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Prince William 'day with my chopper' pics reveal more than intended

Palace whoopsie leads to embarrassing exposures

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The UK's Ministry of Defence was obliged to reset user names and passwords following the publication of pictures of the Duke of Cambridge at work on a military base.

Four of the 10 pictures, released by St James's Palace, showed Prince William at work at RAF Valley but failed to blur or disguise sensitive information in background. An "administrative oversight" meant the pictures were published on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s official website before they were cleared by the MoD, The Daily Telegraph reports.

This turned out to be a significant oversight because potential sensitive information was visible on computer screens and bulletin boards in the background of shots taken at the RAF base in north Wales, where the prince serves as a search and rescue helicopter pilot. The images were quickly pulled from the website once the mistake became apparent but not before the images had been widely reproduced.

The pictures, taken by an RAF photographer, were later re-issued with sensitive details pixellated. In one image the Duke is shown sharing a joke with colleagues in a briefing room in front of a computer showing a password prompt screen. The MoD reset potentially exposed passwords as a precaution.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman told The Daily Telegraph: "Due to an administrative oversight, these photographs were not properly cleared at RAF Valley and the images showed unclassified MoD user names, passwords and computer screens on a restricted system."

"The passwords and user names shown have now been reset as a precaution and we are satisfied the images do not contravene security regulations."

"All the photos have been now amended and reissued. Media organisations are kindly asked to use these images," he added.

The paper adds that the websites logins depicted in the photos relate to unclassified websites used by Sea King helicopter pilots to calculate fuel requirements and to access the Civil Aviation Authority. More on the story, complete with more pictures, can be found in a Daily Mail article here.

An explanation of the typical "working day in the life of Flight Lieutenant Wales" on the Duke's official website reveals that he and his crew-mates like to play Call of Duty in their spare time, in between briefings, training exercises, standby shifts and rescue sorties.

Downtime is also an important part of the job. When the crew is not conducting a search and rescue mission or preparing for a training exercise, they can usually be found re-charging their batteries in the crew-room or eating a meal in the nearby dining room. Computer games – especially the likes of Call of Duty and other military-themed games – are a favourite for the crew if they have a spare moment in the evenings. However, they must remain in constant contact and can never be more than 60 seconds away from their aircraft in case an emergency call comes in.

RAF search and rescue squadrons handle on average around 2,000 call-outs a year. ®

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