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Former Lockheed Skunkworks Engineer Auctioning a Prototype "Spy Rock" 119

Posted by timothy
from the for-that-price-I'd-expect-at-least-two-rocks dept.
ilikenwf writes "For a cool $10,000,000.00, the prototype of a surveillance rock full of spy gadgets could be yours! More importantly, server backups from the gentleman's time at Lockheed are included, being the real valuable in this auction, as it contains schematics and such. The seller seems to think that the current xBee radio products are actually based on his work with Lockheed. The proceeds will go towards legal action the seller is apparently taking against his former employer." This may be the most unusual eBay product description I've ever encountered, and one of the most interesting, too.
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Former Lockheed Skunkworks Engineer Auctioning a Prototype "Spy Rock"

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  • IP Rights (Score:3, Insightful)

    by muphin (842524) on Sunday August 25, 2013 @03:55AM (#44668131) Homepage
    even though this guy designed the hardware, wouldn't the documents and hardware be considered Intellectual Property of Lockheed?
    • by Sun (104778)

      Read the description. He wasn't a Lockhead emplyee. He held 10% shares of the contractor company that designed the product.

      Shachar

    • Re:IP Rights (Score:5, Informative)

      by Duncan J Murray (1678632) on Sunday August 25, 2013 @05:14AM (#44668297) Homepage

      "In 2002-2003, I was the Chief Technology Officer for a Boston-based hardware research and development firm, Advanced Wireless Automation (AWA)."

      "Based upon my equity ownership in the company and the fact that all AWA computing resources were conducted on my own personal equipment using my own datacenter and my Internet connection, it is well within my right to auction off the backups related to the now-defunct AWA."

      • None of which means it wasn't the intellectual property of Lockheed. That depends on the terms of the contract AWA had with Lockheed, not on who owned the company or who hosted the computing resources. (And, FWIW, the same goes for the 'right' to auction off said intellectual property.)

        • by tibman (623933)

          It's not intellectual property. He's auctioning actual source code and gerber files.

        • by SharpFang (651121)

          It would have been IP of Lockheed had Lockheed bought that product. Since Lockheed just took the files and proceeded to using them while stating they are no longer interested in the product they never obtained the IP.

          If I'm contracted to write a program and the person who contracted me decides to unilaterally dissolve the contract - stating they are no longer interested in whatever they contracted me for (and won't pay me for any work completed so far) - they definitely do not obtain IP to work completed so

    • by DragonTHC (208439)

      The project wasn't picked up by Lockheed. So no.

  • Tigers? (Score:5, Funny)

    by mmontour (2208) <mail@mmontour.net> on Sunday August 25, 2013 @04:00AM (#44668143)

    Does the rock also keep tigers away? Because if so, SOLD!

  • I.. what? What, is Slashdot the new weekly world news?
    • Also, offer made for 10.00 USD.
      • Re:What? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by lxs (131946) on Sunday August 25, 2013 @04:30AM (#44668191)

        Sounds about right for a second hand webcam in a Styrofoam rock.

        • From the auction:

          The pictures depicted from this auction show some of the early prototypes from the project; however, it should be noted that none of that hardware will be included in this auction as I had a non-intentionally set fire :) that transpired at my house in the storage area where my prototypes were, that destroyed most if not all of the prototype hardware from the initial project development with Lockheed. Those pictures were taken during the development process at one of Lockheed's SCIFs located in Northern Virgina, as is evidenced by the yellow caution tape you see on the floor there in the first few pictures. The last picture was one of the sample images generated from a RockCam installed across the street from one of the engineer's house.

          What this auctions contains is this:

          The remaining prototype hardware that I have in my possession, including:

          1) Microhard Spectra 910 900MHz serial line radio with power supply (this was a prototype 900MHz radio that I believe went on to become the current generation of ZigBee-based XBee radios;
          2) A collection of PC104-based enclosures and motherboards, with various interfacing such as serial ports, USB ports, etc;
          3) A Mobile Wireless Technologies RM1000g AVS vehicle transponder with WWAN and GPS tracking support;
          4) Novate wireless prototyping board;
          5) GNU X-Tools cross compilation software;

          and

          6) A CD filled with backup materials during several years of the company (the most valuable part of this auction obviously).

  • Version 2.0 (Score:5, Funny)

    by scsirob (246572) on Sunday August 25, 2013 @04:06AM (#44668161)

    Something tells me that version 2.0 of these skunk-work projects will show up at your doorstep if you show serious interest in this offer.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 25, 2013 @04:32AM (#44668201)

    Because a Rasberry Pi, slightly outdated cellphone, wireless router, digital TV tuner card or USB device, flash memory, styrofoam, and spraypaint aren't exactly that expensive as OTS component resources in regards to being able to roll your own. Outside of custom software and knowing how to put the hardware together, it should be possible for under $1000 easy.

