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back to article Secret Service camera bought on eBay

Today's government data loss shenanigan is a repeat performance of that old favourite - flogging off old kit containing secret information to a random punter through online tat bazaar eBay. An unnamed 28-year-old delivery man from Hemel Hempstead bought a Nikon Coolpix camera for £17 on eBay. But when he returned from his …

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Flame

Claris Works

According to The Sun article slideshow, MI6's 'secret computer codes' apparently reside on an old PPC Mac running Claris Works, complete with matching mouse mat.

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M
Black Helicopters

huh

I can't remember where I read it first (probably somewhere in these hallowed comment sections) but I agree with the person that thinks that this is all a deliberate and concerted ploy to make us not give a monkeys about confidential data anymore.

Surely no government could be this profligate with sensitive information?

*makes sure tinfoil hat is secure and tightens dustbin lid poncho*

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Seized his computer?

I hope they give it back pretty smartish. If I bought something off Ebay in all innocence and had the cops come and take my kit I'd be pretty pissed off.

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Anonymous Coward

This is why you engage a lawyer...

"...The man went to Hemel Hempstead Police Station but the situation was treated as a joke, declared the Sun.

"However, days later Special Branch officers arrived at the man's home, shared with his mum, and seized the camera and his computer. Officers also told the family not to speak to the media."

This is why you engage a lawyer before visiting the police, and sell the story to a paper to cover the legal fees, and the cost of having your goods siezed. And take a Ghost of your PC onto a removable/networked disc...

Fuckin' coppers, treating the innocent like a criminal. Again. Does the desk sergeant at HH get a reprimand for allowing the secrets to be taken away? Will the numpty who sold the secret-laden device get a reprimand? No and no, is my guess. Neither will the unfortunate concerned citizen receive any compensation.

Alternatively, just don't tell the police and wipe the images.

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Alert

Seize?

Why seize it, he even tried to report it. They could just take the memory stick and make sure the data left on his pc is deleted, but with his permission and with him present. Why did they have to get all rough-handed with someone who was trying to help them?

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Anonymous Coward

Did he get a replacement camera as a thank you?

Probably not, more likely he will get carted away and waterboarded for his trouble!

He should be applauded for his honesty and given a brand new camera and computer. I'm not sure I'd want a 'puter back after it had been forensically examined (that's your warranty voided!).

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Paris Hilton

Good thing

he didn't put the whole stack of pics straight online :) Now _that_ would have been embarrassing.

Paris, well, duh..

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Why seize the camera/computer

I'm sure he'd have happily deleted the information if they'd asked, after all he did go to the police with it (not the daily depress, nor the BBC)

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Alert

How to convince the public about the war on terror...

... every so often, have an embarrassing "security breach" with bogus details on terrorism targets. Member of the public finds it, it becomes news, it reinforces the governments dire warning on terrorism, thus allowing government to further curtail public freedom under the guise of security.

Call me cynical, but I find these security breaches somewhat suspicious - it's all just a little bit '1984' (Oceania's continuous war with etiher Eurasia or Eastasia)

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Wikileak...

What an honest citizen...I would have ducked on over to wikileaks.org and spilled the beans. Even more-so now that I see what happens when you do the 'right thing'

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Black Helicopters

FACT(S)!!!1!!!!111

Before you get all self-righteous, the Sun says:

1) "They took away the camera and the family’s PC AND SPENT £1,000 REPLACING THEM." (My Caps.) So he's lost his porn collection but gained a virus free PC. So it goes.

2) "Special Branch were last night trying to trace the bungling M16 officer, who lives in the Home Counties. HE FACES THE SACK." (Again my emphasis) However being a spy, one imagines he could be a tad hard to find if he goes to ground... ;)

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Coat

Well...

I hope he left negative feedback.

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Unhappy

Honesty is the way forward!

Well this is a great example of how NOT to get the public to report suspicious findings!

I'm struggling to begin to find anything right about this story:

- Selling secret service equipment on ebay?

- Not checking said equipment for data before selling it?

- Innocent man gets ridiculed, treated like a criminal and has his equipment "seized", for the terrible "crime" of trying to be helpful.

He should get some compensation, but won't.

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Stop

Why oh why...

...do stories like this end up in the Sun? If I found Top Secret documents on the train / pictures on a camera then I'd hand them to the Security Services and try my best to keep the media out.

Things like this just make our Government and the Security Services look like a joke. And yes, I know incompetance and ineptitude need to be brought out into the open, but this isn't the way.

If I handed something in, I'd trust the spook management to dish out an internal shoeing to whoever the dumb fucker was who sold the goodies on eBay.

