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What happens when you steal a hackers computer?
December 24, 2010 10:34 AM   Subscribe

"Pwned by the Owner: What Happens When You Steal A Hacker's Computer" is a DEFCON presentation by Zoz.
posted by Avenger50 (109 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
What is his accent? It drifts around between Australia, Long Island, and Midwest Nerd or something.
posted by cmoj at 10:38 AM on December 24, 2010


What is his accent?
He says his parents are in Australia, so that's definitely part of it. Rest does drift around.
posted by empyrean at 10:49 AM on December 24, 2010


I saw this last night and was a bit annoyed he never actually said what happened to Melvin. Was he himself the thief? Or had he just bought the stolen computer? A lot of the story remained untold.
posted by jontyjago at 10:59 AM on December 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


My people are so tedious: "I'm going to spend twenty minutes to explain why I'm so clever."
posted by boo_radley at 11:07 AM on December 24, 2010


He mentions Boston a couple of times, and I definitely hear some of that Baaahston in his accent.
posted by deadmessenger at 11:08 AM on December 24, 2010


Also this was kinda nsfw around 18 minutes.
posted by boo_radley at 11:09 AM on December 24, 2010


I'm a little more than halfway through it. Not to spoil anything but so far he's done nothing clever at all. Getting the IP was mostly luck (with maybe a trace of being observant) and the thief still hadn't changed the password. Still, let's see what happens next.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:16 AM on December 24, 2010


Yeah, several Internet commenters have mentioned that showing private pics of third parties is not so cool.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:16 AM on December 24, 2010


Do I have to rtfa to find out what happens when someone clones the hacker's computer or can someone bring me up to speed?
posted by infini at 11:18 AM on December 24, 2010


If he's the thief I think it's all good but given that this guy could be guilty of no more than purchasing stolen property it's a bit skeezy.
posted by Skorgu at 11:18 AM on December 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Seconding BrotherCaine. Enjoyed first 10 minutes, grew to really dislike speaker and audience after that. Especially the proud display of tribalism. If the point of the presentation was to display elite knowledge, relying on tiny dick jokes and mocking the user of the stolen computer for wearing an earring showed distinct ignorance.
posted by noway at 11:21 AM on December 24, 2010


Apparently mispronouncing "Harvard" is a dead giveaway for being Australian. I know this from watching Fringe with my wife in the room, who immediately leapt all over how it was being pronounced by the two leads that aren't from Dawsons Creek.

(for those dismayed at the accent derail, there's an FPP several posts down that's about a sexy sex person that's become about HTML)
posted by Artw at 11:24 AM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


he never actually said what happened to Melvin.

I'm a but curious about this as well, but it's not hard to theorize what probably happened. Although it doesn't seem like Melvin is necessarily the sharpest knife in the proverbial drawer, presumably he's not dumb enough, when the cops show up on his doorstep with a warrant, to say "yep, I stole it." A better move -- and one that's almost impossible to dispute -- is just to claim that he bought it on CL or from a mysterious stranger passing through town, etc., cash without any records, and let it go. Even if he was the thief, there's really no way to prove it and he probably knows it.

My limited experience with the police in similar instances is that they're generally not interested in spending a lot of time and effort beyond the bare minimum required to recover the property, so I'm betting they got the computer back and told Melvin to stick to buying computers from more legitimate sources.

The DefCon presentation is probably the only punishment, aside from being out a computer, that Melvin will ever face, whether his crime was actual theft or merely receiving what any idiot should have realized was stolen property.

Kudos to the 'hacker' but everyone should realize (and he seems to) that it was mostly luck and ineptitude of the eventual user that allowed him to get the computer back. Ten minutes with a Mac OS X CD would have wiped the hard drive, including all his data, and ensured that he never saw the computer again.

The real lesson is given upfront but somewhat buried; it's "don't store your only backups in the same room, right next to your computer, where they're likely to get stolen at the same time."
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:25 AM on December 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


A security presentation where the high point is projecting some loser's self-portraits and riffing not terribly wittily on his penis size and sexual preferences isn't much of a security presentation. Also, his lessons learned are kind of weak -- for example he suggests that a keychain is a good protection against a keylogger. It isn't, because you have to enter the master password sometime, unless, like him, you have it boot into single-user mode.

In short if you're into security enough to be going to DefCon in the first place, there aren't going to be a lot of takeaways for you here.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:32 AM on December 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


What is his accent? It drifts around between Australia, Long Island, and Midwest Nerd or something.

Zoz has spent time in Boston, San Francisco, and Australia, and a host of other countries in between (South Korea, for example). It makes sense his accent would be a goulash. Still, I find it a charming goulash.

I guess I should disclaim that Zoz is a friend and I'm the Jason Scott he mentions in the first minute, ergo I am in the front row of this talk, ergo continue with the trashing of the talk/speaker/audience/event and ignore me.
posted by jscott at 11:50 AM on December 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


Like every other one of these things it's a smarmy nerd making fun of a thief of (usually) a different class and race. He mostly found this through luck, it seems. Someone shouts out, partway through "What's in your search history?" which he gives a stupid non-answer to, but you could make this dude look like a jackass too with the proper framing.
posted by codacorolla at 11:51 AM on December 24, 2010 [6 favorites]


Also, there's every possibility the guy's not the thief. The machine didn't turn up on the internet for two years. When someone finally plugs it in and starts using it after all that time, what are the odds it's going to be the original burglar? Pretty low, I'd say; petty thieves don't have personal warehouses where they store their takings; chances are the thief unloaded it the same day.

On preview: jscott, maybe you weren't referring to me, but just in case: I'm not trashing the speaker, I'm criticizing the talk and not particularly impolitely. I have given many talks and I expect criticism; and if I give a bad talk (and I have) I expect negative criticism. I hope your friend is sufficiently grown up to do the same.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:55 AM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I didn't realize why he looked so familiar until I recognized Zoz from the show Prototype This.
posted by Monochrome at 11:55 AM on December 24, 2010


jscott that is not how ergo works :(
posted by boo_radley at 11:56 AM on December 24, 2010


jscott that is not how ergo works :(

Zoz looks down and says I told him something, ergo I am there. Perhaps my exact location there is not proven, but I figured I'd say front row. If you'd prefer, I could say "ergo, I attended this talk".