    • an old 3g phone with android and no apps, but one app for spying is enough.

      There, $50 of hardware needed, nothing else.

    • Yes but will it be almost undetectedable by normal spectrum analysis? There was some serious radio technology in there. RTFA its worth it. This was a serious piece of equipment before the fire.
    • by SharpFang (651121)

      The guy described this working on spread spectrum below noise level. Not exactly wireless router or outdated phone type radio communication.
      The camera and rock part is the easy part of the project. Making the rock broadcast the images in a way undetectable to standard radio equipment is the hard part; it's not just you won't decode the transmission, the very presence of the RF transmission is about impossible to detect unless you know what to look for (precise algorithm of extracting the data which is well

  • I wonder if 'free shipping' also includes trans-Atlantic shipping? To eh.. say Russia, for example?

    • $10M for a Styrofoam rock with some electronics inside? I would hope there would be enough cushion for worldwide shipping... ;)
    • Re:Free shipping eh? (Score:4, Informative)

      by 21mhz (443080) on Sunday August 25, 2013 @05:29AM (#44668327) Journal

      They apparently delivered at least one of them to Russia free of charge already. Some years ago, there was a purportedly documental story on Russian TV where an employee of the British embassy was shown using a "spy rock" clandestinely in Moscow. The veracity of that was widely dismissed because of the ridiculousness of the idea. Some of these spy operations sound like gratuitous toying with cloak-and-dagger stuff.

      • by AHuxley (892839)
        Was RT story mentioned further down on http://cryptome.org/2013/07/rockcam-spy.htm [cryptome.org] ?
        Interesting notes about 'imagery data being relayed between the rocks, so that conventional signals intelligence methods would be unable to view the encrypted image/video streams." before the UK story.
    • MI6 tried that and it was discovered back in 2006
  • by janoc (699997) on Sunday August 25, 2013 @04:44AM (#44668217)

    It is a pity that the poster has never actually read the description of the auction, otherwise they would have found that:

    "The pictures depicted from this auction show some of the early prototypes from the project; however, it should be noted that none of that hardware will be included in this auction as I had a non-intentionally set fire :) that transpired at my house in the storage area where my prototypes were, that destroyed most if not all of the prototype hardware from the initial project development with Lockheed. Those pictures were taken during the development process at one of Lockheed's SCIFs located in Northern Virgina, as is evidenced by the yellow caution tape you see on the floor there in the first few pictures. The last picture was one of the sample images generated from a RockCam installed across the street from one of the engineer's house."

    and

    " 1) Microhard Spectra 910 900MHz serial line radio with power supply (this was a prototype 900MHz radio that I believe went on to become the current generation of ZigBee-based XBee radios; 2) A collection of PC104-based enclosures and motherboards, with various interfacing such as serial ports, USB ports, etc; 3) A Mobile Wireless Technologies RM1000g AVS vehicle transponder with WWAN and GPS tracking support; 4) Novate wireless prototyping board; 5) GNU X-Tools cross compilation software; and 6) A CD filled with backup materials during several years of the company (the most valuable part of this auction obviously)"

    So still some nice hw and docs, but certainly no "spy rocks" included. RTFA, guys!

    • Taking pictures in a SCIF?

      Ruh-Roh.

    • by gravis777 (123605)

      So... In the process of trying to raise money for legal fees against his former employer, he releases pictures taken on Lockheed property of Lockheed IP stuff, and some documents most likely protected via Lockheed IP and national security laws? So, he invites yet another lawsuit, breaks ebay Terms and Conditions, breaks national laws, and tries to become another Snowden.

      So either this is a huge hoax, or this guy is an idiot. At least try to flee the country first next time! Russia might give you temporary a

      • by mjwalshe (1680392)
        Yes did he not understand when he signed the Official secrets act (the equivalent in the USA) what he was doing?
      • Well....if it is Lockheed IP / property, then it means that Lockheed bought it, in which case he's entitled to his 10%. If it's not Lockheed's property / IP, then he's ok. Which one is it?
  • SkunkWorks? Don't they design aircraft? What in the world would an advanced airframe design company want with a rock with a camera in it? And for sure they wouldn't have to hire a sub to design it if they did...
    • Lockheed does a lot more than just aviation design, and it is also fairly typical for government contractors to sub out work to outside companies, especially if the top tier contractor doesn't have the internal expertise or can't pay the expertise enough to join Lockheed.

