Western Digital HD Ships With Super Secret Asian Lady Porn!

A reader wrote in to tell us that the Western Digital hard drive he recently bought new from Best Buy had hidden dirty pics buried on it. He was running a program to retrieve some accidentally deleted images when he discovered the secret files. Read his story below. [Update: our tipster has written back in to clarify that the HD was not necessarily "brand new."]

Imagine my dismay when, while playing around with folders on my external hard drive (Western Digital 160GB), I deleted all of my personal pictures. Pictures of myself, my friends, my cats, parties and vacations all deleted in one fell swoop. It is times like these when it’s good to have a friend that downloads all of Lifehacker’s suggested applications. This friend turned me onto a little program called PhotoRescue (http://www.datarescue.com/photorescue/v3/) for Mac, which I used and it worked in restoring nearly everything on my hard drive, including videos.

Though, perhaps this program worked too well.

Upon examining the cornucopia of recovered pictures and videos I stumbled upon a few gems that were not my own. Unfamiliar Asian faces accompanied my pictures of the Philadelphia Flyers playoff game and concerts past. Puzzled, I examined these first few pictures. The list started with a few anime pictures. I must add, I have not once watched an anime movie or even viewed an anime site on my computer — ever. Scrolling down the list I came across some pictures that perplexed me even more. My best guess at the next few pictures was what seemed like some type of Asian CD artwork, an American Express picture, and a picture of Asian Norton Anti-Virus?

And then I got to the good stuff – naked Asian ladies.

I wish I could say that the pictures on the hard drive were mine; however, I am positive they are not. Believe me, I would be the first to admit if they were.

My question now is, how did these pictures get there? No one else had access to the hard drive and I bought it brand new from Best Buy. Was Western Digital selling refurbished hard drives as new? Were the people assembling these hard drives testing them by loading some porn onto them to test them out? That’s where The Consumerist comes in.

Have you heard any similar cases as mine or do you have any insight into my mysterious HD of porn?

We’re as curious as you are.

Comments

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  1. zentex says:

    retail rental strikes again?

  2. wring says:

    just be grateful there’s no scatporn in there :P

  3. fostina1 says:

    naa, just a secret external hdd lottery. you won. congratulations.

  4. Finally, Best Buy providing the customer with something to earn repeat business.

  5. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    She looks like she’s 12, are you sure you want to post that stuff anywhere? There are witch-hunts going on, you know.

  6. Prions says:

    LoL must be an Open Box. At least it was wiped before it was resold…just not good enough.

  7. Crymson_77 says:

    @Prions: If it was sold as new, though, then BB broke the law…

  8. 12-Inch Idongivafuck Sandwich says:

    @Prions: Not according to OP:

    “No one else had access to the hard drive and I bought it brand new from Best Buy.”

  9. crabbyman6 says:

    I’d bet its a return that Best Buy or Western Digital formatted and resold. A plain format doesn’t actually get rid of the data on your HDD so I bet this is what happened when the guy before you returned it for whatever reason. Now I need to try this with all new HDDs I buy.

    *stalks off to Best Buy to buy three Western Digital HDDs*

  10. Opie says:

    Hmmm. Two girls, one hard drive?

  11. Bladefist says:

    @Opie: haha

    If this happened to me, the post would read, “Western Digital: Best company ever?”

  12. vgerik1234 says:

    Problem found… you bought something NEW from BEST BUY Nothing is ever new there…

  13. Opie says:

    @12-Inch Idongivafuck Sandwich:

    However, Best Buy has been known in the past to re-shrink wrap returned product and sell it as new. How would the OP know?

  14. @Prions: It’s doubtful that this happened in the factory. I’m in agreement that it probably was purchased and returned. If the original purchaser was very careful about repacking it and then lied to the customer service rep, they might have taken it as unused. At worst, it could have been a reconditioned model.

    Was it shrink wrapped? They generally don’t/can’t do that in the store.

  15. zentex says:

    @Jaysyn: not that I would know…BUT…you must be new to asian porn. They ALL look like they are 12 ;-)

  16. mike says:

    I hate to ask a stupid question but what does OP stand for? I’ve only seen it recently on the consumerist.

  17. Alexander says:

    Some people are just too spoiled. I’ve had to work hard for years to build my asian porn collection. Some people just buy a hard drive and WHAM! Free porn. Say, can I have the sku of this product please?

  18. mike says:

    @Juice Box Hero:

    Was it shrink wrapped? They generally don’t/can’t do that in the store.

    Oh yeah they can. The Circuit City I used to work for had a shrink-wrap machine to wrap opened merchandise.