Also, the last thing I'm going to do is decide what is and isn't impolite.
posted by jscott at 12:04 PM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


jscott: so did he ever recover the machine? Did anything happen as a result of his detective work?
posted by codacorolla at 12:06 PM on December 24, 2010


Like every other one of these things it's a smarmy nerd making fun of a thief of (usually) a different class and race.

Oh, stop this. There's no excuse for committing crimes against fellow humans.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:09 PM on December 24, 2010 [10 favorites]


I had a huge problem with him showing the pics of the naked chicks. Yes, common sense says anything like that transmitted through the internet has a good chance of getting out, but common decency says that pictures like that sent through private message should remain so.

Also, unless there was proof that this guy was the person who actually stole the machine, then I also have a problem with his email address, passwords, and other personal info being displayed.
posted by smirkette at 12:20 PM on December 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, stop this. There's no excuse for committing crimes against fellow humans.

Not getting into the strange absolutist mentality that this statement represents, what about the fact that this dude was never actually proven to be the thief, and upon reflection, probably isn't.
posted by codacorolla at 12:22 PM on December 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


If he's the thief I think it's all good but given that this guy could be guilty of no more than purchasing stolen property it's a bit skeezy.

"No more than purchasing stolen property?" The only reason theft is widespread is because of the crooks that buy stuff that's stolen. What, you think professional burglers need to steal a few hundred laptops a year for personal use? No, they steal them because they know there's a big market of people looking for bargains who don't give a shit whether the bargain is stolen.

Like every other one of these things it's a smarmy nerd making fun of a thief of (usually) a different class and race.

Yeah, because the only reason to be upset about someone stealing your shit is because you're a racist.
posted by rodgerd at 12:22 PM on December 24, 2010 [9 favorites]


Yeah, all I see here is an extended public shaming of a random guy who bought a computer on craigslist. Unless this guy's the actual thief -- which the speaker never specifies and which wouldn't make any sense anyways -- this just seems shitty, publicly jacking a harmless, butt-enjoying dude just because you can.
posted by churl at 12:22 PM on December 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


Lot of nerd humor in that video.
posted by ericb at 12:27 PM on December 24, 2010


So tired of the "smarmy nerd ... he's persecuting someone who didn't even probably steal the computer" arguments.

Look, Metafilter often trends toward the goody-goody-law-abiding side of things. I get it. A lot of the time, most of the time, the law is the best answer, other times people just don't want to own up to being occasional scofflaws in certain specific situations. But what about when the law fails, and you are without-a-doubt correct that someone is using your stolen property?

There's no question the laptop was his, and that it was stolen. So, was he to just suck it up, because the law is the only response, of course not, especially when the punishment was entirely social. He wasn't "proven" to be a thief in a court, but ... the laptop wasn't his, it was definitely stolen. Who cares about the legality in this case? Mocking and shaming are a reasonable response against someone who has profited by the theft of your property.

The guy found someone who was using his stolen property. Whether the person bought it from CL or not is irrelevant, and a crime regardless. He found and persecuted the guy, because the law was incapable of it. I'm fine with that, I laud the guy for it. Good job. Mocking him in any way he pleased is perfectly fine by me. Historically, shaming is a great way to encourage adherence to basic morals, like not buying stolen stuff. We need more of that, not less.
posted by Invoke at 12:44 PM on December 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


This is a very good demonstration of how stolen transparency increases power disparities.

Sorta reinforces what Bruce Sterling was saying about hackers being ethically incapacitated. A steals laptop from B and sells to C. B takes public revenge on C by stealing privacy and then brags about it. Dunno where C stands, but A and B are dicks.
posted by warbaby at 12:49 PM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am not a computer nerd; in fact I don't even know what defcon is. Well not the defcon in the video. I thought it entertaining and interesting. Makes me re-evaluate my physical security and consider having a second back up to the cloud.

But what also struck me was that LV is a long was from Boston for the computer to end up there and that if the original theft was reported to the police, they might have taken some finger prints from the scene and could maybe match Melvin to that. I also didn't think that guys like Melvin were mac users. Assumed those guys were pc users.
posted by AugustWest at 12:51 PM on December 24, 2010


Way to stretch a good five minute story into a mediocre twenty minutes.
posted by doublehappy at 12:51 PM on December 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


He found and persecuted the guy, because the law was incapable of it

But the law was capable of it, here. He found the ip, and had he done just enough to get a name or address, then I doubt anyone here would have said boo. Instead, he got that, called the cops, and while he waited for the cops to head out, he decided to grab the pics and shame the guy who bought his stolen computer without knowledge. For fun. That's the problem.
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:51 PM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


WHo owns the data on your hard drive that has been stolen? Does Zoz have an obligation to delete it? I don't think so. It is his hard drive. Melvin put it there. Morally making fun of the guy is another story altogether, but he has the right to any data on his hard drive.
posted by AugustWest at 12:54 PM on December 24, 2010


It would be funny if this Zoz came in here and commented. Yesterday we heard from Yoz, and we've famously heard from Woz.

We skipped Xoz, for reasons known only to those initiates who know who "The" Xoz is.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:56 PM on December 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


The only reason theft is widespread is because of the crooks that buy stuff that's stolen. What, you think professional burglers need to steal a few hundred laptops a year for personal use? No, they steal them because they know there's a big market of people looking for bargains who don't give a shit whether the bargain is stolen.

Of course, hence why buying stolen property is illegal and I used the word 'guilty'.

It's not anywhere near as severe a crime as actually stealing the property in the first place and IMO it doesn't warrant having your wetware flashed about the internet.
posted by Skorgu at 1:01 PM on December 24, 2010


Historically, shaming is a great way to encourage adherence to basic morals, like not buying stolen stuff. We need more of that, not less.

Do I have your permission to comb through your hard drive and then mock you for any stolen pornography / music / movies / or games on it? I find you to be morally suspect, so I think that a good old fashioned vigilante shaming is probably the best course of action.

Also, since you appear to have missed the sustained amount of time that the desktop PC system was on screen, it wasn't a laptop. I think I might add that to your shaming.

Who cares about the legality in this case?

