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Digital tracks may help pinpoint Potter leaker
Published: 2007-07-18

A person who took pictures of what appears to be every page of the latest -- and final -- Harry Potter book may have left a number of clues behind for investigators, including the serial number of their digital camera.

The images, which first appeared online on Monday, appear to have fully intact metadata, according to a check of four images seen by SecurityFocus. The metadata indicates that the photographer took the pictures between 8:39 p.m. on Sunday and 12:13 a.m. Monday morning using a Canon Digital Rebel camera. In the Maker Notes field, the images have what appears to be a consistent serial number for the body of the camera.

The metadata that accompanies images and documents has occasionally revealed more than intended. In 2006, a photograph of a bot master that had been interviewed for a Washington Post story appeared to include the name of the Oklahoma town where the 21-year-old man lived.

On Monday, Scholastic, the U.S. publisher of the Harry Potter series, filed subpoenas with San Jose, Calif.-based Gaia Interactive and Web site, owned by News Corp., requesting information about the person or people that posted photos of what appeared to be every page of the seventh and final book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, a New York Times article stated.

The book, which will go on sale on Saturday, July 21 at 12:01 a.m., has already sold 1.3 million copies through and 1.2 million copies through Barnes & Noble through pre-orders, according to the latest data published by the retailers.

If you have tips or insights on this topic, please contact SecurityFocus.

Posted by: Robert Lemos
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