Privacy

A gross violation of user support trust -- What would you do? Take the poll

As user support professionals, we all have access to users' data, oftentimes personal in nature, especially if you support home users. We're trusted to respect a person's privacy, and users have a right to be outraged when that trust is violated. Here's one user's story about one such violation.

As user support professionals, we all have access to users' data, oftentimes personal in nature, especially if you support home users. We're trusted to respect a person's privacy, and users have a right to be outraged when that trust is violated. Here's one user's story about one such violation.

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I was recently browsing through the Techrepublic off-topic discussions (hanging around the TR water cooler), and I saw a discussion started by a TR member who sent his computer into the manufacturer to have the motherboard replaced. When his computer was returned, he was horrified to learn that not only was his privacy violated but his personal data was actually copied from his computer.

The discussion can be found here.

Now as a disclaimer, I've not discussed this incident with the TR member who started that discussion, and of course, I can't verify the claims made, but it sure sounds like it's on the up-and-up to me. Nonetheless, it does illustrate something that all users probably think about in the back of their minds -- how safe is their data and how respected is their privacy?

This particular user had keylogger installed on his computer, so he was actually able to retrace the steps taken by the support technicians, and he even had screen shots of the devious deeds that were done. He discovered that the support tech working on his computer changed settings, snooped around the hard drive, and actually copied pictures, music, and videos onto an external storage device. And based on the accounts as described by the user, it's obvious that the file transfer was not for the purpose of backing up data. What a total and gross violation of trust this was, not to mention a possible crime. If this had happened to me, to say that I would be outraged is an understatement.

I support corporate users, not home users, and as such my circumstances are vastly different than those who do support home users. Regardless, I still make it a personal policy to respect the privacy of my users. Heck, we all have personal pictures, music, and such on our computers, and I would also suppose that most of us might send a personal e-mail on occasion. I would never dream of snooping into someone's personal space, even if it is of the cyber variety and even if it is on corporate computers. (Note: My company might be different than others that might have stricter policies against these things.)

I would hope that no user support professional would violate a user's trust in such a way, although it's probably inevitable that it does happen. Just like I've had loose change lifted from the console of my car by an unscrupulous valet, I suppose there's also such people working as user support techs who would lift personal data from a computer.

I'm not sure what I would have done if I were in this person's shoes. In the very least, I think I would have demanded that the dirty deed be acknowledged and that the tech be severely reprimanded. If I were brushed off, I would have probably threatened more formal action, either through their corporate channels or even law enforcement. But I would have wanted proof that something was done, and perhaps even a personal apology from the tech in question.

Maybe I'm too forgiving, and I think that our zero-tolerance world takes some things too far. (Like the kid expelled from school for bringing a water pistol to class.) Not everything is always so black and white. This might have been a young person who needed no more than a good scare and embarrassment to set him/her onto a straighter path. Heck, some young kids think it's perfectly okay to copy data, share music, and so on, and maybe this is a case of gross ignorance gone too far. But I suppose I can't say for sure what I would ultimately have done, except that I would have vigorously pursued something, and how I was treated would probably have determined my future actions, if any.

Take the poll. What would you have done?

And please leave your thoughts and comments in the following discussion.

148 comments
RS9
RS9

I trust nobody! The last time I hired a repair/tech. person to work on my workstation, it was conditional on signing a non disclosure and NO COPY of any kind agreement. The agreement also prohibits using ANY of my files or folders as "Test" data for any purpose. They must download their own files for testing of any kind. Period! Yes, I also install a stealth key logger for verification. I also remove ALL sensitive files/folders before my machine leaves my site. I've never had a violation.(Yet) When I do, my SHARK lawyer will be loosed on him and his company...

