Feeds

Teen buys WikiLeaks server for $33,000 – with dad's eBay account

'A serious conversation' to be had, dad says

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The eBay auction of a server formerly used by WikiLeaks has ended with a closing bid of more than $30,000, but the 17-year-old winner will not receive his goods because he bid on the equipment using his father's eBay account without his permission.

The youth, whose name has been withheld, bid eight times during the ten-day auction period, starting at $10,200 and eventually winning the auction with a final bid of $33,000.

When his father heard the news, Wired reports, he was "speechless".

"My son is 17 years old and is crazy about conspiracy theory," the man, described as an industrial maintenance worker living near Lisbon, Portugal, said by way of explanation.

"Crazy" might be right, because even the most avid tin-foil-hatter would be unlikely to find much of interest in the Dell PowerEdge R410 server, which was put up for auction by Swedish internet service provider Bahnhof.

Although WikiLeaks did at one time use the server to host sensitive data, including the infamous Iraq War documents, it was unplugged in June 2011 and the company says it has since wiped all of the data from it according to Department of Defense specifications.

At the time of the auction, Bahnhof said it had put the box on the block as "a historical curiosity," and that proceeds from the sale would go to the nonprofit media defense organization Reporters Without Borders and Swedish free-speech activist group the 5th of July Foundation.

But WikiLeaks took issue with the auction, saying Bahnhof had not asked its permission to auction the server – or to give the proceeds to someone else – and suggesting that Bahnhof was trading on the document-leaking outfit's good name "for marketing purposes."

In its defense, Bahnhof said it didn't need to ask permission because WikiLeaks had only rented the server.

The way it looks now, it looks as though the disputed Dell will go to the auction's runner-up, who bid $32,900 – provided, of course, that nothing turns out to be fishy with that bid, as well.

As for the father of the 17-year-old who placed the original winning bid, however, we suspect he's no longer as speechless as he was when he first heard the news. In an apologetic email sent to Bahnhof on Thursday, he said he had yet to properly discuss the matter with the teen, but that "A more serious conversation will be tomorrow." ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
It's Big, it's Blue... it's simply FABLESS! IBM's chip-free future
Or why the reversal of globalisation ain't gonna 'appen
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Bitcasa bins $10-a-month Infinite storage offer
Firm cites 'low demand' plus 'abusers'
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
CAGE MATCH: Microsoft, Dell open co-located bit barns in Oz
Whole new species of XaaS spawning in the antipodes
Microsoft and Dell’s cloud in a box: Instant Azure for the data centre
A less painful way to run Microsoft’s private cloud
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.