The law. Society. Nothing was gained here except for a vague sense of superiority and revenge by the hacker (at least as was presented in the video, if this somehow resulted in him getting his gear back then it changes things slightly).

I agree with the person who said that the Sterling article re: Wikileaks shows why hackers make poor leaders.
posted by codacorolla at 1:04 PM on December 24, 2010


Seems to me that Melvin MUST have known the Mac was stolen property (the original owners files were all over the desktop). The only thing we don't know is: how many hands did the machine pass through before getting to Melvin, and how much time had passed from the original theft. (giving Melvin the benefit of the doubt, maybe he thought it was pointless to contact the original owner).

Zoz seems to have done what any typical "hacker" would instinctively have done (find the scent, trace the trail, gather enough information to concretely prove something). I would probably have attempted something similar (given disparities of my skillset(s)). The question seems to be:.. was it overkill to publicly shame Melvin with a Defcon presentation. My opinion: No. I have to side with Invoke's comment on this one. We probably need more of this type of publicly shaming.

One of the reasons petty thieves continue their chosen "career" is because they know law enforcement is over-burdened and under-skilled (with regard to technology). Thieves would think twice about stealing computers if they knew their risk of getting caught was closer to 100%. (or that they run the risk of having their name splattered over every vid-screen and Twitter feed across the globe).
posted by jmnugent at 1:06 PM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


> codacorolla: "if this somehow resulted in him getting his gear back then it changes things slightly."

Pretty sure near the end of the video he does in fact say he got his gear back.
posted by jmnugent at 1:08 PM on December 24, 2010


The only part of this I have a problem with is the slide showing the woman. That was absolutely inexcusable.

On the other hand, showing pictures of the thief/guy who bought a computer from a fence? When you break the law, you take your chances. I don't see this as being any more harsh or inappropriate than having your mugshot in the paper. If it makes it even the tiniest bit harder to fence stolen stuff in the future, that's more than justified in my eyes.
posted by deadmessenger at 1:08 PM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do I have your permission to comb through your hard drive and then mock you for any stolen pornography / music / movies / or games on it? I find you to be morally suspect, so I think that a good old fashioned vigilante shaming is probably the best course of action.


There's a screaming flaw in your logic here: Zoz was combing through his OWN hard drive, not someone else's. This is not something that's even in dispute - that the computer was stolen from him does not change the fact that it is HIS property, regardless of who may end up possessing it in the future.
posted by deadmessenger at 1:11 PM on December 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


that it was mostly luck and ineptitude of the eventual user that allowed him to get the computer back.

No more inept than the average user, really.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:14 PM on December 24, 2010


Thieves would think twice about stealing computers if they knew their risk of getting caught was closer to 100%

Do you think a fucking crack addict who does smash and grab robbery cares at all about being shamed at a hacker convention halfway across the country? He probably cares about crack.

We have no idea how Melvin got this computer. Maybe it was the third transaction down the line, and the clarity of this being stolen property was less distinct than it is here.

He also presented this at Defcon, and it's being disseminated through geek culture on the internet. What are even the chances that Melvin will ever actually be shamed. I would say being shamed has to be recognized by the target, otherwise it's just mocking.

It's interesting that so many of you are willing to return to tribal law for losing some computer gear. Publicly shaming thieves across "every vid-screen and Twitter feed across the globe"? Jesus Christ, I hope no one ever gives you people real power.
posted by codacorolla at 1:15 PM on December 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


There's a screaming flaw in your logic here: Zoz was combing through his OWN hard drive, not someone else's. This is not something that's even in dispute - that the computer was stolen from him does not change the fact that it is HIS property, regardless of who may end up possessing it in the future.

You misunderstand what I wrote. I'm saying that most people steal things, and that it's very likely that he has stolen stuff through the internet. I'm not saying if that's good or bad, since I steal stuff myself. I have no problem with him tracking where the computer went, I have a problem with how he handled it afterwards, and that if you humiliated every person who stole things without due process of law then you'd have a lot of humilated computer hackers. I mean, fuck, it is the Defcon conference.
posted by codacorolla at 1:18 PM on December 24, 2010


Do I have your permission to comb through your hard drive and then mock you for any stolen pornography / music / movies / or games on it? I find you to be morally suspect, so I think that a good old fashioned vigilante shaming is probably the best course of action.

Sure, go ahead, with the caveat that you can only do so if you can provably show that it is actually *your hard drive*, not mine. Are you denying that the data in question were on the victim/owner's hard drive? Of course not, you are making a poorly thought out point.

The data on my hard drive is mine. If you put data there without my permission, I believe that both the law and common sense say that that it is my right to use it as I please, including public posting/shaming on the internet.
posted by Invoke at 1:20 PM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I believe that both the law and common sense say that that it is my right to use it as I please, including public posting/shaming on the internet.

If the photos were of children instead of adult women, would you say the same thing?

Even if the guy with the stolen Mac is actually guilty of actually stealing the Mac, the girls who sent him saucy photos didn't commit a crime.

And besides, we don't exactly parade murderers around the street stark naked while pointing and laughing. I fail to see why that's appropriate behavior here.
posted by device55 at 1:32 PM on December 24, 2010


I'm saying that most people steal things, and that it's very likely that he has stolen stuff through the internet.

Not to restart a predictable flamewar, but please tell me you didn't just conflate taking someone's computer with copyright infringement.

And irrespective of that, it's kind of shitty to say that someone's "very likely stolen" anything when you have absolutely no information to that effect.

(Though I have to admit, he says he lost all his music when his computer was stolen, indicating that they consisted of rips of CDs he no longer has or things he cannot redownload from the place he purchased them from. It is a little bit suggestive of copyright infringement.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:32 PM on December 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm all for mocking the stupidity of wrong-doers.

Problem is, we don't know if this guy stole the computer, bought it at a garage sale, had it gifted to him from a friend or family member, or what. (and there's a fair chance he didn't steal it- 2 years is a long time to go without either using your new toys or selling it...)

What I DO know is that this hacker dude is getting his jollies for mocking this guy for a) taking goofy photos and trying to hook up online (and this is different than most young folks how?) and b) liking porn that's pretty clearly supposed to be funny because... oh-noes! "Ghetto porn!"?
posted by yeloson at 1:33 PM on December 24, 2010


> "Do you think a fucking crack addict who does smash and grab robbery cares at all about being shamed at a hacker convention halfway across the country? He probably cares about crack."