JohnOfStony
JohnOfStony

On a personal computer, such action is totally unacceptable. However, on a company computer, I consider the company which paid for the computer has every right to inspect it as and when it likes. If you use a work computer for personal purposes, you only have to copy any personal items onto a USB memory device, so leaving personal data on a work computer is entirely up to the user. I came across a case where an employee had used his computer to access hard core pornographic sites and had saved photos to the hard drive. I believe he got fired, but I've only got one comment to make on that - sheer stupidity by the employee. Anything personal I do on my own PC at home and if my home PC dies, I remove the hard drive, remove all personal data from the hard drive and then refit it before I would even think of sending the PC off to a repair company. OK, not everyone knows how to copy data from a hard drive in a dead computer, but most people know a friend or colleague who could help or could find such a person.

rkendsley
rkendsley

If you are going to push out an old article TR..... you should make sure the POLL is on the subject. What do SmartPhones have to do with a violation of user trust? Nothing.

geekinbach
geekinbach

It only takes a few selfish people to ruin a good thing.... I think this really illuminates the "me first" thinking that many people have going through life. This issue and many others will continue to proliferate until we ALL look at ourselves and do what best for everyone, not just ourself.

jwebfoot2togo
jwebfoot2togo

If you want to keep it private don't send it out with HDD installed!! When a tech has it he has every right to do what he thinks is best in making sure the PC is truly fixed. I'm sure he would have a spare HDD to test with and the copying maybe to insure data not lost after other needed tests are done.

NCWeber
NCWeber

That's why a number of computer support companies I've worked with request that you remove the hard drive if you don't want anything to happen to your data. As a rule, if it's a hardware problem I take the hard drive out. If it's a software problem, I fix it myself.

kcs5456
kcs5456

This type of action is unacceptable and there are no excuses. This is a black and white matter. As a client, with a computer problem, you send in your computer to be repaired. Not your data, music, pictures or e-mail to be searched, reviewed and copied, just fixed the problem and returned the computer you. The personal information on your computer, corporate or personal is yours and unless you are being investigate for a criminal action the information is not to be touched In the example given in this article the action of the technician was either grossly incompetent of his action or criminal responsible for theft of private property. Actions I would take, full search of the technician data storage devices at work, apology to the client by the manager and technician, firing the technician. Also a recommendation of the same data storage search at the technician home, if he / she did this once they have before.

Jaqui
Jaqui

If I was in the business of servicing systems for others [ not my company owned systems ] I would have a policy to back the defective system's data up before commencing work on it. once the system was restored to functioning correctly, THEN make sure the client's data is restored to it, if it was lost. The CD / DVD containing that data would be returned WITH the system, and labeled with date that it is a data backup. While it may seem invasive of privacy to back the data up, I know most end users would be more upset if a repair wiped their data out. keeping a copy, that is a criminal code violation here, not to be done under any circumstances. well, Privacy Protection Act violation, with very stiff penalties, up to and including prison time.

reisen55
reisen55

Here are twin tales of terror. Read these and fear. For a local home customer, I had to rebuild the fellow's home computer for standard reasons (malware, etc - it was a long time ago) and in the process I learned far more about his family and spouse than I realllllly needed to know. OK, goes with the territory though because we are sometimes called upon to be Patron Saints and turn a blind eye. And it is the customer's data and who am I to judge. Over time, I came to advise the customer on the proper sites to go to avoid malware and keep his system clean. Hey, we're human too. So a week later I am at the home of one of my corporate clients, a physician whose home computer went bad and as I was repairing it with him, I told him the tale, without names or any details, of how I often see private stuff on systems that I have to carefully navigate around and all the discretion of Hercule Poirot. For an A+ class, too, I would bring in computers that I found and we would see which websites were hit - all illustrative of personal data issues. ... And when I turned back to the screen, the mouse flipped over recent sites and there it was: to use polite term for this board, it was a recent hit for men as women, with proper alterations down below. Oh my gawd...........and this is a corporate client. A doctor. (Just put my whole foot in my mouth). I just moved the mouse beyond the marked page, said nothing and decided the subject was really not worth saying anything more about. We must act as saint-confessors sometimes.