And yes, you may think I'm being naive (and possibly I am), but c'mon people, have some faith!

However once it is in the public domain I'd hang the daft muppet out to dry.

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Black Helicopters

Quite a holiday

Maybe he should have turned up in M's office and taken credit for gathering the intelligence on his own time.

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Silver badge

Consolation prize...

... of course the real reason they seized his computer is so they can check for anything they could consider to be "extreme pornography" on it and, if so, chalk up another brownie point to make their arrest figures look good!

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Black Helicopters

Lucky Bloke

wow!,

He was sooo lucky he didnt get grabed by the DHS on the way in or out of the USA.

If they had found that data and pics on him, he would now be a permenant resident of GITMO, with no-one knowing he had even dissapeared and they would have just laughed if he told them he bought the camera on ebay.

Obviously some SS muppet got the SD cards mixed up and didnt bother double checking before he repacked the camera for shipping.

Nice of the SS to steal his PC and new camera, no doubt they will be returned(in several years time) in a box in little peices with the hard drive wiped by a sledgehammer(usual MOD returns method),

Why not just remove the hard drive....

No doubt the threat of leaving a unbootable laptop with no hdd is an unacceptable risk to the reputation of the SS.

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IT Angle

Oh dear...

...I should think that should cost someone their job.

Its interesting though that those sorts of things are sold on Ebay, I guess it was someone who worked there keeping it on a 'long term loan'.

IT? Well is there any IT in MI6 or the government in general?

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The moral of the story is

Don't talk to cops unless you absolutely have to, they think we're all guilty of something.

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Black Helicopters

go to ground?

"However being a spy, one imagines he could be a tad hard to find if he goes to ground"

However, being stupid enough to sell a camera without wiping official secrets off the card probably suggests otherwise. I expect him to be found on his front porch in a wig and false beard, telling the authorities in a crap Russian accent that he left town.

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Paris Hilton

I was pipped at £16.50 ...

... and now I've been offered a Second Chance.

Paris 'cos she likes to pose for the camera.

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Plans...

Make SURE to wipe any and all forensic evidence from anything you touch

a) So first buy a doggy storage device of ecrap or whatever

b) make a lot of byte copies of the device and stuff them onto various places like

freenet, tor hosted services, wikileaks, archive.org, google, etc...

c) take some photos with a disposable cam and provide that to your lawyer

d) provide a secure dead drop zone for the kit and deposit it there

e) get a lawyer to handle any interaction between cops/intelligence agency and yourself make sure to

give the lawyer strict instructions to NOT divulge your name or any other information

f) get a few throw away pay-as-you-go cell phones and sims and provide the numbers to the lawyer

use liberally and at various locations around the country(then dispose of them either by stuffing

them some place or some other way) assume one time use only as safe

g) once process is complete mail the access instructions and items to the lawyer for hand-off to the

plods.

I think that would cover it. Don't ask for any compensation etc... Just provide them a secure way of getting their kit back ;)

After they have it send links to your byte copies to various news agencies etc... :)

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Stop

What are the chances...

...of his seized computer ending up on ebay with all of his personal information still on it?

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Silver badge

Re Plans ..... By Andraž Levstik Posted Tuesday 30th September 2008 12:47 GMT

What a palaver, Andraž Levstik. And all for what exactly?

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Joke

@Ex-IT

Thanks, now I have to wipe the coffee stains from my monitor and keyboard again...

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Dead Vulture

Online tat bazaar eBay?

Ah, the work of an online hack journo. Some of us are selling quality things on eBay, jerk.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Plans @ Andraž

Or do what the government does ... leave it on a bus or in a train, or maybe in a moses basket on the steps of that church in Westminster?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Online tat bazaar eBay?

That reminds me, C Blackmore, when am I going to get my refund for that malfunctioning Big Mouth Billy Bass you sold me?

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Paris Hilton

CYA

Don't talk to the media = please don't make us look like idiots for the 432nd time this month.

Whatever happened to the public pat on the back that used to be handed out to public spirited and vigilant citizens?

Or perhaps the guy that handed the camera in was the wrong colour or grovelled to the wrong deity. These days, the truly public spirited thing to do is hand such material to the press - the only thing civil servants seem to comprehend is a media spit-roasting.

Paris, cos she's more savvy than most coppers.

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@C Blackmore

If you don't like the lingo, nob off to Slashdot!

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@ Sarah Bee

Sorry, it never occured to me that anyone would want a working Big Mouth Billy Bass...

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Coat

I was just wondering ............