      • I agree. Lockheed Martin does a lot more than just aviation. But Lockheed Martin Aeronautics - SkunkWorks mission is advanced airframe design.
    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Lockheed had lots of fun with dish antennae projects in Sunnyvale, CA.... they are way into the aerospace industry, antenna work (huge for UK or smaller projects).
    • Have you even been on Lockheed's website? Yes, they have pictures -- no reading necessary.

  • by nukenerd (172703) on Sunday August 25, 2013 @04:56AM (#44668245)
    A bridge perhaps?
  • Actually (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    It's spelled Lockheed

  • This started the war in iRock

  • This may trigger a fad called something like "pet rocks".

    • At ten million a pop, it'd be luxury pet rocks. Stuff for people like Oprah. It would even fit in a $38,000 purse.
  • Did he already sell the Dogpoop Cam? I hear it was cancelled because they got tired of wiping prototypes off their shoes.

  • http://www.salespider.com/b-293488926/advanced-wireless-automation [salespider.com]

    See "Estimated annual revenue" -- $20K

    I guess $10M for this shiny rock would bolster the annual revenue a tad...

  • I suspect this is the starting material for a rock cam, I.E. a rock. Good luck with selling that.
  • For a cool $10,000,000.00, the prototype surveillance rock full of spy gadgets box could be yours! More importantly, home server backups from the gentleman's time at Lockheed are included, which was real valuable to this auction as that's where schematics and such are. The seller seemed to think that the current xBee radio box is actually based on his square design done at Lockeed. Proceeds go towards legal action; The seller is allegedly taking against his former employer's wishes....

    And you can keep your weed in there, man!

  • by Aviation Pete (252403) on Sunday August 25, 2013 @06:05AM (#44668409)
    I guess he wants the people who screwed him to buy in order to keep the contents of the CD secret. Then he probably wants to settle out of court.

    Will be interesting to see if there is really someone who buys before the auction ends. In effect, he/she will fund the legal campaign of his/her opponent ...

  • Perry says:

    I am auctioning this off for the stated price to fund a legal team in DC dig into my dismissal from the company and to determine where the AWA intellectual property went after the demise of AWA.

    And what is the interesting part of the auction? A backup CD full of AWA intellectual property. If someone sues him over selling that CD and infringing upon their IP, then he knows who currently owns the IP, and he can in discovery find out how they obtained it—providing the evidence needed to file his own lawsuit.

    It sounds like a bit of a gamble, though: What if, say, the customer lists and the patents went to different places? Then the owners of the former could sue him, but he woul

  • Sounds like it's higher than the value of the goods to me... if he wants outsiders to fund his legal action, he needs to offer a share of the spoils...
  • I'm thinking this guy is setting himself up for 50 years behind bars, or getting "disappeared", for pursuing this.
  • 10 minutes ago, a hover-over of the main picture yielded "583 people are viewing this per hour". 10 minutes later just now, it's up to 592.

    As more people wake up this number should go up.

  • This just seems to be a bigger and fancier version of the seismic sensors that looked like dog droppings and were used during the Vietnam war.
  • If this guy's minimum price is ten million dollars, won't he be on the hook for several hundred thousand in fees to ebay if it doesn't sell?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Nobody born and bred in the U.S of A. ends their correspondence with cheers.

    Just sayin'

    Cheers!

    • Nobody born and bred in the U.S of A. ends their correspondence with cheers.

      Lots of us do - and have for decades.

      I've used it in email practically since there's been email - and I was born and raised almost in the center of the "radio accent" heartland.

      It's short and often just the right tone for ending a written communication.

  • More importantly, server backups from the gentleman's time at Lockheed are included, being the real valuable in this auction

    I have a hard time imagining, that Lockheed has consented to release of server backups containing intellectual property they made or have an interest in.

    • by SharpFang (651121)

      Lockheed failed to pay = finalize the contract that would obligate the contractor to destroy these backups. What they consent or not consent to is moot, the guy was in a separate company, the company delivered a product and wasn't paid for it. That means Lockheed doesn't own any IP to that product (which apparently doesn't stop them from manufacturing it).

      • by mysidia (191772)

        the guy was in a separate company, the company delivered a product and wasn't paid for it.

        In other words, the IP belongs to the separate company, he was hired to do work for; Not Lockheed, and Not the guy.

        Failing to have a contract requiring he destroy the data doesn't give him a right to copy and distribute it though.

        So in theory there is the potential for serious consequences against both buyer and seller of the eBay auction; assuming that eBay doesn't pull the auction, and the DoD doesn't interrup

        • by Fjandr (66656)

          The company was liquidated, so there's nobody to sue him for misusing the IP from that company.

  • Several companies and government agencies have developed disguised sensors over the last 20 years. Not sure whats unique, or why the seller thinks his ideas and those of his company were stolen.

For God's sake, stop researching for a while and begin to think!

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