jpsolutions
jpsolutions

I'm an independent consultant and do a lot of support for both corporate and home users. And sometimes you do stumble upon data that is very personal in nature. However, no one has the right to steel information. This is a serious offense that is punishable by law in most states. We as support technicians must hold the same standards that most other professional hold in many types of industries. I believe the technician should be reprimanded for his actions. And if such an individual was to worked for me and had done such a thing, I would seek action and encourage my client to do so as well. After all it's my reputation on the line. He just may be steeling pictures, music and videos but the temptation can grow and there is no telling what he can be trusted to do next. JP

dvdanderson
dvdanderson

I voted other. The acknowledgement and apology would not be enough and firing the tech would be too much. There should be a punishment of some sort, suspended for a few days without pay, but no firing. I would want not only the tech to apologize, but the company that the tech worked for. And, I would want to see some policy enforcement by the company. Make that tech the example and make sure it doesn't happen again. This would only be after a few days of calming down, my first reaction would be to Fire the tech and seek legal action against both the tech and the company.

explorehalkidiki
explorehalkidiki

Heck, we all have personal pictures, music, and such on our computers,..." Pornography, yes. "...and I would also suppose that most of us might send a personal e-mail on occasion." Yes, we guys are known to occasionally send photos of nude women to each other. "I would never dream of snooping into someone?s personal space, even if it is of the cyber variety, and even if it is on corporate computers." Right, sure you wouldn't, mac. Unless it happens to be to collect evidence of infidelity on the part of your significant other.

ninewands
ninewands

My response would depend on the degree of invasion that actually occurred. At minimum I would expect an acknowledgment by the tech's employer and a personal apology by the tech and his employer. For anything more serious than the most minimal "browsing" my response would be adjusted upward as I felt appropriate.

snappytom1950
snappytom1950

If a person goes to a theatre and circumstances were they could just walk in, assured of not being detected, and whatch the show without purchaseing a thicket, what percent of people whould purchase a ticket? Trust issue.

perryj60
perryj60

?? My first thought is to demand the person submit and remove any information they have even if it requires law inforcement. If they did it to you they did it to someone else and most likely will do it again.

pulsemeter_ltd
pulsemeter_ltd

There are several aspects to this but my first point is that no personal data may be copied or used without the 'owners' consent. Not sure where thia happened but in the UK we do have very very strict legisaltion regarding personal data. A possible thought is that in recent years technicians are expected to report instances of pornographic (particulrly paedophile) or illegal material (I know of instances where someone used a laptop to plan a crime and was 'discovered' when it went in for repair) and of course always the possibility of Terrorist Intel on a personal computer. While in no way defending the actions of this technician it may throw a different light on the story, when we realise that technicians are 'caught' and perhaps they should be made more aware (at interview and by personal vetting (I ma security cleared for several differing circumstances such as Child safety, counter terrorism and public data security) perhaps we should make those mandatory But there'll be a cost, and we will have to bear it. A difficult environmnet that we live in Again I no way condone this technicians apparent actions. Paul

supergeek.tech
supergeek.tech

I think it it is our responsibility to practice strong morals and ethics when we are dealing with other people's computers. With that being said, you will always have someone that take liberties with other peoples personal belongings. I have heard of cases where someone rifles through other people's drawers when everyone else leaves the office, or looks through someone's medicine cabinet when they use their bathrooms. Morals....some people have them and others don't! I say that users are quick to assume that we are looking at everything. I had an incident where we had installed a firewall and spam filters and we let everyone know in the user polices that anything they did on the system was the property of the company and COULD be tracked. So one day a user comes to my office and says "I just wanted to let you know before you read it that I said something to someone about you in an email" she went on to tell me how they all know that I read all the emails now! It was a really sort of funny situation and very uncomfortable, I had to laugh that she (and others) thought that I personally had the time to sit and read all the emails for 200 users on a daily basis. But I also saw the gravity of the situation of being accused of something that I clearly did not and would not do. Bottom line - be cautious when dealing someone's data and be respectful. Never assume that no one is watching.

