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Phones

3 Mobile in 'XXX-Series' shame

3 Mobile just sent me, as an upgrade, a refurbished Nokia E65 -- containing all the previous owner's data, including a close-up image of a naked, erect penis

3 Mobile may have just lost a customer. The company sent me a refurbished Nokia E65 -- as an upgrade for my existing handset -- containing all the previous owner's data. Most disturbingly, the phone contained a close-up, high-resolution image of a naked, erect penis.

Needless to say, I'm shocked that 3 Mobile would send me pornography. Just imagine the outcome if my 10-year-old sister had asked to check out her big brother's funky new Wi-Fi-enabled phone? What would I have told her? That 3 is run by a bunch of imbeciles, probably -- I'd always assumed that the company had a bevy of safeguards to prevent such a monumental (ahem) cock-up.


Not the happiest few minutes I've had with Photoshop. Note the sock in the top left corner, a piece of leg at the bottom, and the otherwise pristine Nokia E65

But there's a bigger issue here: privacy and security. With the information on the handset, it was all too easy to build a profile of the previous owner and his friends, family and associates. Seriously, it wouldn't take a great deal of work for someone nastier than me to steal this guy's identity or wreak havoc with his interpersonal relationships with his friends, family and associates.

Within minutes I had determined his full name, home phone number, who he banks with, his place of employment, his local pub, the places he DJs at the weekend and the name and phone number of his partner. Not to mention said picture. Some people I couldn't track down if I tried, but I'm guessing anyone with the surname 'Backshot' or 'Super-Hung' is probably using a pseudonym.

I'd love to know how this happened. Did I accidentally subscribe to the XXX-Series add-on? Is this 3's way of punishing me for threatening to join O2 a few weeks ago? How many of its 3.5 million customers has this happened to? I'm assuming I can't be the only one.

I've demanded answers, but 3 has yet to give me any, other than to say they'll exchange the phone. Assuming its staff take a break from their busy schedule of re-distributing indecent pictures and sending people's private data all over the country, I'll update the story.

In the meantime -- I wouldn't recommend anyone go anywhere near a refurbished mobile phone. Least of all one from 3.