Teen scores WikiLeaks server for $33,000 with dad’s eBay account

The server used to hold WikiLeaks secrets was sold on eBay to a 17-year-old boy who had no business bidding in the first place.


Gaby Dunn

Internet Culture

Published Sep 14, 2013   Updated Jun 1, 2021, 6:31 am CDT

Someone’s getting grounded.

The server used to hold WikiLeaks greatest secrets was sold on eBay after a long and dramatic bidding war that ended with a triumphant winner: a 17-year-old boy who spent $33,000 without his parents’ permission.

After 10 days and 93 bids, according to Wired, the teen used his dad’s email account to score the historic piece of equipment. Soon after the bidding closed, however, the father who unintentionally won messaged the seller asking to back out, saying his son had bid without his knowledge.

Swedish ISP Bahnhof, which hosted WikiLeaks for about eight months starting  in 2010, decided to sell its server last week in order to raise money for Reporters Without Borders and a digital rights group called the 5th of July Foundation. WikiLeaks had openly tried to discourage the sale, saying the server did host some Iraq war documents but was never a primary server that held any important secrets. Bahnhof wiped any data from it and was selling it as a historical piece.

The sneaky teen, whom his father described as “crazy about conspiracy theory,” initially bid $10,200 for the server, a Dell Poweredge R410 worth around $4,000, on Sept. 7.

He bid seven more times as the auction came to an end, according to Wired. The server was “a conversation piece in a bar in one of Bahhof’s Stockholm data centers.” The server will now be offered to the second highest bidder at $32,900, and we’re betting that teen will probably have his Internet privileges revoked for a long while.

H/T Wired | Photo via Miguel Angel

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*First Published: Sep 14, 2013, 1:45 pm CDT