johnmckay
johnmckay

I worry about folk using keyloggers, after all they're their to circumvent someone elses privacy. Can you then complain about them breaching yours? Clearly not! That said we clearly expect some privacy and would certainly see copying of personal photos and video as a breach worthy of dismissal. You have no right of privacy to stop someone viewing, and calling in the cops, as Gary Glitter found out a while back. If you've something private then keep it private... don't send it to the repair shop. If it's DVDs aor MP3s then where's the harm? We all copy items of a non-persoanl nature, all the time.

barrycs
barrycs

Yes this is a gross violation of user trust and both the company and the local authorities should be notified. The technician violated the my first rule - do no harm. That means intentionally. Removing files before shipping a PC to a vendor for service is cumbersome for most people and most wouldn't be doing it. Depending on the service, having a password on your hard drive wouldn't prohibit this kind of act. For a home user, the best defense is to mount a vigorous offense against the company. For a corporate user, it is forbidden in most companies to put private material on your hard drive. Yes people do put their Quickbooks etc. data and then demand the tech repair or delete completely the data when swapping or fixing the company owned asset. I have let company employees know that I will not look at data when copying or backing up their PC's. However, I'm not responsible for anything that is not in my documents and will not restore anything that is not in my documents., which by policy, is the location for all local documents. Reminding end users about the policy and enforcing it goes a long way in protecting the company, the tech, and the end user.

seanferd
seanferd

the actions taken by the tech,as depicted in the original post, are definitely wrong. There isn't any reason to go past the Windows logon screen here, unless the system board was not the same revision and needed drivers installed. Even in situations requiring a backup or inspection of a working system, snooping and selective copying is unwarranted. Still, it would behoove any user not to trust anyone with their data. This does not negate the responsibility for techs to respect other people's property.

reisen55
reisen55

First if I hand in a computer for work, I want NOTHING BAD on it ever. Don't give anybody a reason to snoop. You're asking for trouble from many places and not just a repair tech. I would personally visit the tech's manager and have a long talk, then call in the tech to see the manager dress him down.

mikec
mikec

since I have evidence I would see if the company and the tech acknowledge the deed or cover it up. I would contact the supervisor or probably the Manger of the tech. and report that the tech. had copied information from my PC. There should be a rational discussion w/regard to why I think that. I would answer only that I have information demonstrating they have a thief employed by their company and want an investigation and to be notified of the outcome and diciplinary action taken by the manager. I would tell the Manager what I expect as a customer and what i will do next if my expection is not satisfied. Then wait for them to do their investigation. If they do not confirm my accusation then I would conclude and tell them "not only do you have a thief employed by your company but you have a liar as well" and let them know that I will tell everyone I know how my complaint was handled.

unhappyuser
unhappyuser

The tech should be fired and the company's legal dept should be sent a letter. If the owner's identity is stolen, pictures end up on the web, credit cards are fraudently charged, etc. their bases are covered for a future lawsuit. The owner then needs to be sat down and have it explained to them how dumb it was to send the unit in with the hard drive. Someone has no common sense. I would never send in a hard drive with my personal data on it. I would either remove the data, and scrub it, or put in a spare drive if the tech requested one. I hope both the owner of the computer and the company learned something from this. I also hope this stays in the back of people's minds if they ever have to send in their computer. EMD

steve
steve

No copy? OK, sir, here is your machine back, by the way, your hard drive is failing and you have already lost some data, but with your no copy agreement, we could not do anything about saving the rest of your data. Good Luck. Our company has policies in place to govern this kind of work, including non-disclosure, which is a given since we do not look at file contents other than byte count, but a lot of information could be gleaned from file and directory names. If need be, the customer data is backed up to be moved to a new install, or a new drive. To avoid problems, we maintain that copy of the data for 30 days, should the customer have any questions whether they did get all the data back. We take steps to cover ourselves, as well as protect the customer. I do not think you would be a customer of ours with an insistence that data is not copied, since there are a number of instances when this would be necessary.

