Intimate photographs of a prominent Australian Olympian having sex with his wife were stolen by staff at an inner-Sydney computer shop after the star brought his machine in for repair.
Shockingly, the practice is not illegal, with information technology experts revealing Australian laws offer no protection from the unauthorized copying of photographs and data from any computer.
The (Sydney) Sunday Telegraph said it had seen the stolen images, which clearly depict the household-name star and his wife in numerous sexual acts, but chose not to name the Olympian or publish the photos for privacy reasons.
Other celebrities, as well as members of the general public, were also caught in the scam, which involves employees at the computer store targeting potential victims who bring their computers in for repair.
With the encouragement of the store’s owner, staff scan machines for intimate material and upload photos and videos to a shared drive, according to a source who provided the Telegraph with evidence of the practice.
The store’s owner, when confronted this week, demanded to know how the newspaper had uncovered the allegations. He denied targeting sexual images.
"If people choose to put photos and personal information on their computers that’s their decision," he said.
According to Section 308H of the Crimes Act 1900, it is not a criminal offense to "access data which is not protected or restricted by an access control system," or password.
IT experts said many security systems provided no protection from theft by repairers or technicians.
AusCERT, an emergency computer response team that provides computer incident prevention, said computer owners should sit with any computer technician who is working on a machine.
Users are advised to copy sensitive material to a disc or back-up drive, and then delete it from the computer with specific deletion software.
A Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy spokesman urged computer owners to erase their hard drive before parting with old computers and laptops.