy, allowing Geek Squad employees to lawfully use their licensed programs, including the ERD Commander.
In 2010, Best Buy issued a trademark infringement cease and desist letter against a priest in Wisconsin for painting “God Squad” on his car.
In 2013, Geek Squad was sued for invasion of privacy and several other civil infractions for allegedly releasing nude images found on a customer’s computer. The suit is ongoing. In June 2015, the court denied Best Buy’s motions for summary judgment on all claims except the claim for “negligence/wantonness.
On March 7, 2018, NPR reported that “FBI Used Paid Informants On Best Buy’s Geek Squad To Flag Child Pornography” according to a document that was released by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
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