kama410
kama410

That word is: civilized. I have a theory that you can judge a person's level of civilization by how they behave in a public restroom when they think no one will notice. The people that leave a mess (water all over the sink, don't flush, etc.) do so because they know, subconsciously, that none of their 'clan' will be following them and do not care about the people who are not members of their 'clan'. Additionally, they may even have the animal instinct to mark their territory, so to speak. The civilized people understand that if they leave things a little better than they found them the next person may do the same, thus improving the situation for everyone. Take a look at the bathrooms in your local mall and think about this. This doesn't apply to places like the bathrooms in an office where it is fairly likely that someone will know who the last person in there was and will see how they left it.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

Now just imagine what a world it would be if we all took that and applied it to the simplest and most mundane aspects of our daily lives.

liljim
liljim

You'll feel no repair if you bring your system in without the drive. The problem that is presented in 90% of the workorders for repair work are based on the programs either installed, or missing on the harddrive. If you bring the system without the harddrive, I'd have no choice but to decline to service your machine. Yes I have spare harddrives. I also have the disks to install the operating system. But to do so would violate the EULA, so you are asking me to cheat. If I am the kind of dealer who cheats, you should not have come to me in the first place. Since you did, you've admitted you like to cheat and think I will cooperate and help you. Your visit to my store is an insult and I'd tell you where to stick it.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

I would have wiped the drive or reimaged the factory image somehow. He said it wouldn't post, so i would have pulled the drive and did a dban wipe from another machine without informing the warranty tech. They just wouldn't get my stuff no way no how. I know how to play dumb. "Nothing? It worked before it started that weird beeping sound on the black screen!" I would have under no circumstances sent my data via the mail. But that's just me. If I did send it I would have sent it fully expecting inexperienced 19-21 year old techs digging through my pictures hoping for amateur girlfriend/housewife pr0n and pirating my music.

squirrelpie0
squirrelpie0

There was a case recently in Wiinipeg, MB, Canada where a resident of another jurisdiction in the country returned a computer for repair and was provided with a loaner. The resident apparently returned the loaner with some personal files still on the drive indicating aledged voyeurism on minors or some allegedly other illegal activity. The owner of the laptop reported their suspicions to police and the resident was arrested and charged. The case is still before the courts. It raises two issues: 1. Is the data left on the loaner's computer exempt from privacy considerations because it was left by the borrower of, not the owner of the computer. 2. If you encounter evidence suspecting a crime has been committed are you not required to report it to the authourities. In some jurisdictions teachers, medical personnel, etc are required to report suspected child abuse. Where does that leave computer techs? I'm not talking about deliberate snooping, but if during the repair of a unit you are glancing through computer files and the 'view' setting is to thumbnails and bang there's a bunch of kiddie porn, what are your responsibilities. I don't think the owner of the computer can expect the computer tech is under the same confidentiality restraints as an attorney or a priest. And in fact, failing to report such knowledge may leave the tech open to criminal charges. What is the situation in different countries, states, and provinces?

Joe_R
Joe_R

.....he was one of [i]those[/i] kinds of doctors? The ones who actually perform the procedure (versus perform the act)? No?

Joe_R
Joe_R

And good expectations. Thanks for the reply.

Joe_R
Joe_R

Thanks for the chuckle

Joe_R
Joe_R

Thanks for posting

Joe_R
Joe_R

What's showing?

vbliss1
vbliss1

As a victim of identity theft through no fault of mine (doctor's office employee stole entire patient list with social security #'s personal info, etc.)I would pursue criminal action. This would leave the consequences of the person's actions up to the criminal system after they assessed (through an investigation) just how much information this person has collected and for what reasons. Never leave yourself open to disaster by investigating yourself, "hoping" it's a young person that just needs to be scared straight. Your financial future is at stake!

