After 10 days and 93 bids, an historic server used to host Wikileaks’ treasure trove of secret documents has sold on eBay — to a 17-year-old who used his dad’s email account without permission.
Swedish ISP Bahnhof, which had hosted Wikileaks for about eight months starting back in 2010,5th of July Foundation, a digital rights group., hoping to raise money for two charities: Reporters Without Borders and the
The winning bid was $33,000. But according to Bahnhof CEO John Karlung, soon after the auction closed this morning, he got a message from the buyer, saying he wants to back out of the deal. His son bought the item without his knowledge or permission.
According to eBay’s records, the boy initially bid $10,200 for the server, back on September 7. He then bid seven more times as the auction heated up.
After it was unplugged in June 2011, the server — a Dell Poweredge R410 worth maybe $4,000 — had served as a conversation piece in a bar in one of Bahhof’s Stockholm data centers. Bahnhof has wiped the data from it and is selling it as a historical curiosity.
Wikileaks — which wasn’t in line to benefit from the auction — was no fan of the sale, saying that Bahnhof had exaggerated the role played by the server, and that the Swedish ISP “did not seek permission to auction the WikiLeaks server or to use it for marketing purposes, or to send the proceeds to others.”
The server was one of several used to host the Iraq War Logs, but was never a primary server, Wikileaks said.
“We do not support Bahnhof exploiting the privacy and good name of their clients for marketing purposes,” the whistle-blowing outfit said via Twitter last week.
Wikileaks never actually owned the box. They rented it from Bahnhof.
Karlung wouldn’t identify the buyer, saying he wanted to preserve his privacy. But he put us in touch with the unlucky server-winner. He says he’s an industrial maintenance worker who lives just outside of Lisbon. He forwarded us the messages he sent Karlung after his son won the auction.
“My son is 17 years old and is crazy about conspiracy theory,” the winner wrote to Karlung.
In an email interview, the forlorn winner said that he was “speechless” when he learned about his son’s purchase. But they haven’t had time to talk yet. “A more serious conversation will be tomorrow,” he said.
The number-two bidder now gets a shot at owning a piece of history — for $32,900. Lucky them — provided their bid is legit.
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