I can't claim to be an expert in what motivates law-breakers,.. but I have known a few multiple-felons in my time and almost without exception all of them said they would NOT burgle homes in which they knew the homeowner had: guns, security-system, dogs,.. or some kind of protection. I'm sure joe-crackaddict-homeless guy doesn't care about shaming.. but I'm willing to bet Melvin or the average job-hunting Facebook user probably does.

> "the clarity of this being stolen property was less distinct than it is here."

The original owners files/settings WERE STILL PLAINLY VISIBLE ON THE DESKTOP. The proper reaction in that type of scenario (no matter HOW you got the machine) would be to check if it's stolen. .and attempt to return it to it's rightful owner. It doesn't appear (from what we can tell in the video) that Melvin had any intention of doing that.

> "It's interesting that so many of you are willing to return to tribal law for losing some computer gear."

I'm not advocating a return to tribal law... but I do think individuals should use whatever skills or technological advantage they have to protect themselves or their property. In this case it was a "hacker" who possessed the knowledge and ability to find his stolen machine. Kudos to him for accomplishing that. The question of whether he went to far publicly shaming the suspect?... that's a matter of individual perspective.

> "I hope no one ever gives you people real power."

Knowledge is real power. Technology is real power. We currently live in a world where anyone who can access a computer has almost instant access to "real power". The age of power being concentrated only at the top of the social pyramid?... is over.
posted by jmnugent at 1:33 PM on December 24, 2010


Me:

I believe that both the law and common sense say that that it is my right to use it as I please, including public posting/shaming on the internet.


Device55:
If the photos were of children instead of adult women, would you say the same thing?

Really? This is the argument? Ahh, well in that case I'd have evidence that would help me totally legally screw the guy who had my computer. No public shaming needed.

Extrapolating edge-cases during a debate is a poor rhetorical path, silly person.
posted by Invoke at 1:39 PM on December 24, 2010


> yeloson: "Problem is, we don't know if the guy stole/bought/was gifted,etc"...

Does it matter?... in any of those cases, upon booting the computer and seeing an original owners files across the desktop.. shouldn't the first course of action be to try contacting the original owner?.... or cruise CL's looking for fat booty?

I'm not saying Zoz is squeaky clean here... he could also have attempted to contact Melvin to arrange a fair solution without the Police. But considering it was 2 years.. and the system was halfway across the country... Zoz's choices may have been limited. Posting various pix and contact info to a Defcon audience is perhaps improper.. but when you consider the atmosphere/convention/audience.. its fairly unsurprising.
posted by jmnugent at 1:39 PM on December 24, 2010


I fail to see why that's appropriate behavior here.

Because the guy doing the vigilante justice is a white middle class nerd.

Knowledge is real power. Technology is real power. We currently live in a world where anyone who can access a computer has almost instant access to "real power". The age of power being concentrated only at the top of the social pyramid?... is over.

I can't believe you're serious.

I'm done with this thread.
posted by codacorolla at 1:41 PM on December 24, 2010


Showing the woman -- presumably a totally uninvolved third party -- was not cool.

But Melvin? Seriously? Fuck that guy. He bought the digital equivalent of a watch that's still warm from the previous owner's wrist, or a wallet that has some other guy's ID still in it. We're well beyond the reasonable-person-ought-to-realize level; he bought an obviously hot computer, and kept using it presumably because he thought there was no way it could end up badly for him. No sympathy.

Making fun of his taste in porn is admittedly bush league, though. It's 2010; liking big butts doesn't seem like something that's worth trying to shame somebody over. (Although pointing out how much stuff is stored in a browser cookie file, just as a sort of sidenote, bears repeating.)

Being a myspace-angle-abusing, online-dating-spamming douchebag strikes me as being in the fair game territory, but still perhaps questionable taste. I'd like to think that in a similar situation, I'd have had the restraint to stick to just a photo, dox, and a description of the takedown from a technical perspective. Starts to get pretty gratuitous after that.

As an aside, for people who have laptops ... an easy way to record the serial numbers and other pertinent information is to put the laptop down on the bed of a photocopier and run off a few copies to store in a safe place. Depending on the manufacturer you ought to get the model, serial, service tag, and possibly also the Windows license sticker and other information. I got this tip from a corporate ID guy and thought it was fairly clever. Beats writing it all down. You can do the same thing for a lot of portable electronics.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:41 PM on December 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Extrapolating edge-cases during a debate is a poor rhetorical path, silly person

Conveniently ignoring the rest of the comment is intellectually dishonest and cowardly.

Sharing semi nude photos of the "thief" (maybe he is, maybe he isn't, we don't know, neither does the douche in the video) and semi nude photos of women he was involved with is not an appropriate response to petty theft.

The punishment fitting the crime and all that.
posted by device55 at 1:50 PM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


(Though I have to admit, he says he lost all his music when his computer was stolen, indicating that they consisted of rips of CDs he no longer has or things he cannot redownload from the place he purchased them from. It is a little bit suggestive of copyright infringement.)

Or MP3s he bought online.
posted by acb at 1:51 PM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


> codacorolla : "I can't believe you're serious."

Why not?... History (of the past 10 to 20 years of technology/internet) has numerous examples of "people at the bottom" leveraging combinations of knowledge & technological skills to influence the actions of traditionally powerful social elites. Individual end-users harnessing social-networking to embarrass corporate mistakes. Groups like Wikileaks determining global events against the wishes of powerful nation-states. Mesh/distributed/asymetrical groups like Anonymous have quite a bit of power to make headline news and then disappear.

Anyone who has access to a computer.. can effect powerful change, depending on their knowledge, time-investment and determination. (Sure, some things like social-status, physical-location still matter.. but definitely not as much as they used to.)

Gnashing our teeth over the morals/ethics of these developments is, in my view, a complete waste of time. (not that we should throw morals/ethics out the window by any means, but expecting technology to conform to traditional moral/ethical obligations is not a reasonable expectation). Of course we should still expect PEOPLE to conform to morals/ethics,.. but debating who is the bigger douche (Zoz or Melvin) gets us nowhere.
posted by jmnugent at 2:01 PM on December 24, 2010


device55:

Sharing semi nude photos of the "thief" (maybe he is, maybe he isn't, we don't know, neither does the douche in the video) and semi nude photos of women he was involved with is not an appropriate response to petty theft.