Joe_R
Joe_R

You said, [i]"I worry about folk using keyloggers, after all they're their to circumvent someone elses privacy. Can you then complain about them breaching yours? Clearly not!"[/i] In the original message, the user in question said that he installed keylogger to keep track of what his kids do on the computer. That seems like a good parenting tool to me. Not all things are so absolute.

steve
steve

What is it with you people? Sue everybody in sight? Get the tech sacked? What good will that do? If you send your PC in for repair then you should expect the data to get backed up, and who can put their hand on their heart and say they've never looked at data they've backed up? If you don't check, how do you know you've made a good backup? I'm not saying you should read everything, but at least check a few directories to make sure the files in there are readable. Which would you prefer? To lose absolutely everything on the drive as the tech has not backed up data before formatting, or have the tech check he's got a decent backup and save your stuff? I'm not surprised to see loads of Americans on here jump up and down and threaten lawsuits, but I noticed a couple of Europeans getting all bent out of shape over this non-event as well. Shame on you...recommending fellow techs get canned. 'Let he who is without sin......'

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

All the Domestic Users who loudly complain that they lost all of their Data when they sent the Computer in to be repaired. I even had one client here demanding to know why when the Owners of a Leased Computer replaced her HDD her Data was no longer on it. :D Seems that many people think that because they copy something to a HDD it's there forever come what may and when it gets lost there is [b]Hell to Pay.[/b] :( To me the Idiot who sent the HDD in with Data on it is just as guilty as the person who looked provided that this was more than checking that applications and Data still worked after replacing a M'Board. It is quite possible that this Tech opened a Application and found that it's data wasn't saved to the My Documents Folder so he backed it up before proceeding any further. :) I know I have seen that on more than one occasion previously. The less knowledgeable will save to the Root of the HDD because they know where it is then and it's easy to find. Though they can not understand why the HDD becomes full when there are still 300 GIG unused. :0 Col

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It sounds like your company notifies customers at the start. This would give the client a chance to give permission and be aware that data would be copied. The difference in the original case was having a machine returned to only then discover that it had been leafed through. If I give the Super permission to enter my apartment; not a problem. If I come home and find him unexpectedly sitting on my couch with my beer; problem.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Here for instance if an IT Tech sees Child Abuse just like a Doctor, Teacher, Nurse they are required to report this to the Authorities. Col

Chug
Chug

This has already been handled by the courts in the US too. I don't remember the details but remember reading about it. A guy was convicted of child pornography because he had taken his PC to a shop to have it repaired and the tech found the pictures and reported the PC owner to the police. The guy tried to argue that his privacy had been violated. The tech (or his company) argued that for the particular work required on this person's PC (I don't remember what it was) it was inevitable that the tech would see some files, he wouldn't be able to do his job if we wasn't allowed to look at anything. The court agreed. Now, my opinion, it's one thing if a tech "stumbles" on something as part of their actual work (which is what was argued in the above case). It's quite another for the tech to actually go "searching" through the owner's data. I've read the original blog post that that this one refers to and I agree that in that case the tech had no business whatsoever doing what he did.

reisen55
reisen55

Here too we must be discreet but NOPE - no way related anything surgical - and a super nice family too. Actually they are great people so you just never know the dark corners of life. In our field, however, we always stumble into these nightmare worlds.

liljim
liljim

re-posted to a primary thread.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

