back to article Arrest made over data-stuffed eBay laptop hard drive

Police have made an arrest in connection with last week's eBay sale of a computer hard drive containing personal data. The latest information security lapse has happened in Charnwood in Leicestershire, where taxpayers' personal details were found on a computer which was sold for £6.99. The details are said to include bank …


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  1. Ash

    Another seemingly innocent person...

    ... With his name, address, fingerprints, DNA, and any other personal information they care to want stored on some database for HM Gov to lose.

    There's nothing in this world which would make me "Help police with their inquiries" other than a guarantee that, unless other evidence is found making me a suspect of the case, I would remain uncautioned and free at all times, and no personal information, excluding a proven name and contact details for verification of testimony, was collected.

    Any other situation, and i'd feel under pressure to say something just to be released. That's duress, isn't it?

  2. Pete Silver badge


    Where the hell can you get a laptop off eBay for £6.99?

  3. dervheid

    "progress has been disappointing"?

    non existent more like.

    Nice to see Inspector Knacker taking an interest, although I suspect it's more to do with the hardware than the data.

    Prosecutions for these little data 'indiscretions' are now long overdue.

  4. Andy Tyzack

    this story

    has been fabricated.

    laptops for 6.99. smells like the story of the woman who was fined 16,000 for download a pinball game, SHIT.

  5. Dave Bell

    Has anyone alleged theft yet?

    The price for the computer is astonishingly low.

    Isn't anyone buying on eBay any more?

    It's what I'd expect to get for my ancient Thinkpad, with the dud screen (probably cabling fault), on a "spares or repair" sale.

    There's something smells a bit funny here. It could be a theft. It could be careless disposal by Charnwood. And, if the Police can be believed, actually charging a suspect can pretty well halt the investigation.

  6. heystoopid
    Paris Hilton

    The old story

    The old story if selling any notebook computer to unknown third parties get new unused hard drive and fresh install OS with Linux or BSD/UNIX (so it thinks it is a MacBook Air) thus !

  7. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    hmm was it originally stolen, binned, or just plain sold to the ebay seller though

    "The Council said that it reported the matter to the police, who have now arrested someone in relation to the sale of the machine.


    the council reported what exactly though?, the implication being suposed is the original kiit was stolen, but was it?

    or was it Originally sold by someone in the council as an old drive that ended up in the laptop or even sold as a fully working old kit, many people buy and recycle old parts to make oleder but functioning compleate kit to later sell on, is this case one of those times.

  8. Warren Free

    How do they get on eBay?

    How the hell are company laptops/computers getting to eBay in the first place? Surely this is clased as theft if you walk away with a laptop when you leave the company?! Do they not trace these things through an Asset Register? Do they have any management in place.

    We focus on the data on the machine, which is important, but surely the laptop shouldn't be on eBay in the first place? If this is the case then companies need to do more than look after the data and secure it (using tools like Backstopp) but also look at managing and tracking the assets through an asset management database?

    This is getting more common now and something needs to be done..

  9. Wokstation

    But not the government, of course!

    " “For many years we have urged organisations to consider the impact on individuals’ privacy before developing new IT systems. However progress has been disappointing," said Jonathan Bamford, assistant commissioner at the ICO. "

    No, of course he doesn't mean the government - they protect our privacy to the end, don't they?

    Yeah... mine's the one with the empty ID-card-wallet.

  10. Paul Buxton

    Tell it to the government

    “For many years we have urged organisations to consider the impact on individuals’ privacy before developing new IT systems. However progress has been disappointing,"

    Title says it all.

    However, disappointment is what we've come to expect from this government so 10 out of 10 for consistency.

  11. Hugh_Pym

    link to the ebay sale page please

    We need to know what kind of laptop goes for £6.99. Anyway I live in Charnwood so have a vested interest.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    gets me...

    Why use a laptop as storage device which contains important information on bank details? considering these can be easily lost (if ur a numpty) or can be easily stolen even more so offsite.

  13. Dennis
    Paris Hilton

    The laptop was actually found

    When I have my Laptop stolen at Christmas the Police said they didn't even bother investigating these incidents as they are so common and 'not worth their time'. At no time did they ask what I did or the type of information stored on the laptop.

    So there has to be a lot more to this..................

    Or is the Police suddenly on the ball again. I doubt it.

    Finding a stolen laptop on eBay is easy look for people selling them with a low rating. Also examine the picture and description 'a few minor scratches' usually means some company name has been scratched off. Several companies do see them legimately but they are usually big operations and charge VAT on their price.

    How do I know all this I was looking for my laptop which was stolen. Did I find it. No but I found lots of other peoples. eBay are terrible at stopping this. The only way to report stolen item being sold on eBay is Buy the item and then report it to the police and then eBay will help you. There should be a rule that when you sell a laptop on eBay you must give its serial number when you list the item. This would make it much easier to track down your missing stuff................But I guess that's not what eBay wants

    Paris because she looks after all her stuff. The stuff other people have of her...not that's a different matter

  14. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle


    Why do the arseholes who STORE SENSITIVE DATA FOR A LIVING feel that information needs to be replicated on every mobile in house?

    WHAT HAPPEND TO sans AND nas?

    What is the point of "networking" if the data that belongs on the network is everywhere but?

    Alas, I digress... I'm just a stoopid yank.

    IT? because no one in the business knows what IT is...

  15. Anonymous Coward

    @ Dennis

    Listing serial numbers is a good thought, but the smarter criminals will just fake it.

  16. MikeG

    Not a laptop!

    The story appears to have become mangled somewhere along the line - seems it was just a hard drive that was sold. It doesn't come as much of a surprise to those of us unfortunate to live in the Charnwood area, given our council's inability to do anything correctly.

    The story's on

  17. The Voice of Reason

    If you think things are getting bad

    Daily, we are reading of yet another data loss, yet another drive being handed in to the police or the media which contains data which the possessor shouldn't have.

    And yet, this is just the tip of the iceberg. For every drive/memory stick etc which gets handed in by an honest person (found it on a train, bought it on ebay etc) there are many more lost devices which remain unreported or not even realised as being lost. Not every "finder" is honest -surprise surprise!

    And just think of all that unencrypted data knocking around in all these criminally negligent government offices, banks, private companies etc, where less-than-honest employees have already by now decided to run off a copy of the data for themselves. Not necessarily to sell-on or use immediately, but maybe just because they feel that to have knowledge/data is to have power. Who knows when all this illicitly run-off data will finally emerge out in the wild?

    Come on, lets see all of these incompetent handlers-of-data (ie. those Responsible for the poor standards) thrown in prison. ENOUGH'S ENOUGH!

  18. Keith Doyle
    Thumb Up

    An upside?

    Well, perhaps after this, the story will at least cause criminals to format these drives before passing them along with your data on them...

  19. Mudslinger
    Thumb Up

    @ Serial Numbers

    The smarter crims may well fake the s/n, the smarter buyer will certainly check to see if it's recognised by the manufacturer's website.

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