back to article Kiwi finds US military secrets on 'MP3 player'

A New Zealand man has been declared the latest winner of find-the-USB-device-containing-classified-government-data hide-and-seek. For this round, the US government cleverly stowed 60 files containing personal details about American soldiers who served in Afghanistan and Iraq on an MP3 player sold at an Oklahoma secondhand …


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  1. LaeMi Qian

    New market demand

    USB key on the end of a handcuff chain.

    Either that or a breif-case-sized one (you could even keep your laptop in it so you don't loose that too).

  2. dervheid

    Of course you realise...

    that as he's not a US national, they'll try and turn this on its head.

    They'll be asking the Kiwis to deport him back to the US so they can prosecute him on some trumped up charges.

    Oh, wait, maybe not. The Bush era is over, after all.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this guy mental?

    "Oh, it said that the contents were restricted and that I would be breaking US law by reading them, but I thought I'd do so anyway and tell everyone about it and give the phone numbers to the press so they could call them for a laugh".

    He might be in New Zealand, but if I were him I would be looking for the plain white C-130 at his local airport in the near future.

  4. R Callan
    Black Helicopters

    Just as well

    Prohibited by federal law is meaningless down here. But then one of the alphabet agencies might decide to take action and TVNZ will short of a number of personnel and Whangarei will be short one resident.

    I wonder if our Labour government made an extradition treaty like the U.K. did, it must be serious hacking and terrorism to buy such information in a second hand shop.

  5. Walking Turtle

    mp3, meet GE...

    Not General Electric; that shop reputedly lost too much liquid hard cold cash on its crashed-out derivatives trading enterprise to (imho) have much play any more. Genetic Engineering, increasingly likely once the Stem Cell research has yielded up its first full-formed, tank-grown Universal Soldier in genetically-human, legally-nonhuman form.

    Just tweek the hydro/ferro/oxy/carbon genes out of, say, the right-hand pointer finger. Replace 'em with silicon/oxygen-based local biochemistry cloned from any decent bank of diatom-earth (a leftover jar of Wright's Silver Cream just might do in a pinch, as I remember the stuff).

    Dope, mask, shoot, etch. Lather, rinse, repeat. Attach indium (no, gold; this is MIL spec!) leads to the pads provided; thence to the interface connector terminals per standard industry practice. Plug NeoPrivate 10298634624's index finger straight on into the test bed's USB port. Burn-in the resulting gigabyte-on-a-bone per everyday MIL spec walking-bits pattern.

    The "allegedly human" inner responses of NeoPrivate 10298634624, of course, have been omitted for the sake of the exercise. He'll sit at attention with his high-capacity index finger plugged into that test rig's socket, just a-counting the cycling test-bits a-tinglin' away, until Sarge (or likely just about anyone else in khaki) walks into the lab.

    Then the normal (for military life) crisp exchange of genetically-mandated (at least on our poor synthesized 'n' tricked-out NeoPrivate's part) Sutherland Salutes...

    Erm, best embed that "Operation Enduring Retrieval" USB kit into the *left*-hand index finger, ye Boffins o'DARPA.

    So when next one spots that derelict-looking vet at some futureworld tech swap meet, one might just want to look about first to see whether this one is indeed their own human, or whether instead that chap at the sales table has a slightly-damaged War Surplus Field Deployable Light Combat Unit up for bids. Base-location data, trajectory+windage calculator, night-vision retinal implants, Paris pin-ups and all.

    First-choice icon: Miz "Didn't Want That Lumpy Bald Wrinkly White-Haired Right-Wingnutter Guy Anyway" Paris, due of course to all the obviously universal soldier/supermodel pun-funny too-much-fun fantasy-mating-up reasons... He (IT? Gack.) could carry most of her YouTube footage and all her pinup images with him wherever he goes. Until he's caught out Encroaching on Government Property by Means of Civilian Artifacts. Just Like All The Others.

    Randy Newman's on the streaming radio with his atomic smash hit, "Political Science" ("Let's drop the Big One / And see What Happens") as I wrap this ditty up. I'd best get me coat RIGHT NOW. :)

  6. Alex


    Seriously... in the UK you can get a 2gb USB key (hardware encrypted) for less than 30 pounds... Standard issue??

    "Arhh, Jim-Lad, clamber aboard me scooner"

  7. Joe K
    Black Helicopters

    Attention whore

    If he thinks he shouldn't be seeing them then why not just delete the bloody files and forget about it? Unless he tried to sell it to a jouno.

    And he must have called some numbers to find them active. Something stinks here.

  8. Paul Donnelly


    We could have a new site there, anything military that got found could just get posted onto the web, let the Citizens know what their governments are doing... though of course no personal information of anyone below a General....

    I bet that would result in security being better implemented.

  9. James

    @AC:Is this guy mental? and Joe K

    Seriously?? You wouldn't open it??

  10. Tom Paine
    Black Helicopters

    Where are the Rooskies?

    Perhaps the military attaches at the British embassies and consulates in Russia should be checking the carparks of Moscow bars for stray 8" floppies...

  11. Joe

    I'd have opened it

    So what if it says "Do Not Enter - Government Property" etc. Who says? Was it just the name of a folder? How do you know it was genuine and not someone trying to stop his mum seeing his porn stash? He had bought it at second-hand after all. How about I write "Do not read below this line or you will go to prison, signed B Obama" will you follow my instructions? Step away from your PC! Etc. etc.

  12. Britt Johnston
    Thumb Up

    strategies okay

    Anything acquired publicly is not really secret. And marking files as secret doesn't mean they contain secret information. He has a duty of care to check.

    To identify the real owner, he has to be able to ask contextual questions - how does he know whether the US or the Iraqui applicant owns the Taiwanese USB, just because they can provide details of individual files?

    If he wants to protect himself from guantanamisation, one way is to tell the world in advance that what he had done wasn't in any sense illegal.

    If he didn't like what he saw, and really wanted to remain anonymous, he could try putting the USB in a postbox. Some kind soul did that with my wallet once, and the Post delivered.

    If he wanted a medal, what was wrong with contacting his own MoD, and let them decide whether to pass it on to an ally of their choice?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Is this guy mental?

    Nah - we've had a bit of practice at telling the US where to stick it's rules.

    Anyway, even if they did try to send a white C-130 down here, with the standard of US education it'd probably end up somewhere near Sydney, cos NZ's in Australia, isn't it?

  14. James

    @Mike Sanders

    The US Antarctic mob seem to do a good job of getting C-130's to NZ, if what I've seen at Christchurch Airport is any indication. No white ones obviously, they'd just get lost down on the ice...

  15. Leo Stretch
    Paris Hilton

    @ Attention whore

    Actually, it was TVNZ who called the active numbers, not our man from Whangerei. Has been a source of much amusement down these parts.

    Paris, cos, well, parts.. down.. amusement.. oh, you know.

  16. Anonymous Coward


    Yes the Antarctic C-130 fly-boys are often seen at Christchurch airport.

    Trouble is, they were supposed to be in Hobart.

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