Professor Jasper D. Rine

Laptop Theft Gambit Address

delivered 15 April 2005, University of California at Berkeley

Audio mp3 of Address


[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio. (2)]

Thanks, Gary.

I have a message for one person in this audience. I'm sorry the rest of you have to sit through this. As you know, my computer was stolen in my last lecture. The thief apparently wanted to betray everyone's trust, and was after the exam.

The thief was smart not to plug the computer into the campus network, but the thief was not smart enough to do three things: He was not smart enough to immediately remove Windows. I installed the same version of Windows on another computer. Within fifteen minutes the people in Redmond Washington were very interested to know why it was that the same version of Windows was being signaled to them from two different computers.

The thief also did not inactivate either the wireless card or the transponder that's in that computer. Within about an hour, there was a signal from various places on campus that's allowed us to track exactly where that computer went and every time that it was turned on.

I'm not particularly concerned about the computer. But the thief, who thought he was only stealing an exam, is presently -- we think -- probably still in possession of three different kinds of kinds of data, any one of which can send this man, this young boy, actually, to federal prison. Not a good place for a young boy to be.

You are in possession of data from a hundred million dollar trial, sponsored by the NIH, for which I'm a consultant. This involves some of the largest companies on the planet. The NIH investigates these things through the FBI. They have been identified -- they've been notified about this problem.

You are in possession of trade secrets from a Fortune 1000 biotech company, the largest one in the country, which I consult for. The Federal Trade Communication is very interested in this. Federal Marshals are the people who handle that.

You are in possession of proprietary data from a pre-public company planning an IPO. The Securities and Exchange Commission is very interested in this, and I don't even know what branch of law enforcement they use.

Your academic career is about to come to an end. You are facing very serious charges with a probability of very serious time. At this point, there is very little that anybody can do for you. The one thing that you can do for yourself is to somehow prove that the integrity of the data which you possess has not been corrupted or copied.

Ironically, I am the only person on the planet that can come to your aid, because I am the only person that can tell whether the data that was on that computer are still on that computer. You will have to find a way of hoping that if you've copied anything you can prove that you have only one copy of whatever was made.

I am tied up all this afternoon. I am out of town all of next week. You have until 11:55 to return the computer and whatever copies you've made to my office, 'cause I'm the only hope you've got of staying out of deeper trouble than you or any student that I've ever known has ever been in.

I apologize to the rest of you to have to bring up this [dis]tasteful matter, but I will point out though we have a partial image of this person, we have two eyewitnesses, with the transponder data we're going to get this person.

Cartoon Parody obtained from

Also in this database: Univ of Central Florida Professor of Business Management Richard Quinn: Cheating Lecture

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