A video is going around that shows a UC Berkeley professor detailing the mess a student got into by stealing his laptop (Boing Boing
links to various copies of the video). The student thought he was just going to be stealing a copy of an exam. What he didn't know was that he was also stealing industrial trade secrets, which will send various federal agencies searching for him. It's a great speech by the professor. The question is, how much of it is real, and how much of it is bluff?
The professor in the video is Jasper Rine
. Google his name and you come up with all kinds of links between him and big biotechs. So when he says there are trade secrets on the laptop, I would believe him. I would also believe that the corporations won't be happy about having their info stolen.
But I'm not sure I'd agree with the professor's assertion that the thief WILL be found. When he mentions that the use of Windows triggered an alert in Redmond, that doesn't mean anything. I get that alert when I try to use Microsoft Word on my laptop and desktop at the same time. Microsoft isn't going to be tracking the thief down. He also mentions tracking a signal from a wireless receiver in the laptop. I suppose they could triangulate the data and come up with a location. Except that on a campus with tens of thousands of people living in close quarters, that might not be of much use if the laptop was used in a public space. He also mentions a partial image of the thief. But obviously the image isn't good enough to allow an easy identification, or they would have already got the guy.
If I were the thief, I wouldn't turn myself in (I wouldn't have stolen the laptop in the first place, but that's another matter entirely). Turning yourself in would mean certain punishment. I would just get rid of the laptop. The likelihood is that federal officers aren't going to spend that much time hunting it down, and if the laptop simply vanishes there's not much that can be done. It'll be interesting to see if there's ever any follow-up to this case.
And oops. I just noticed this was linked to in the forum also. I should have checked out what that 'World of Pain'
link was about before I wrote this up. Oh well. I'm guilty of double posting, I guess.