There's hardly a consensus for you to make such a blunt statement.

For my part, I think that shaming, enforced by also embarrassed peers involved with a thief or knowing-buyer-from-thieves is a perfectly appropriate response.

BTW, the "douche" comment ... it just makes you seem like a jerk. Probably better to leave it out in future debates. We get that you don't approve, no need to add jerky epithets.
posted by Invoke at 2:15 PM on December 24, 2010


petty theft.

"Petty" theft? I know some of you are desperate to prove that thieves are the real victims, but let's have something at least vaguely in the neighbourhood of intellectually honest discourse. A computer, which will typically cost hundreds or thousands of dollars is not "petty" theft, and neither is breaking and entering. Nor is the loss of potentially irreplacable data.

Petty theft is the arsehole who half-inched half a dozen CDs at a party of mine. A whole computer is not "petty" theft, and neither is breaking and entering.

Do I have your permission to comb through your hard drive and then mock you for any stolen pornography / music / movies / or games on it?

No, you have permission to search *your* hard drive. You can do whatever you like with what you find on it; I can assure you it's rather unlikely to be anything of mine on it, since I won't have stolen and used it.

Look, Metafilter often trends toward the goody-goody-law-abiding side of things.

To the degree that "metafilter" can lean to anything, "metafilter" doesn't, really. "Metafilter" is incredibly shrill about "not talking to the police", that police are a uniformed gang, and so on and so forth. "Metafilter" generally has the opinion that many crimes (particularly sexual assault) aren't adequately handled by the criminal system and need to be handled with name-and-shame, guilty-and-can't-be-proven-innocent approaches.
posted by rodgerd at 2:26 PM on December 24, 2010


Isn't it a crime in the US to receive stolen goods, even if you don't know they're stolen?

That said, I thought divulging all of that personal information about the guy was skeevy, but that's apparently how the DEFCON crew roll. I would imagine not divulging the info would have seemed abnormal in a presentation like that.
posted by crunchland at 2:42 PM on December 24, 2010


Hey, guys! So how is this thread going....

[looks around]

Huh, well, uh... I see that... uh... one moment...

[runs out door to car, sound of car starting and driving off]
posted by jscott at 2:47 PM on December 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


[runs out door to car, sound of car starting and driving off]

Has anybody seen my car keys?
posted by hal9k at 3:49 PM on December 24, 2010 [10 favorites]


"Petty" theft? I know some of you are desperate to prove that thieves are the real victims, but let's have something at least vaguely in the neighbourhood of intellectually honest discourse. A computer, which will typically cost hundreds or thousands of dollars is not "petty" theft, and neither is breaking and entering. Nor is the loss of potentially irreplacable data.

I believe they were using the term "petty theft" as opposed to "grand theft", a legal distinction. I'm not sure which one stealing the computer would fall under.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 4:11 PM on December 24, 2010


He also presented this at Defcon, and it's being disseminated through geek culture on the internet. What are even the chances that Melvin will ever actually be shamed. I would say being shamed has to be recognized by the target, otherwise it's just mocking.

I think the chances that Melvin doesn't know about this would have dwindled down to zero by now. If for no other reason than that somebody who has seen it could have easily informed him using the information available within the presentation.
posted by kisch mokusch at 4:20 PM on December 24, 2010


jscott: "[runs out door to car, sound of car starting and driving off]"

Hey, wait for me!

woob woob woob woo!
posted by boo_radley at 4:34 PM on December 24, 2010


For my part, I think that shaming, enforced by also embarrassed peers involved with a thief or knowing-buyer-from-thieves is a perfectly appropriate response.

if by embarrassed peers, you mean the women, zoz and defcon could probably be sued for a lot more money than that computer's worth

those women didn't give their permission for lots of people to see those photographs

it's a little too much like rape, isn't it?
posted by pyramid termite at 4:44 PM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


if by embarrassed peers, you mean the women, zoz and defcon could probably be sued for a lot more money than that computer's worth

those women didn't give their permission for lots of people to see those photographs

it's a little too much like rape, isn't it?


Wow, that's quite the hyperbole. Pictures = rape. Almost but not quite a godwin-level response. Congratulations on your fantastic hyperbole.

Again, edge-cases don't make good case-law, confuse debate, and are simply silly when talking about a response to someone stealing your damn computer.
posted by Invoke at 4:56 PM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Congratulations on your fantastic hyperbole.

congratulations on your nice little boyzone culture
posted by pyramid termite at 4:58 PM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pyramid termite, you've given me a brand-new label. "Member of boyzone culture." I don't understand it, it seems nonsensical, but it is a first, so again, congratulations.
posted by Invoke at 5:04 PM on December 24, 2010


Invoke, it is rather skeevy to consider it open season on someone's third-party contacts, especially in such an intimate way. You can try to justify it with an ethical response, but ultimately, there's not a good one.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 5:16 PM on December 24, 2010


Invoke, it is rather skeevy to consider it open season on someone's third-party contacts, especially in such an intimate way. You can try to justify it with an ethical response, but ultimately, there's not a good one.

True, and I wouldn't do that, but it isn't rape. That's mostly what I was reacting to.
posted by Invoke at 5:21 PM on December 24, 2010


No it is not even a little bit like rape. It is like learning the hard way that sending nude pics to strangers is stupid. The part I found interesting was Melvin Guzman pasted the same e-mail to 200 women on an internet dating site. So the woman who we looked at (unless you closed the youtube video the millisecond you entered trespass zone, which I imagine nobody did) not only sent nude pics to a stranger, she sent nude pics to a stranger who did not even send her a personal message. And they were not, technically, nude (hmmm, maybe you did close the browser window in embarrassment); they had the private parts covered with the defcon icon. On my computer her facial features and his facial features were pretty damn low res. Camera phone shots posted to you tube.

