When retired press photographer Mike Kirkup purchased two Power Mac 720's at auction, for just Â£12 each, he was stunned to discover when he turned on the Power Mac's what he found; telephone numbers for actors including Stephen Fry, personal emails between the company and legendary director Franco Zeffirelli, multimillion-pound financial deals, and casting details.
"There is an incredible amount of information on here which could cause a lot of damage if it fell into the wrong hands," said Kirkup. "It would not take much for anyone to use this information to illegally remove money from the company. Certainly I would take great care 'wiping ' my hard drive before selling any computer". Kirkup also said that he was happy to either wipe the computers or hand the data over to NDF. "I am acting in good faith here".
The Mac's belonged to film company NDF International, which was responsible for financing and co-producing The Crying Game, Smoke, Wilde and Titus.
"Besides alternative film scripts, which would be of interest to collectors, there were letters which showed that Yoshizaki was interested in buying the rights to Karma Sutra 2 and shooting a new production with Franco Zeffirelli," said Kirkup.
Also included were letters to the former Beatle George Harrison's production company Handmade Films, long lists of cast telephone numbers and information that would have been interesting to tabloid gossip columns.
A spokesman for NDF said that the computers had been replaced two years ago and that the data had been copied. "They had sat in the corner of the office and we assumed they had been wiped. When we came to move from our Soho offices we decided to get rid of them," he said.
NDF International considered the data, which covered the period 1996 to 2000, as very old and of no interest, as all projects had been finished. "It is a little worrying that all that financial information was there," admitted the spokesman.
News source: vnunet