This isn't about whether the guy skates on the child porn charge or not. Best Buy is not a state actor, so anything they do has no affect on the charges. However, is it ethical for Best Buy to rummage through someone's hard drive? I'm no techie, so I don't know. The question I guess is whether they need to go through the hard drive to do their job and just came by this by accident or do they routinely look through peoples' hard drives for a few laughs and maybe to mine personal data.
I don't see it as much different as handing one's 35mm film over to a photo lab for development.
In both cases, the technician would most likely be obligated by law to report something of this nature to the authorities if they uncover it. The key point is one can't trust them not to rummage through the data, if that's an issue, then use someone that is trusted or learn how to do it and eliminate the middleman.
I understand your point and that’s why I didn’t go into it’s not the government or the fact that it was child porn. When you hand “whatever” to someone else, it’s no longer exclusively “yours”.
According to the story, the guy brought in his hard drive to have data recovered. As a computer forensic specialist who often takes on jobs doing data recovery, I can tell you that you run across a lot of personal data while searching for the data that was deleted. From an ethical persective, I make sure i tell my clients that I will respect their privacy by not revealing any personal information I may find while doing my job, and by limiting my search as much as possible while still meeting their needs. That does not extend to protecting evidence of a crime, however, and I make sure they understand that as well. If they don't like that, take it somewhere else.
Of course, it is a simple matter to encrypt your personal data, so even if your hard drive is stolen, your won't lose your private information.