Good grief.
posted by bukvich at 5:27 PM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah, well, that's true. I think he was more pointing out the whole idea of consent is what separates regular sex (okay) from rape (not okay), just like showing pictures of yourself naked (okay) is different from those pictures being seen by a third party at a convention (not okay). At least, that's what I read it as, but perhaps I was being generous.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 5:29 PM on December 24, 2010


And by the way, sometimes my messages on dating sites get pretty form-letter-ish. I'll get more personal once I have a response, but I'm certainly guilty of using more generic material to help access more people.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 5:32 PM on December 24, 2010


Good gravy, I thought the presentation was somewhat simplistic but truly, the skeevy part was the snapshots of the women. Jesus, he could have covered their faces. They had not stolen his property nor bought it so leave them out of the shaming.

I am a bit mixed about Guzman, because he could be silly enough to have believed that someone was crazy enough to sell their computer without wiping it and thought he didn't need to buy software at all. But in the end, too good of a deal from the back of the truck is risky, way risky.

I am glad that he got his equipment back but I wish he had not embarrassed the women who had unwisely sent photos of themselves to Guzman.
posted by jadepearl at 5:39 PM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Showing those women (without at least covering their faces) was as bad as Melvin buying a stolen computer 2 years after the fact (after passing through who knows how many hands).

I didn't watch the video, I downloaded the pdf and when I got to those pictures I was ashamed to participate in something like this. I just downloaded pictures of these women without their consent.
posted by Danila at 6:05 PM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, I do not see why he had to include the pictures of the women at all, other than to hold them up for shame and wankers. And for what? I wouldn't want to have anything to do with Melvyn or zoz either.
posted by Danila at 6:06 PM on December 24, 2010


I just watched the video again. My conclusion is that people arguing that it was equivalent to rape to post images of the women are simply whacked out, and those complaining about how inappropriate it was are exaggerating to make a point. They *weren't nude by any stretch of the imagination.* At worst, they are being unfairly, and without permission, exposed as wanna-be-associates of the idiot who probably bought the stolen computer.

Responding to Danila, who asked "and for what"? I answer "to get back his computer, and to make an amusing Defcon panel speech." He succeeded in both. The women didn't add much, but they did help paint the picture. Were those women actually hurt from the tame/censored images? I doubt it.

Would I do the same thing? No, not quite so publicly, but I have done similar. I have threatened people with exposure to their deans to force them to stop internet harassing friends. I had internet-detective-proof-that-wouldn't-be-admissible-in-court, but the threat worked. I'm not sorry. I'd do something similar in one second for myself or a friend. Fear of shame works on (some) trolls, thieves, and stalkers.
posted by Invoke at 6:35 PM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


No it is not even a little bit like rape. It is like learning the hard way that sending nude pics to strangers is stupid.

This. If the worst thing that happens to you when you've done something stupid -- whether that thing is purchase stolen property, or just sent nude pics to someone online -- is public shaming, you're a lucky, lucky person who's just learned a lesson the easy way.
posted by coolguymichael at 6:36 PM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


[runs out door to car, sound of car starting and driving off]

Has anybody seen my car keys?


It's cool, just post the GPS trail on YouTube.
posted by zvs at 6:48 PM on December 24, 2010


The women didn't add much, but they did help paint the picture. Were those women actually hurt from the tame/censored images? I doubt it.

Paint the picture of what? The type of women that he likes? And yeah, showing a picture of someone visibly naked but with logos over their unmentionables in a public way without their consent is below the bar. I would not threaten anyone with expose, even if a friended needed it. I'm sorry, but that's just so out of bounds for acceptable behavior.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 7:05 PM on December 24, 2010


just sent nude pics to someone online -- is public shaming, you're a lucky, lucky person who's just learned a lesson the easy way.

If sending photos of yourself to someone who you trust merits at best public shaming, what's the "hard" way to learn this lesson? The way for us people that are not lucky, lucky.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 7:07 PM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


The ethical implications of this guys actions are troubling, as many here saw immediately (why Metafilter fuckin' rocks).

I was totally on this guys side, but began to get more and more uncomfortable as he went on. I think he over did the pwned aspect, not sure that Guzman deserved that much humiliation. Just too easy, and it was in excess. And showing the photos of the women was utterly disrespectful of their privacy an gross. They have nothing to do with the matter.

So, hooray. This guy's tenacity and Tech fu is A ++. Truly his patience is Jedi level.

But the balls out, pedal to the metal, need for vengeance and humiliation verges on the douchy.

But technology, and superior knowledge of it, encourages that because it is such a powerful exceptional, and even entitled I might add, state of mind.
posted by Skygazer at 7:45 PM on December 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: Jesus Christ, I hope no one ever gives you people real power.
posted by dhartung at 7:47 PM on December 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


But technology, and superior knowledge of it, encourages that because it is such a powerful, exceptional, and even entitled privileged state.

Privileged is the word, that should be used there.
posted by Skygazer at 7:50 PM on December 24, 2010


heh
posted by clavdivs at 7:52 PM on December 24, 2010


Has anyone broken out the Spiderman quote yet? Cos that would be good here.

*Mixes another xmas cocktail*
posted by Skygazer at 7:58 PM on December 24, 2010


Responding to Danila, who asked "and for what"? I answer "to get back his computer, and to make an amusing Defcon panel speech." He succeeded in both. The women didn't add much, but they did help paint the picture. Were those women actually hurt from the tame/censored images? I doubt it.


How does publishing the photos of the women, including them in the speech, and making them available for download help him get back his computer? And why should they be the target of this joke?

The images are not tame and they aren't really censored. Their faces are there! Why? It would be ridiculously easy to photoshop the "censored" nude areas to make them fully nude and distribute the photos with none the wiser. There are a LOT of women whose pictures are on porn sites and advertising for strip clubs/videos who never gave any permission for it.

I just don't see why those photos were included at all or even how it makes Melvyn look bad (unless it's because they are dark-skinned women with big butts, which I guess is laughable on its face to some). It's just a cruel thing to do to these women, when they did nothing to him at all. It's a misogynist act.
posted by Danila at 7:59 PM on December 24, 2010 [9 favorites]


It's a misogynist act.

And douch-a-matic douch-holery of douchesque doucha-lama-lama-lama.
posted by Skygazer at 8:17 PM on December 24, 2010


I agree with Danila. Showing the women was odd and didn't fit or need to be in his presentation at all.
posted by laneXplace at 9:05 PM on December 24, 2010


Has anyone broken out the Spider-Man quote yet?