The Great British media is usually first in line for a hammering in Registerland, particularly such rags as the Sun and Daily Mail, for very good reasons I might add.

You remember: selective reporting, shameless politically biased sensationalism, congenital overhyping, LDC (lowest common denominator) journalism, outraging their target 'readership', promoting trivia to significance, celebrity fetishism, relentless mud slinging, presenting urban mythtisism as news and of course everyone's favourite: good old fashioned barefaced lying.

I've yet to read a single article that has ever acurately reflected the totality of any event that I have had personal knowledge of or involvement in; and, sadly, there's been quite a few. I've even failed to recognise a few stories in their entirity until perhaps a familiar name or location crops up - and they can get those wrong too.

AFAIC all newspapers (and the media in general), of whatever hue, should come with a boldly printed warning stating "ONLY LOOSLY BASED ON REALITY" - or do we disagree on this?

So by what measure of journalistic integrity has seen this particular story, like so many others, promoted to the status of incontravertable fact? Factual enough to get so many of you so hot and bothered (see above);

"Wherein doth the whole truth reside?" ...... Wherein indeed? Because I'm quite prepared to bet that Sun's angle is, at best, merely representational of the actual events. Or is this a story, like so many others, what we really want to believe - something akin to what makes a stereotypical Sun reader keep going back for more?

Does anyone else find the frequently outraged, angry and irrational postings that appear so often in Registerland almost as amusing and entertaining as the alleged 'stories' that provoke them? Bullshit tends to beget bullshit my friends, or have you forgotten that?.

But like I said; I was just wondering .............

Mine's the Troll's cloak ........... because there are occasions when trolling becomes a worthwhile virtue.

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re: FACTS!!!

And how much is your data worth on your computer?

Were ALL computers taken?

Will the police not look at his personal stuff, but just look for copies of the files from the camera on his computer?

When McKinnon was arrested, why was it $5000 per computer which cost $500 if "data on a computer" is worthless?

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Dan
Silver badge
Boffin

Hint for police

Instead of sending the storm troopers round to someone's house and seizing their property, why not interview the person who bought the camera to find out who the person who sold it to him was? It makes for better public relations and encourages the public to be more willing to step forward when they see something that needs the police's attention.

I wonder how much I could make as a consultant for the public sector.

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Black Helicopters

Nice...

Nice heavy handed (slow) reaction from the spooks there... Turn up and confiscate his computer, even though *he* had actually reported finding the docs to them!

Let that be a lesson to all honest people out there... If you find anything like this on your next ebay purchase, just delete/format it, and pretend it was never there, or if you're really really honest, put the marigolds on, spirit wipe the thing down, and post it through the letter box of a part time cop-shop.

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Black Helicopters

Rather odd things to photograph...

The whole thing sounds odd. You'd expect this from a movie but not real life. Anyone else wondered about the elclectic contents of the camera?

Sending around the Gestapo to get heavy is OTT as well. I think if I got such a camera I'd keep very quiet about it.

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Small Print

Ebay are running their regular promotion again next week to encourage more sales :

"Free Top Secret Document With Every Storage Device."

As usual though, check PayPal's smallprint & you will see that any Top Secret documents that the buyer has to return are not included in their payment protection plan.

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Black Helicopters

Sounds like...

...classic mis-information / propaganda campaign to me.

[ Warning: You may want to put your cynicism filters on at this point...]

"Tut tut... Our Civil Servants are such a bunch of ninnies, losing all this top secret information and stuff. Still, it must be true eh? Look at that... A diagram of Al-Queda cells and their connections... Cor blimey! Bloody hell eh? Our guys out in Afghanistan and Iraq are really doing a bloody good job eh? Perraps old Tony Blair and Bush were right all along eh? I mean, there it is on that blokes camera from eBay."

Hmmm....

[ OK, you can take them off now ]

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"Intelligence services"

Title wise, does this qualify as one of the greatest contradiction in terms in history?

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Anonymous Coward

Suckers

This is so obviously a slow news week story it's unbelievable. All sensibility and reason seems to have evaporated. Really!!!

Anyway if it was an MI5/6 camera the data on it would have been encrypted, unless of course the AlQaeda link was actually encryption for something far more sinister. Like maybe a fresh order for teatime biscuits.

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Stop

@Suckers : Does "Q" really exist

"Anyway if it was an MI5/6 camera the data on it would have been encrypted"

Dear Nikon,

Please will you modify your software so that all the data is to be encrypted using AES, you'll need to modify the user interface software to make sure the user can enter the keys etc.

