My Time With A Government PC

This was back when I was a junior in high school. I was the tech guru to many friends in the school at the time, and I have had my experiences with, usually, most of the common computer problems from these people. That all changed when my friend Taylor brought me a macbook.

One day, Taylor asked me is I could remove a password from a laptop he recently got his paws on. I said sure, thinking it would be a simple Windows machine, but it turned out to be much more. The next day, he pulled out a macbook; i took a look around the machine, and there was a small and hard sticker plate which said "Property of Nasa" with the nasa logo. My heart sank just a tiny bit, but then again, I did not think much of it. 

The next class, I proceeded to turn on the machine. It booted to the login prompt of Mac OS X. As I read the log in message, my heart sank; what the HELL did I have in my possesion? The following is the closest as I can remember the message being.

"This computer is property of the US government. If you are not authorized to access this system, please power down this machine and return it to the last known place of origin. If you do decide to proceed without proper authorization, you should have no expectation of privacy."

I did not know what to think. At this point, a small red light began to blink on the side of the macbook. I immediately pulled out the battery, and decided to inspect the internal hardware. It was a pretty old machine, running DDR memory and an 80GB IDE drive, and a simple CD-R/DVD drive. I was considering copying the drive, but not knowing what kind of information was stored here, I decided to leave it be.

Using the Mac OS X disc i had, I was able to succesfully change the password, but as the system logged in, I powered down again, and returned the machine to Taylor. I have not heard from him since. I kind of worry that he was arrested.

I did not take any pictures of the sticker or log in prompt back then (although I probably should have) but I did take a picture with my cell phone of the macbook from the front. Was the strangest moment I remember from back in high school, and every time I look at the machine, I really wonder what kind of information was on that drive.


it was probably auctioned off and they forgot to wipe the drive or take it out (or deemed useless as a mac)

I have a quad cpu pentium III xeon server that was used by the government, they auctioned them off

Cool story, bro. I'm serious.

I would sell that data for some cold hard cash, if I bought the PC of course.

And you would be commiting a felony even if you bought it at a certified gov. auction and found the data on the h/d. Some dipstick forgot to reset the h/d to factory or to wipe it, that does not mean you get to do with as you please with the data. If I did that with the donated machines I rebuild for people who do not have machines I would be a unethical thief, even though the machine was given to me....And I would deserve whatever time I got either here or in the afterlife...