The NY Post’s Hunter Biden Laptop Story Is a Right-to-Repair Nightmare


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Image: Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images for World Food Program USA

According to a story in the New York Post, a repair store in Delaware snooped through the contents of an abandoned MacBook Pro and allegedly unearthed video, photos, and emails belonging to Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden. The New York Post pitches it as a “smoking gun” for a narrative promoted by Donald Trump about Hunter Biden’s dealings with a Ukrainian energy company, but a closer look at the story, and at the etiquette of the vast majority of repair stores, reveals a lot of red flags. On Wednesday afternoon, Twitter stopped users from sharing the article because, Twitter claimed, it contained hacked material.

“The computer was dropped off at a repair shop in Biden’s home state of Delaware in April 2019, according to the store’s owner,” the New York Post said. “The customer who brought in the water-damaged MacBook Pro for repair never paid for the service or retrieved it or a hard drive on which its contents were stored, according to the shop owner, who said he tried repeatedly to contact the client.”

“The shop owner couldn’t positively identify the customer as Hunter Biden, but said the laptop bore a sticker from the Beau Biden Foundation, named after Hunter’s late brother and former Delaware attorney general,” the article notes.

Computer repair experts say this story doesn’t make a lot of sense, and that it is incredibly hard to believe that a repair shop owner couldn’t identify exactly who dropped off the computer.

“Lots of holes in the chain of events that don’t make sense from the perspective of a repair shop,” Gay Gordon-Byrne, the executive director of the Repair Association, told Motherboard in an email. “In the real world, repair shops need to know the name of the customer in order to get paid. The equipment doesn’t just get dropped off in the night like a foundling on the steps of the nunnery.”

Taking the narrative in the NY Post at face value, the Delaware repair shop behaved horribly by not protecting its customer’s data. It is a nightmare for the perception of independent repair shops, who are supposed to fix their customers’ computers, or perhaps recover data for a customer, not…

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