It's bad enough when the police raids your house and confiscates your computer just because you shared some MP3s on a file sharing network. But how would you feel if you learned that the police wanted to keep your PC to make up for it's own sorry state of IT equipment? That's exactly what happened to a German file sharer recently.

German lawyer Chrstian Solmecke, who has been defending more than a thousand file sharers against lawsuits by local entertainment companies, explained on his blog this week that one of his clients got visited by the police after he shared music on a file sharing network. The police confiscated his computer, found 3500 MP3 files on his hard disk, and handed over his personal information to the music industry - a controversial but common practice that should end any day now.

But the police didn't just take a quick look at the content of his hard disk. It also examined the whole machine in detail and found it to be faster and better equipped than anything at its disposal. From the police report:

"The computer is equipped with a Pentium D processor from Intel. This is a dual core processor with a maximum speed of 2 * 3000 MHz, which makes it 250 percent faster that the computers used in our office."

Police offers testing the machine seemed to be quite fascinated by it:

"The machine is relatively quiet and doesn't heat up significantly even after using it for several hours (to erase data)."

So there you have it: A fast, quiet machine, and all the unnecessary data on its hard drives has already been deleted. Why not just use it for police work, for example to hunt down other file sharers?

"The external hard disk would be great to secure forensic evidence in cases of Internet crime."

Solmecke thinks that the case is tragic because of two things: It's tragic for the file sharer who doesn't get his computer back, but it's also tragic because it shows how bad the IT equipment of the police is. The machine with its 250 percent faster than the police allows dual core processor was bought more than two years ago at a German discount chain.

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