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MI6 camera sold on eBay

MI6 camera sold on eBay

The Nikon Coolpix camera was sold for just £17, and contained some bonus pictures of field agents and rockets.

Just in case you thought it was just absent-minded public officials who mislaid CDs and left laptops in the backs of taxis, here's something to give cause for concern: even the security services aren't paying attention.

At least, that's the only conclusion you can draw from the news that a camera previously belonging to MI6 was sold on eBay for the princely sum of £17 while holding snaps of suspected terrorists, rocket launchers, and a document rated 'Top Secret' giving details of the encrypted computer network used by MI6 field agents. Whoops.

First spotted by Gizmodo in the Daily Mail – so take with a pinch of salt – the story is just the latest in a long series of gaffes and goofs the government – and subsidiaries thereof – have performed with extremely sensitive data. Yet this is perhaps the most shocking yet: all previous problems have been caused by bad luck or absent-mindedness – although the fact nothing ever seems to be encrypted is pretty unforgivable – but this latest faux pas would appear to be an instance of MI6 attempting to stretch the budget a little further by selling old equipment on eBay.

The lucky bidder, identified only as a 28-year-old from Hemel Hempstead, has had the camera seized and enjoyed the company of Special Branch in at least five separate visits to identify the circumstances surrounding the leak. The Foreign Office has stated that “a police investigation is under way,” but refuses to comment on the possibility of the camera being sold by an MI6 employee rather than stolen or lost before being fenced by an unwitting member of the public.

Have you ever purchased or sold a data storage device only to forget to wipe it or find more than you bargained for? Share your experiences over in the forums.

17 Comments

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UrbanMarine 1st October 2008, 15:13 Quote
lol nothing new here in the states.

There was a government auction years ago for scrap metal items and a buyer found the original manual for the metal item he bought inside it. He found out the metal item he bought was used for uranium enrichment. The government found out about the mistake when an overseas buyer offered the guy 1mil for the enricher. The buyer had to go to court over all this just to get his money back because the government repoed the enricher.

Another funny oops was at another government auction. There was a movie scene designer that wanted an apache helicopter. This was before the military started renting equipment. Anyways, the designer traveled from auction to auction and got all the pieces he needed. Well Mr.Man came knocking on his door wanting the parts back. The guy ending finding out he had built himself an almost fully functional apache. All he needed was the weapons system, the control system and some other electronics. The rocket pods weren't demilled so they were fully functional. Total cost to the designer was $30k which he got back from the government.

The list goes on and on with government "oops".

I had a class in my first part of college that talked about explosives. In 2001 the US lost over 10000 (private/military) tons of explosives in the US that wasn't even including overseas. oops
Solidus 1st October 2008, 15:13 Quote
Good to see our government is in responsible hands.
proxess 1st October 2008, 15:25 Quote
Now the camera owner saw the pictures, he will have to die.
liratheal 1st October 2008, 15:48 Quote
I saw that on the BBC yesterday or the day before.

I chuckled.
Arkanrais 1st October 2008, 15:49 Quote
well, at least there wasn't any porn on the thing.
if there was, I'd be running for the hills, even though I live on the other side of the globe.
p3n 1st October 2008, 15:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by liratheal
I saw that on the BBC yesterday or the day before.

I chuckled.

Great TV series :p
liratheal 1st October 2008, 15:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by p3n
Great TV series :p

I just read the wiki entry. Sounds like it could be entertaining. :p
Firehed 1st October 2008, 15:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by proxess
Now the camera owner saw the pictures, he will have to die.

If he was smart, he would have leaked them to bit-torrent first or something.

Well, smart isn't the right word for that. But you get the general idea.
Tyrmot 1st October 2008, 16:42 Quote
My thought on reading this was '£17?! How cheap is that??' and then I realised there was some other less interesting stuff about more data being lost... old news surely? But then I do live in the UK so we're pretty used to this by now ;)
devdevil85 1st October 2008, 18:13 Quote
Unbelievable.....
Redbeaver 1st October 2008, 19:24 Quote
moral of the story: don't tell stuff to the police.
wuyanxu 1st October 2008, 19:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by p3n
Great TV series :p
agree. new season just started this week on NBC monday :) don't forget to catch up on it

£17 for that camera is a bargain! when do they sell more :D
Jipa 2nd October 2008, 17:37 Quote
British government really fails at life when it comes to keeping secrets.. Suitcases in trains, secret stuff on eBay.. you name it, they've made it.
ParaHelix.org 2nd October 2008, 17:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jipa
British government really fails at life when it comes to keeping secrets.. Suitcases in trains, secret stuff on eBay.. you name it, they've made it.

America can really do much worse, how about those nice missing planes...whoops, they are in the world trade center.
Cptn-Inafinus 2nd October 2008, 18:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ParaHelix.org
America can really do much worse, how about those nice missing planes...whoops, they are in the world trade center.

Completely un-necessary.

Some things are tasteless my friend.
Major 2nd October 2008, 18:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cptn-Inafinus
Completely un-necessary.

Some things are tasteless my friend.

I did LOL at his comment though. :)
UrbanMarine 2nd October 2008, 19:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ParaHelix.org
America can really do much worse, how about those nice missing planes...whoops, they are in the world trade center.

I love ****ed up comments. But then again I'm a sick person.
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