London (England) – A 28-year-old deliveryman in England got the deal of a lifetime when he won an eBay auction for a Nikon CoolPix digital camera. The camera’s flash memory was filled with top secret documents and pictures apparently from MI6, the British intelligence agency similar to the US CIA. Being a good Samaritan, the buyer notified police and has been rewarded with having his home searched and long interrogations. He’s also been ordered not to talk to the public about the camera and the contents.
The man paid just $30 for the camera, which in itself isn’t a bad deal at all. Apparently, he didn’t notice anything wrong until after taking a bunch of vacation pictures and transferring them to his computer. Several extra pictures of rocket and missile launchers were transferred along with portraits of al-Qaeda cell members. There were even login details to the MI6 computer system used by field agents.
According to media reports, the Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire man told his friends about the find and they urged him to talk to the police. After telling police, the man’s home has been visited at least five times by officers. The police have also seized the camera and the man’s computer.
A UK Foreign Office spokesperson said there was an ongoing investigation, but refused to comment about whether the camera was actually sold by an MI6 agent. Well it shouldn’t be too hard (hint – maybe look up the eBay username of the seller), after all doesn’t MI6 have James Bond?
Seriously though, this incident does bring up an interesting point. Thousands of computers, hard drives and cameras are sold on eBay and Craigslist every day … just how many of those contain valuable data? If you were a conspiracy theorist, you might even think there are organizations that specialize in buying up all this stuff just to recover the data.
Despite the Daniel Craig teaser image, I think Sean Connery will always be the best James Bond.