Oh, and thanks for including the GPS feature on the new P6000 as requested, our MI6 agents sometimes forget where they took the pictures.

Yours faithfully,

Q

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Is this for real?

This is a crazy story. Is this a hoax? I'm unclear as to whether charges were filed against the hapless deliveryman or not. Or where the camera came from. Wow, just wow!

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Flame

@ Reid Malenfant

Well said that man.

But sadly your sentiments have largely fallen on deaf ears and the morons continue to post their knee jerk-reactions - its all so predictable - all so reminiscent of those Daily Mail readers shaking in their beds at the mere thought of that relentless tide of raping murderous Rumanian illegal immigrants sweeping country!

This story is such a load of old cobblers I too find it hard to believe that so many have gleefully fallen for it hook line and sinker.

This STORY appeared in the Sun for Christ's sake, did anyone bother to check the actual content? Of course you didn't because if you did, and you were in possession of half a brain you'd never have posted in the first place.

Get a grip people! - even the 'photos' were meaningless as they merely REPRESENTED the sort data that the Sun THOUGHT MIGHT HAVE BEEN on the card IF THE STORY WAS TRUE; now that's quality journalism for you. Do you honestly and dispassionately believe the rest of it?

You Do?

Yes, we all know that many of you are so biased that you really need stories like this but, come on guys, all you're doing is exhibiting yourselves to be as simple and gullible as the average Sun reader and that ain't no compliment to anyone's intellect.

....... but then again, maybe Freddie Starr really did eat that hampster - after all it was in the papers and we all know that the British Press are incapable of lying ........ don't we?

YOU MUPPETS!

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Coat

@ A.C. 1848 hrs.

'Rumanian illegal immigrants sweeping country!'

Where were the police when this was happening? Duffing up some poor unsuspecting ebayer for no reason, I bet.

It makes my blood boil.

I won't have the sterling work of the pillars of the community that are the press belittled on these pages. They are the real victims here.

Mine's the one with 'gullible wanker' on the back.

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Paris Hilton

re: @Reid Malenfant

Aren't both of you guilty of exactly the same thing as you are accusing everyone else of doing?

Kneejerk: This story was in the Sun so CANNOT be correct.

That's what you two are doing.

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@ Mark ?????????

Sorry?

Try re-reading my posting again and see if you understand it this time.

I was primarily venting my spleen about:

a) the supposed integrity of our beloved 'free press' and

b) the tendency people have of abandoning critical judgement when confronted with information that fits their own particular world view. The latter being a frequently encountered precursor in many forms of prejudice.

I was doing so because, once again, so many posters were laughably going off one one whilst:

a) clearly not being in possession of all the facts (and of course how could they be?), whilst self-evidently filling in the blanks with their own particular assumptions and preconceived ideas and

b) readily accepting a piece poor quality, unsubstantiated journalism, as evidence enough.

I never said that the story could not be true, I merely alleged that it was more likely to be merely REPRESENTATIONAL of the facts, which is an altogether different assertion. I stand by that hypothesis based, in part on probability, in part on those allegations outlined in my second paragraph and in part on the long standing editorial ethos of the Sun newspaper.

Do you find this particularly unfounded, illogical or irrational? Are you a journalist or have such aspirations?

The proof of the pudding, for me, lies in the great lengths that Registerland folk usually go to in minutely dissecting and critiquing every facet of those Stories that they readily WANT to disagree with whilst, just as frequently, accepting at face value, almost any old tosh that is fits in with certain viewpoints; its the sheer inconsistancy (dare I say hypocrasy?) that gives the game.

You know exactly what I'm talking about.

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Anonymous Coward

@reid malenfant

'Registers' like you are minacious to say the very least. It would appear that your folorn parturient is only complete if your aggrandisement of any given exigency. The fact that you are, annoyingly, critisising the person who chooses to read what newspaper they like, just because your self centred, overcritical ego gets in the way of your own drab extant. You seem to have forgotten that the germinal composition related to the purchase of an alleged secret service camera on e bay, Mr Malenfant has (again) turned the whole autochthonous of the apologue to his own devices to ensure that he is (again) seen (by himself) as the saviour of the quotidian Times reader ( I almost guarantee he reads this daily). In future I would ask that the erstwhile Mr Malenfant keeps his narrow minded, self induced, egotistical synoptics to himself. He may as well as most cognisant, discerning people will realise that his ranting and raving are just the ramblings of an irksome individual who wishes the spotlight to be on him.

Mr Malenfant, in future please try and keep to the original posting and not to change it to fuel your own published fire.coyc

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@ AC

Nice one Tone!

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