  19. plural_of_moose says:

    @linus: Usually means Original Poster, the person who wrote the letter to Consumerist

  20. mike says:

    @plural_of_moose: Thanks…been bugging me the past few days.

  21. Ninja Tree says:

    Wow your lucky your girlfriend/maybe wife didn’t see that.

  22. katylostherart says:

    awesome.

  23. BSAKat says:

    @EaGle1337:
    Pssh, my wife would have said, “Are those new? Haven’t seen them before.”

  24. Dave-Farquhar says:

    I worked at Best Buy in the 1994-1995 timeframe. There was more than one occasion where a manager would look at returns, sort out anything that could be passed off as new, then hand a pile to me and tell me to take it in back and shrinkwrap it so it could be sold as new, rather than as an open-box return return at a discount.

    So this story doesn’t surprise me in the least.

    I know my shrinkwrap jobs weren’t as neat as factory originals, but some employees were better at it than others. If you see several boxes on the shelf and the wrap is a lot sloppier on one of them (hint: look at the edges and the stress relief holes), you may want to avoid it, as that would be a sign of it being re-wrapped.

  25. mariospants says:

    You sure someone wasn’t using your computer when you weren’t looking? Check the dates on those files because if “Asian faces accompanied my pictures” indicates that either they were in similar directories or had similar saved dates…

  26. Ninja Tree says:

    @BSAKat: lucky you i have a feeling it wouldn’t be the same for me >_<

  27. HFC says:

    Nude does not equal Porn. Maybe some actual porn is blurred or not shown, but pictures of naked women smiling at a camera isn’t porn.

  28. katylostherart says:

    @HFC: actually what’s given as example up there is considered softcore porn.

    playboy and penthouse are just naked women smiling at a camera, those are also softcore porn.

  29. nlongtin says:

    A long time ago in a suburb far, far away, I worked at a CompUSA that would re-shrink wrap things all the time.

    Usually a customer just wanted to inspect an item closer or made an accidental purchase of something and didn’t realize it until it was opened.

    I personally never re-shrunk anything that I knew was used but I could conceive of it happening. At the time every CompUSA store had a small warehouse with shrink wrapping equipment.

  30. CowboyRob says:

    This is totally the story I’m going to have ready for my wife when I need it.

  31. AgentTuttle says:

    I wonder how long before (in this post 911 world) someone like this guy gets busted for kiddie porn and he has to prove it’s not his.

  32. hartleys says:

    Off topic: but I freaking love Card Captor Sakura.
    Naked Japanese women? Only slightly.

  33. drjayphd says:

    This song should be the official soundtrack to this post yes?

  34. MonkeyMonk says:

    Are you sure the HD wasn’t just storing your browser’s cache file?

  35. battra92 says:

    @Bladefist: Yeah, get me in on that Card Captor Sakura action …

    or not. ;)

    Seriously, it looks like a return or something but depending on the person this might have been pretty humorous.

    I’m almost afraid to scan the 40GB hard drive I pulled out of a tag sale computer this weekend.

  36. sean77 says:

    This is what is known in the biz as “value-added” :)

  37. backbroken says:

    @AgentTuttle: Probably 2 or 3 years ago.

  38. backbroken says:

    Is there a ‘hard’ drive pun in here somewhere? Could have sworn there would be.

  39. firestarsolo says:

    /r/ rapidshare of the drive plox

  40. MMcNasby says:

    @EaGle1337: I know the OP and his girlfriend didn’t mind. Thank god she’s cool about porn (@HFC: it’s considered soft core). I can only imagine how much funnier this situation would be if she was some sort of crazy woman like Denise Richards. Apparently she wasn’t too hot about Charlie looking at young Asian girls… pft.

  41. Ninja Tree says:

    @MMcNasby: i see.

  42. HFC says:

    @katylostherart:
    @MMcNasby:
    From the dictionary:
    Pornography – obscene writings, drawings, photographs, or the like, esp. those having little or no artistic merit.
    Obscene – offensive to morality or decency; indecent; depraved.

    Legaly, obscenity has a three part test.
    “The basic guidelines for the trier of fact must be:
    (a) whether “the average person, applying contemporary community standards” would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, Kois v. Wisconsin, supra, at 230, quoting Roth v. United States, supra, at 489;
    (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and
    (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”

    The photos shown above, much like Playboy, are not obscene and are not pornography. The term “soft core” usually refers to images or video of simulated sex, rather than actual sex. These images, much like Playboy, do not depict sex of any kind and are not “soft core.”

  43. DHT says:

    The OP should run a good virus/spyware/rootkit scanner on all the machines where this drive was ever connected. I know he was using a Mac, but perhaps he hooked this external drive up to a Windows box at some point. It’s possible he was a zombie fileserver at some point.