As the Person in Question had a Keylogger in place I'm betting that they also hid Data in nonstandard Folders so it may be nothing more than looking to see if this works and finding new Data where its not supposed to be and adding it to the Backup. You have to be very careful jumping to conclusions with Incomplete Information. There was no listing of what was actually Copied from the HDD or where it was located. Just that it was copied supposedly, even then we have no proof of this occurring just someone saying it happened. That is hardly Proof of anything here at all. When was the last time you replaced a M'Board with the same version on a several month old system? I haven't done this in a very long time at the very least the replacement M'Board will be a Revision up on the original and require changes to keep it working. What I am surprised here with everything stated is that Data was copied. I have yet to see techs waste the time doing things like this unless they are paid to do it and Home System Makers [b]Do Not[/b] pay their Techs to do things like this. Of course I wonder what this person would have complained about if it was returned with a New M'Board and not working properly? I think that this was a [b]Setup[/b] and a No Win Situation so regardless of what was done they would have something to complain about. You do realize that some people are not happy unless they are complaining don't you? :D Col

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

...please to remove cranium from inappropriate location. The original blog post stated that the keylogging software showed the tech browsing the drive and selectively copying files. How does that constitute a "decent backup"?

kama410
kama410

In the politically correct environment we live in people are trained to be offended first and think... never. The only people this serves are the unethical 'victims of everything' and the lawyers. These people should keep in mind that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This sort of society cannot continue indefinitely. But until there is a return to sanity and personal responsibility I would take some care in what I say in public. One pathetic insect is not likely to kill you, but millions of them surely can.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

He could have been looking at what is required to treat/advise a patient. It's way too Dangerous to jump to conclusions with some people. I can remember a Barristers computer I was working on when somehow a folder of Kiddy Porn opened not sure how it happened because I wasn't even in the My Documents Folder but on that Occasion it was Evidence in a Case he was Prosecuting. When you start dealing with some Professionals Computers you re liable to find anything and everything. How would you like to have to look through Surgical Procedures so you can add a Voice Over for the Quack who is using this as a Training Exercises? I have to do this at least one a month these days. :( Col

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

And when you replace a M'Board quite often with a different Model you need to test things to see if they still work. But here depending on if the repairers where to offer their customers a Data Recovery/Saving Service to prevent Data Loss when they do any work. This would be perfectly normal. They immediately Backup any & All Data then reimage the HDD. Doesn't matter if it needs to be or not they Reimage First and ask questions latter. We have all heard many complaints from people who really should know better that they lost all of their Data when their computer was Repaired. Recently I have seen 2 Places that Backup the Data to something and then place a Temp Folder on the HDD with the Customers Data in it as well as replacing their Data on the system. That way if they miss anything when replacing the Data there is the Raw Data to look at. Now here the OP clearly says that the Saved Folder was saved from the Desktop not the My Documents Folder so it may very well just be the Standard Practice of this place in an attempt to help their customers. It doesn't matter that here the Drive [b]Was Not[/b] reimaged just that the Process of Saving the Customers Data was gone though correctly. There was no mention made of a Data Folder being placed on the HDD here and it very well may not have been because it was only the M'Board that needed to be replaced. There is also only the OP inference that there was something wrong done here. It is quite Possible that the Tech who repaired this system wasn't the one performing the Data Backup and if it is the Standard Practice of this place to attempt to help their Customers save their Data that would be perfectly OK. Of course the other side of the coin is that it may very well of been a deliberate Data Theft of Unlisted Data but after working with Domestic Users from my very limited experience admittedly most are more concerned about their Data working after a Repair than anything else. They do not Backup their Data and they do not expect anything to go astray when you work on their computers. 99.9% of the time it doesn't either but when it does there is Hell to Pay because you loose their Data that was on the HDD so it should still be there after the repair. I've seen numerous people blindly send in computers to have their HDD replaced UG and they still expect that their Data be on the Replacement HDD when the computer is returned. To this end 2 Companies here at least are now doing this and when I work on Domestic and some Business systems I do a Full Backup or everything before starting. Once I used to rely on Stored Images from Ghost till I had a problem and now I copy the clients Data to an external HDD as Raw Data before proceeding any further. You just have to love EFS with XP. :) Anyway depending on the situation here I'm just saying that this may be perfectly normal and what the bulk of the customers want. I don't even look at what is stored on these systems but you do have to locate any Data before you start the repair. Normally I wait for a week and then delete any Data I have from the various Customers just in case there is anything found missing. That doesn't mean that I religiously delete things or that I always wait a full week sometimes when things are busy Data may get deleted after a few days or at other times with extra Large Files I may find then in a little used Disc months latter and then delete them when I next use whatever the Data was stored on. The Big Places are now starting to do this because the Small Specialized Repairers do it and they need to try to compete with us to get work. Well here at least. :) I've also had clients ring up months after a repair and ask do I have a copy of their Data as they have now found something missing. Most Times I don't but I still Look at everything that I use for this now and occasionally I may find something that I've missed deleting and then I just run off a DVD and post it off to them. But I have no idea of what the Data is I just look at the File Extensions and know what needs backing up. Also because of the type of work I do I know my customers so it's not uncommon to hold onto a Folder that would otherwise be deleted just in case they loose something that is important. Like a NB. :) It doesn't stop the customers though from showing me all of their Data when they pickup their computers. :D Col

