Dan W

Software Developer

David Cameron's G8 Mixtape

Jul 31, 2013

During the 2013 G8 Summit a few articles mentioned that gifts given by David Cameron to other leaders included a USB stick of music by new British artists. I couldn't find much more about it by searching the Internet.

So I made a Freedom of Information Request for the playlist. FOI requests are a bit like Google but powered by civil servants instead of algorithms.

Today I got the response. They gave me the answer as a spotify playlist:

I'd wondered how the licensing worked for a mixtape on a USB stick. Did they buy the tracks DRM free? Can you transfer the ownership of purchased digital music? What about sending it abroad? The songs were selected and put together by the BPI, which avoids these complications.

The G8 Summit happened a few days after the Guardian revealed that GCHQ had intercepted communications during previous G20 and G8 meetings. Setting up fake internet cafes with keyloggers. Recording phone calls. Hacking blackberries. Reading email.

After this news, what leader would be foolish enough to plug a USB stick from the UK into their computer? Surely there must be a stuxnet style surprise on there.

I of course asked (Q4) 'Were any non-music files included in the album?'. They said "No other files were included on the memory stick". Glad we've cleared that up then. Perhaps I should have asked more directly about malware though.

Surprisingly this FOI request has since been covered by the Guardian, Independent & NME, among others.