  44. satoru says:

    I suppose there are two conceivable scenarios where this would happen:

    1) Re-shrink wrapped product at Best Buy sold as new. Technically illegal, but not an uncommon practice in retail stores.

    2) A refurb hard drive from WD was put into an external hard drive and sold as new. This is possible scenario, since they are creating a new product, and thus isn’t a ‘refurbished’ technically. This might be why the hard drive manufacturers are really getting into the external drive market, as it makes for a good dumping ground for refurbished merchandise but packaged as new. This is mostly theoretical, not sure how prevalent this is. There’s a small problem with this theory in that you would have to pool refurbished hard drives sent to your local facilities, back to China for manufacture into external ones. Not sure if the economics of this make sense, since shipping TO China is actually very expensive.

  45. audiochick says:

    I have three of these same hard drives. Two I bought for school stuff and the last one I had to buy when my home computer crashed and I needed something to back up all of my files on before I performed a full system restore. I can see how someone who had a similar system problem and was forced to buy a hard drive to back up files might try to return it afterward. I think they are handy to have around, but others might see them as a waste and just use them once and bring it back to the store…

  46. he just saved you 39.95 a month

  47. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    I call shenanigans. Shenanigans of a closet anime fan kind.

    “The list started with a few anime pictures. I must add, I have not once watched an anime movie or even viewed an anime site on my computer – ever”

    Then why didn’t you call it japanimation like everyone else?

    It’s cool that you like Sailor Moon, bro. It’s cool.

  48. drjayphd says:

    @mandiejackson: Wait, people still pay for porn on the Internet? How… quaint.

  49. uchari says:

    damn…this is the BEST EXCUSE for my wife if she found out those “photos” in my external drive…

  50. katylostherart says:

    @HFC: wtf is up with consumerist today? it keeps having login issues and not posting comments. so let’s see if this comes up twice.

    the classical definition of porn is “writings or drawings of a prostitute”. the general accepted definition of porn is this:

    “S1507 uses as the definition of “pornography” (which has no legal definition) the definition provided in USC Title 18, Section 2256 which defines “sexually explicit conduct” as actual or simulated:

    (i) sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex; (ii) bestiality; (iii) masturbation; (iv) sadistic or masochistic abuse; or (v) lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of any person.”

    that’s from the free speech coalition. most people generally accept porn as something intended to cause sexual arousal. naked women smiling at the camera ARE softcore porn in this context. they ARE softcore porn in the context of playboy and penthouse. playboy and penthouse are not available for sale to minors because they contain explicit “non-artistic” nudity.

    hardcore porn is generally accepted to mean showing penetration of an orifice. military bases do not allow pornography with penetration to be shown, most prisons do not show it. some states do not allow anal or gay pornography. some statse do not allow words suggesting fetishes. osbcenity is a subjective term.

    every time the us gets uppity about sex and the government tries to stamp us out we laugh because some jackass always stretches the limits and redefines obscenity. to get a look at absurdity up close, research individual state laws on indecency and sex crimes. in some states public urination is a sex crime, in other states, you’re allowed to simulate rape of a minor as long as it’s “artistic” content (see dakota fanning).

    i work for a porn magazine. i know what the minimum definition of porn is and it has to do more with context than content. fashion mag nude? fine. playboy nude? porn. really freaking simple.

    the legal definition of obscenity has nothing to do with the dictionary definition of pornography. playboy, penthouse, and THOSE pictures up there in the example ARE softcore porn.

  51. highmodulus says:

    Meh, that’s terrible (that mine came blank).

    Lesson as always, only chumps shop at Best Buy (or Sears). Seriously, stop going their if you don’t want to get ripped off, lied to, or cheated.

    Or all three at the same time.

  52. temporaryerror says:

    I don’t watch anime but I still know that it is called anime and not japanimation (which is apparently quite offensive to the anime fan kidz)

  53. temporaryerror says:

    er, that last one was aimed at Applekid

  54. CaptainConsumer says:

    One wonders if this came from Best Buy how in God’s name the pr0n escaped the Geek Squadders.

    I’ll bet they are upset with themselves today

  55. killdashnine says:

    I think what is most disturbing about this is the possibility that there was illegal material (eg. underage girls) on the hard drive.

    For example if he wasn’t savvy enough to recover the files himself. Brings the computer to a vendor to have the files recovered. Illegal content found – who’d believe he was innocent.

  56. TVarmy says:

    Perhaps the drive was RMA? But then shouldn’t it say refurbished?

  57. ARPRINCE says:

    I hated that 160 GB so I returned it to get a 500GB HD. I’m glad your enjoying the pictures I placed on the disk. ;)

  58. battra92 says:

    @Applekid: I think it’s not so much anime he just doesn’t want us to connect the dots that he’s a 4channer.

