The Brits Surely Know How To Spread Confidential Data

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 30, 2008
Updated • May 7, 2022

Living in the United Kingdom surely has its bright sides: you got the IT Crowd, Cider and James Bond. On the downside, British government officials have been known for their lax data privacy behavior and while it is likely that officials in other countries are not any better, one only hears of British blunders in this regard.

More than one incident came to light where data of millions of British citizens landed in the wrong hands, or at least the hands of third-parties that should not have any access to the data in first place.

James Bond on the other hand would be ashamed of the most recent incident. A 28-year old delivery men thought that he made the bargain of his life by purchasing a Nikon Coolpix camera for roughly $30 on the eBay UK store.

Imagine his surprised look when he found out that the camera was filled to the brim with top secret information from Britain's Secret Intelligence Service.

According to Techcrunch, the camera was filled with information about "al-Qaeda cells, names, images of suspected terrorists and weapons, fingerprint information, and log-in details for the Secret Service's computer network, containing a "Top Secret" marking".

This incident leads to two conclusions: Even if politicians claim that there will be no data privacy leaks they can and will happen. The second is that it will happen again. One only wonders how many hard drives and other storage devices have been sold with sensitive information on them without the buyer realizing it.

The main question however is this: why is hardware used in top secret projects being sold off on public marketplaces like eBay and not destroyed after it is no longer being used? If this was the fault of a single agent who wanted to make a couple of bucks extra, it raises the question why that agent was in possession of the camera if it was no longer in use by the secret service.


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  1. TelV said on May 8, 2022 at 9:31 pm

    Which part of that article is the relevant update to May 7, 2022 Martin? Has it happened again?

    But I agree the Brits can be a little lax at times as illustrated in this particular case in allowing criminal gangs to flood EU markets with cheap Chinese goods:

  2. Dante said on October 1, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Have you taken a closer look at your public servants? They all look the same. It’s as if they’re all spawned from the same sow.

  3. Rupert said on October 1, 2008 at 9:24 am

    Inbreeding? Hah! You obviously haven’t been to the inner states in the US. Yes, we do have our inbreds, but in the big cities, in the nicer parts, we iz all modern init.

    Yeah, there truly is something wrong with security of personal data in the UK. This must be the fourth such info leak in two years. I think it mostly boils down to the Government’s overuse of Consultants and third party bodies to do work for it.

  4. Dante said on September 30, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    There is a reason why the sun has set on the empire: inbreeding leads to mumbling imbecility. Brit idea of an intelligent conversation: mumble mumble mumble haw kaw mumble mumble bla mumble mumble…

  5. Jonathan said on September 30, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    Just had to say I posted this article on because I found it very funny! keep up the great info Martin!

  6. iampriteshdesai said on September 30, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    James Bond is the most shitty detective in the world. Every body knows his name.
    He probably sold off the camera so he could get xxx in return

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