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

It may be a setup. You appear to have read the guy's qualifications and jumped immediately to that conclusion. I don't see it that way and can't follow your thought process to that conclusion. From the OP: [i]...I watched some unknown tech change my display resolution to better suit him. He then proceded to browse through my pc. He opened media player and did a search for all my picutres, music and video, and then had the audacity to COPY a folder OFF of my desktop onto his jump drive.[/i] The OP sent his PC to Acer to repair a hardware problem, to whit, the failure to POST. After the repair was complete, the [u]only[/u] test Acer tech support needed to perform was to ensure the PC would boot to a login screen. [i]Why was the tech browsing the media player at all?[/i] That's the bottom line here, Colin.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

All I had to do was log out restart the computer run Crap Cleaner empty the Temp Folders of everything and I can change TR Accounts again. Col

OH Smeg
OH Smeg

I quote this as the OP first claim to knowing what they where doing (I have worked for Best Buy as a technician , before geek squad mind you, and I have a degree in computer technology and currently work as a programmer.] Not your average Home User who doesn't know any better they also admit to inserting a Key Logger to monitor their Children's use of the system. Read the original Post that started this here http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-1009-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=283953&messageID=2685428 See if you still think the same way. I read that before posting anything here and went Whooo Hands Off this looks like a Set Up Col cr@p TR is broke again. :(

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

[i]If they where not in the My Documents Folder but buried under strange Folders and effectively hidden and only shown when Programs where opened then it would be a Backup, If the Repairer was required to do this. If you read the original Post the person complaining has the skills to do this and really should have known better.[/i] That's an awfully long jump from the skills to do something to actually doing it; just because somebody [u]can[/u] do something doesn't automatically mean they will do it. It almost sounds as if you are trying to justify the tech's actions. Most of the technically competent computer owners that I know don't mess with Windows defaults unless they get in the way. (So you don't like "My Documents" and want to call it "Stuff"? Change the name, but leave the hierarchy alone otherwise.) For me, a full backup of a customer PC means taking a drive image. I boot from a CD and image to a USB drive. I don't need to poke and pry on the hard drive itself because it's all in the image file. Once I'm done with that customer PC, the image gets wiped. If the tech can show some kind of scanning log that justifies him copying the files he copied for detailed analysis, I might excuse him, but only then.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

If they where not in the My Documents Folder but buried under strange Folders and effectively hidden and only shown when Programs where opened then it would be a Backup, If the Repairer was required to do this. If you read the original Post the person complaining has the skills to do this and really should have known better. That only leaves the possibility that they where looking for problems and in a case like that No Matter What they will find something to complain about. :) Col

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