"Was that from Spider-Man? What you just said, that's from Spider-Man. You're dumping me with a line from Spider-Man. You immature, pathetic, shallow bastard. Have you got no respect for me? I thought you were better than that.

You stay away from me!"
posted by The Hamms Bear at 9:52 PM on December 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Just because nobody's said it yet... it wasn't a laptop.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 10:24 PM on December 24, 2010


I agree with Danila as well, no need for the pics of the girls in the presentation. Additionally at least here in Florida, there are a tons of computers available in pawnshops that do not have their hard drives erased. If Melvin was a computer neophyte and picked up the computer from a source such as a pawn shop it's possible he didn't know how to, or know that he should erase the drive, let alone contact the previous owner. He certainly didn't go out of his way to hide the device or cover his tracks. Although it was an ok presentation, without proof that Melvin received the goods illegally, IMHO the public shaming part is way out of line. It would be interesting to know if the police did anything besides recover the property and return it.
posted by HappyHippo at 10:59 PM on December 24, 2010


Seems to me that Melvin MUST have known the Mac was stolen property (the original owners files were all over the desktop)

Have none of you ever bought used computers at yard sales, Goodwill, etc? Many, many people do not know how to wipe their hard drives or even that they should. Twice in about six months (ca. 2005-2006) my then-boyfriend got computers from their original owners at yard sales, with with their very explicit sex videos still on them. One of them also apparently had some financial information from a business that one of the couples ran. He deleted all the personal files, but just as the sellers hadn't known to do that, many buyers wouldn't, either. The fact that someone else's files are on it just shows that it's not new, not that it's stolen.

If the computer sat unused for a long time, I very much doubt that the guy who eventually started it up again was the same guy who stole it, and see nothing so far that should have alerted him that it was stolen.
posted by dilettante at 9:02 AM on December 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


There is something a little contradictory on display, here.

The presumption here is that, on the one hand, this Melvin fellow would have sufficiently transgressed the bounds of ethical standards to merit this form of public humiliation even if it were the case that he was not the thief, but merely the eventual owner of the stolen goods.

EG:

- if Melvin is the thief: deserves humiliation

- if Melvin is not the thief, but knowingly bought the stolen computer: deserves humiliation

- if Melvin is not the thief, but bought the stolen computer under shady circumstances: deserves humiliation

...which attitude you may or may not agree with but it seems a fairly clear-cut morality.

Now let's suppose, for sake of argument, that a friend of yours -- call him Z -- had obtained naked photographs of women without their consent, and decided to publish those stolen photos for his own amusement.

Applying the above standard, does Z deserve humiliation, or not? If not, what is it about Z's actions that distinguishes them from those of Melvin, such that the one deserves humiliation but the other does not?
posted by hoople at 9:14 AM on December 25, 2010


No, Melvin deserves humiliation because we want him to receive it. Because watching someone who gets humiliated—especially someone who we think deserves it—is both enjoyable and satisfying. The reason that they have this in the presentation is not some sense of "serving the public good" but because it's fun for them. Zoz wouldn't be making a presentation out of this if he thought that his actions were rooted only in justice; he did so because making it and showing it off was fun. Justice has nothing to do with his motivations of making this presentation.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 9:34 AM on December 25, 2010


@dilettante,
I get your points.. but the math doesn't seem to add up to me. Even assuming Melvin was 100% innocent of anything.. there are to many opportunities along the path for him to "do the right thing".. yet he didn't .. why?.. When he recognized a previous owners files, did he make any effort to contact the previous owner? He could have pulled out the hard drive, smashed it and installed a fresh/clean hard drive. Yet again, he didn't. He wasn't the least bit curious that the Seller sold him a computer but did not know/give him the Administrator password?

Occam's Razor would imply Melvin is either a Grade A idiot.. or willfully/consciously avoiding "doing the right thing" (most likely because his intuition was telling him the system was most likely stolen).

It reminds me a lot of this story of the stolen Sidekick. The suspect had every opportunity at every turn to "do the right thing" and give the phone back. But they chose not to. Bad choice.
posted by jmnugent at 10:23 AM on December 25, 2010


What do you mean by "do the right thing" in the case Guzman believes he has legally purchased a used and unwiped computer?

Zoz never attempted to contact Guzman. Zoz only surreptitiously downloaded files from the stolen computer.

On another note, the idea that it is OK to expose third parties for the transgressions of their acquaintances (I'm looking at you, invoke) is risible and idiotic. Third parties may have no knowledge of the criminal histories of their spouses, friends, lovers, children, colleagues and co-workers. Those arguing the righteousness of such unwarranted exposure by way of the flawed thought process that led them to do something "similar" should be relieved of any responsibilities involving ethics and morality.
posted by mistersquid at 10:47 AM on December 25, 2010


If he had tried to contact Melvin wouldn't Melvin have just gotten rid of the computer?
posted by Megafly at 11:08 AM on December 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I found this really interesting. I liked seeing the process through which he was able to get information about the guy. First, the hackery stuff. Second, the stuff like how the guy used his year of birth in all of his passwords -- it was like a lecture about how a bit of technical luck can give you all the access you need to snoop, but told as a narrative.

But, then again, I assume it was fascinating to me because I don't know the first thing about hacking, or really even computer security. A lot of the terms and acronyms he used went right over my head, though the audience was assumed to know them all. I'm guessing the audience this was intended for didn't need to have spelled out for them what I learned from it. So, for a talk to some internet-capable but computer-incompetent folks? Brilliant. For a talk hosted at Defcon? I don't understand it.

I also really cringed when it came to the pictures of the woman. That was unseemly. I thought the Guzman-shaming was a distraction from the interesting aspects of the talk.
posted by meese at 11:49 AM on December 25, 2010


Occam's Razor would imply Melvin is either a Grade A idiot.. or willfully/consciously avoiding "doing the right thing" (most likely because his intuition was telling him the system was most likely stolen).

Well, luckily, neither being an idiot nor avoiding "doing the right thing" are sentenced usually, much less with the police posting your privacy at a convention to restore moral order. God knows the number of people that wouldn't cheat on their taxes or be less helpful to policemen then.

