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What next for data theft?

A little projection on where loose data could lead us...


I could smell barbecue on the light breeze. Gulls wheeled and cried against the blue sky, cutting through the more distant wind-borne shrieks of excited children on the beach.

Johnny’s emotionless voice came down to me from the top of the dune ‘Middle-class family group, North North West, 300 metres. Man, woman, one female teenager, one baby. Red windbreak.’ I unzipped the pouch, pulled out the gun and booted it up. Three green lights, that would do.

Carefully wriggling into position through the sand, I spotted them almost right away. I brought the gun up as the lasersight cleared, and set the cross-hairs to bear in the centre of the group. Their images shimmered in the rising heat, and I zoomed in a little for a better shot.

Yellow brackets told me the FRS had picked up the mother and daughter, the man kept looking in the wrong direction.  I needed more faces to make associations and guarantee success. Suddenly I had all three. I pulled the trigger. A satisfying buzz and a screenshot told me they were all hit - even the baby. The new SNUPE 250 really was the best.

I hunkered down at the bottom of the dune and toggled SEND. I could almost feel the comms wake up and talk to the cloud. Incisive tools and discrete algorithms surged across and interrogated every media group, corporate website, all five breached government departments, two banks, a credit business, the DVLA and three medical databases.

I felt the sun on my face as I lay back in the warm sand, giving it a full minute to cross-reference all the findings.  Flipping down the glasses, I scanned the data as it traced its story across my vision.

Mr and Mrs James Cartwright, daughter Zoe, baby Albert. 35, Portland Avenue, Bristol, BS5 2QS.  I trawled through the ever-growing mound of data; births, deaths, affairs, employment, meal preferences, hospital stays, parking and speeding fines, holidays, pets, family photos, emails.. there it was... purchase history.

I called up to Johnny ‘DK66 FJL.’ He swung his binoculars onto the car park.

Yep, got it. Black Audi 4 X 4

I started up the printer and typed the killer line, tore off the sheet. We packed up the gun and printer, made our way to the car park. When I knew nobody was looking I sidled up to the Audi and put the fateful message under the wiper.

‘Attention Cartwrights! TV on the blink? 50” Samsung, 30% discount, just for you, today only at Dean Electronics.’

OR (alternative ending  - They are doing this stuff on Black Mirror, so hey...)

James - You might want to stop Peter Walker finding out about your affair with his wife. £10,000, please to: 33-00-67. a/c 97026933. You have 3 hours.