A San Francisco nonprofit, which is dedicated to "defending civil liberties in the digital world," on Wednesday sued the FBI, in part due to reporting by OC Weekly.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which has long criticized the government for using third parties to spy on computer users without warrants, filed its Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, which is where plaintiff the Department of Justice is based.
But the case really centers on the federal courthouse in Santa Ana, a gynecological oncologist who treats patients in Newport Beach and Best Buy's Geek Squad repair facility in Kentucky.
Dr. Mark Rettenmaier, who resides in Laguna Niguel, is fighting a child porn possession prosecution in federal court, where the evidence against him is an image plucked from a laptop he took to a Best Buy store in Mission Viejo. Like many customers, Rettenmaier was unaware their property is sent to the giant Geek Squad repair facility in Brooks, Kentucky. And like just about anyone anywhere, he did not know eight employees of that plant search customer computers for the FBI, even when the snooping has nothing to do with the required repairs.
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As the Weekly's R. Scott Moxley has reported, the government's case against Rettenmaier has been crumbling, and not just because of the dubious way the evidence against him was collected.