Even if Guzman wasn't a stand-up guy and perhaps knew something was wrong with his stolen merchandise, then why have the shaming at all? It's like the Colonial Americans tarring and feathering loyalists. Were some of the assholes? Probably. Does that mean they deserve to be publicly beaten, then have tar poured over them followed by feathers? Nope.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 12:34 PM on December 25, 2010


I'm with dilettante here. No one's ever legitimately bought a computer with other people's stuff still on it? Hell, I've done that twice. One time, it was even interesting stuff - an Outlook PST filled with B-list celebrities' private cell numbers.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:34 PM on December 25, 2010


> "What do you mean by "do the right thing" in the case Guzman believes he has legally purchased a used and unwiped computer?"

Well.. I've said multiple times in this thread:... if you receive (and continue using) a computer that has someone elses data on it.. you should be expected to do "due diligence" in either 1.) Contacting the previous owner to make sure the system isn't stolen.. or 2.) Wiping the drive or replacing the drive with a new one. (a simple 15min procedure that would have ensured Zoz never could track down someone like Guzman)

It boggles my mind to think someone would NOT do those things. How is that NOT common-sense?... If you bought a car that had someone elses backpack/suitcase/briefcase of information in the backseat.. wouldn't you try to return it to them?.. If you found a coat/jacket that had a wallet in it,... wouldn't you return it?... I do. If that makes me the weirdo,.. then that's a sad commentary on modern society.
posted by jmnugent at 2:53 PM on December 25, 2010


either 1.) Contacting the previous owner to make sure the system isn't stolen.. or 2.) Wiping the drive or replacing the drive with a new one. (a simple 15min procedure that would have ensured Zoz never could track down someone like Guzman)

That's good if you know how to do these things. I know how, I'm sure you do, too, but there are lots and lots of people out there who do not - based on some of my co-workers, even among people who use computers for work daily.
posted by dilettante at 3:20 PM on December 25, 2010


Just because nobody's said it yet... it wasn't a laptop.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 1:24 AM on December 25 [+] [!]


Yeah, someone said it already:

Also, since you appear to have missed the sustained amount of time that the desktop PC system was on screen, it wasn't a laptop. . .
posted by codacorolla at 4:04 PM on December 24 [+] [!]

posted by mlis at 5:54 PM on December 25, 2010


Were you merely inattentive or were you willfully obtuse when you quoted this phrase
in the case Guzman believes he has legally purchased a used and unwiped computer?
and then reasserted your point which rejects the case I presented? There is no due diligence to be done if one believes the case to be legal and legitimate.

To wit, given the knowledge you have of such things, you certainly realize that stolen computers can be wiped and sold that much more safely. Were you to buy a used, wiped computer, would you submit the serial number to law enforcement as a matter of due diligence?

I didn't think so either.
posted by mistersquid at 6:13 PM on December 25, 2010


> mistersquid: "Were you to buy a used, wiped computer, would you submit the SN to law enforcement as a matter of due diligence?"

If anything during the sale/transaction gave me the sense the computer might have a sketchy history?... Then yes, i would.
posted by jmnugent at 7:39 AM on December 26, 2010


He wasn't the least bit curious that the Seller sold him a computer but did not know/give him the Administrator password?

This surprises you?

A lot of people here seem to have no idea just how ignorant the man in the street is about how computers work. Almost certainly this guy had no idea what an administrators' password is, much less why he would want it. Same reason I expect him to know how to spend fifteen minutes replacing a hard drive (assuming he wanted to go buy a new one in the first place, which seems unlikely.
posted by IndigoJones at 11:34 AM on December 26, 2010


It doesn't surprise me in the sense of end-user stupidity. It surprises me that something so blatant and annoying would continually be ignored. For the computer to be offline for 2 years.. surely all manner of OS, software, plugins (java, flash, etc) needed updating. Melvin speaks English. .and he's smart enough to transfer digital pictures to dating sites.. but he won't understand a password prompt that says: "This action requires the Administrator password". .. ??

All the ignorant end-users I know (and I've done deskside support for 20years) would raise holy hell if they couldn't install some Facebook game or cellphone-ringtone creator tool,etc,etc. But for some reason Melvin kept quiet ? That doesn't sound like stupidity to me.. it sounds like avoidance.
posted by jmnugent at 7:22 AM on December 27, 2010


All the ignorant end-users I know (and I've done deskside support for 20years)

That's just it, though. The people you assist have a level of expectation (like getting help desk support at all) that I'm guessing this guy did not. (Also expertise - plenty of users I've known in Big Business would have no idea how to install a Facebook game.) Updates? Surely two year old apps work fine enough for his limited, indeed, single minded, wants. That's what he, the unemployed guy, gives up by not paying retail, and if funny error messages come up, well, computers are weird, everyone knows that. Bottom line, it did everything he wanted it to do, which wasn't really all that much. (Didn't catch anything in the the presentation that suggested he was ever stymied by a call for an Admin password, but perhaps that's just me.)

If you bought a car that had someone elses backpack/suitcase/briefcase of information in the backseat.. wouldn't you try to return it to them?

Sure, but would I return the car itself? And with cars, you expect to get the registration, which you don't with computers. (NB our presenter never did tell us how the guy wound up with it.)

Of course you're right, it probably was avoidance, but you're expecting too much from human nature to assume that having bought an un-wiped used machine, an unemployed sad sack is after the sale suddenly going to get all right minded and risk losing both cost of the machine and machine itself by ferreting out the previous owner. And what sort of risk would he be taking by downloading the data (assuming he could) and sending it (Assuming that that would have been easy to do - we are not told what sort of data was left on that machine.)

Likewise it is expecting too much of human nature not to find cruel humor in the pathetic louche tastes and clownish behaviors of the final user. This would have been quite the boring presentation had the end user been a little old lady on social security who only used the machine on Sundays to email her grandchildren and keep recipes for her bingo club. (And it's expecting too much of human nature not to imagine she too could have wound up with the machine just as easily as did the schmo.)
posted by IndigoJones at 4:27 PM on December 28, 2010


Wouldn't it be interesting if the next MeFite to show up was MelvinGuzman85?
posted by bwg at 3:49 AM on January 2, 2011


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