  59. framitz says:

    I seriously doubt that the drive was ‘new’ or ‘refurbished’. New hard drives ship after being servo written, which is equilivlent to a low level format, it is the same with refurbished. So the drives ship with no data at all other than possibly some manufacturer supplied utilities depending on the drive.

    The ONLY difference between new and refurbished when it comes to hard drives is that the refurbished drive has been sold, returned, tested for defects, then re-servoed to ensure it will format for the new purchaser.

    I strongly suspect that the drive had been purchased, possibly had files erased,then returned and re-sold as new which is a common practice in retail, especially at the big box stores.

  60. Angryrider says:

    Did you know that some hard drives are made in Thailand? The more you know.

  61. snoop-blog says:

    But will the secret Asian lady love you longtime?

  62. im not sure why, but, i love this story!

  63. arl84 says:

    Yeah, that’s way not cool. What if it was child porn, or something else that’s illegal?
    If there’s some way to prove that the pictures you uncovered really aren’t yours, then you should call a lawyer to see what your options are. I always knew those big electronics stores re-sold their returns as new, but I never thought it could have an impact like this.

    I’m gonna take the advice of one of the previous commenters and make sure I always check the shrinkwrap before I buy new storage devices.. or anything else for that matter, really.

  64. Deivion says:

    Maybe the Geek Squad’s stash of customer pr0n got leaked out or they just exchanged whatever hard drive they were using with a new one.

    At least you didn’t get something worst

  65. @Applekid: I wouldn’t know it by japanimation or anime… I would of just said Japanese cartoons haha. I must be sheltered.

  66. Consumer007 says:

    Umm no surprises here, as Best Buy is well known for copying customer porn from the hard drives that it gets its hands on…I’m sure it was one of their standard workbench holding drives resold after a “spring cleaning”…

  67. cloud-on-a-bike says:

    @Applekid: Mmm, you know, I actually thought the same thing when I read that. It’s like…the rest of the letter is so casual, especially when it comes to the actual PORN, but when he brings up the anime, he tries really hard to assure us that such filth has never crossed his hardrive…

    Also, most people would *not* recognize those Cardcaptor Sakura pictures as ‘anime’…mostly because they are manga images, which is a completely different medium. But this guy knew that Cardcaptor Sakura was also an anime.

    Oh god I am reading way too much into this, aren’t I? Either way, congrats on the cute photos…

  68. battra92 says:

    @Consumer007: It’s not just Best (Worst) Buy. It’s a standard practice. I know a guy who raids the dump every week for hard drives from trashed PCs and scans them for porn.

    DOD Wipe your hard drives, kids. There are some weirdos out there.

    FWIW, if I ever get a used hard drive I always DoD wipe it BEFORE I install it in a system. Not for privacy reasons but for virus checks and to test the drive’s reliability under a strain.

  69. Badthunder says:

    Personally, I think that all computers now come with pornography installed in hidden files- so that when the consumer (or voter, or complainant, or political adversary, etc.,)causes too much trouble, they can be blackmailed into keeping their mouths shut.

    Why do you think that 99% of all the shit going on out in the world happens without anyone objecting to it?

    Just a theory….

  70. phate says:

    any chance he is going to zip that up and rapidshare it ;)

  71. octajohnny says:

    I have no doubt that stores re-shrink wrap returns.

    Often times, I’ve picked up items and you can tell by the type of shrink wrap on it as we have a shrink wrapper at my office. The factory shrink wrap, is always a little bit loose, with the “crinkles” in the corner. Re-shrink wrapped items, you can tell because the shrink wrap is super-tight (due to the heating fan which melts the replacement wrap til it’s fully tight on the item). And factory shrink wrap usually has “fold overs” in the shrink wrap (like the way you fold up the leftover gift wrap on the edges when packaging presents).

    And of course, whenever I’ve returned something brand new to the store (especially places like Wal-mart – p.s. I know, I know, I got some video games as a gift from there however :-) ), they look at you like you are automatically a criminal and rip open the new item to make sure you didn’t pull some kind of swap-out on them. Once they find you haven’t, and begrudgingly issue you a refund, I’m sure they just don’t toss that item out, return it to the manufacturer as a defective item (else they would put a “defective” slip on it immediately), nor sell it as an open box item as a discount. I’m sure it just gets re-shrink wrapped and put right back on the shelf.

  72. justhdporn says:

    A lot of the porn stars were concerned about razor burn, but why else do people enjoy watching porn? So they can see everything! When your having sex, you would see razor burn on a girl, so might as well see it on porn. Now this hd porn will make it feel like your really there!