Free advice …

This weblog is not only about lockpicking, it is also about my life.

I have an interesting hobby. And my work, developing cryptographically
secure non-tapable phones, is a little out of the ordinary too. Both
bring interesting people on my path, and I am very aware of it.

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by some people from a small but
turbulent country on the mediterranean coast. They had some nice locks
and lock technology to show and happened to be in the Amsterdam area
for a couple of days. Curious as I am I decided to meet them. Nice and
friendly people, and the lock and lock technology they showed was
indeed very interesting and entertaining.

All was nice and well until this morning … the phone rings:

I politely answer the phone. It is the person I met a couple of weeks
ago. In a friendly voice he tells me he is back home and a package is
on it’s way with some more locks. His second question caught me off
guard: They where looking for someone who could ‘open doors throughout
Europe’ for them. It was obvious they did not meant a 24-hour opening
service kind of job. The payment for these jobs would be good and make
me happy. I told him I am already happy and in no way interested in
being recruited for some foreign organisation to do their dirty work.
When I tried to end the call he persistently asked if I did not knew
other talented people that could help them, or give him other leads
that might be of interest. I had to disappoint him (and his
organisation, whoever they are). And I am still puzzled as to why he
made me this offer over the phone….

 $$$ cash $$$ Free $$$


Many people do not realize the consequences of doing business with
these type of organisations. First they will be friendly and give you
all you can dream of. But at the end of the day you become an
instrument, a pawn in a game where you do not know the rules and can
be sacrificed for a higher goal without the blink of an eye. Not to
mention the famous line: “If things go wrong we don’t know you”.

I did send an e-mail to the Dutch Toool list about this incident, as a
warning. These people are obviously looking for ‘talent’ and pawns for
their game. I would hate to see hobby lockpickers getting in trouble
because of this. I hope you consider this posting as free advice ….


P.S.: I know having a weblog called ‘blackbag’ (slang for illegal
break-in) might be asking for things like this to happen. I hope this
posting makes clear that I am not interested….

8 Responses to “Free advice …”

  1. seanrox says:

    Good job Barry. I think you handled that really well.

    I’m pretty sure that the lockpicking sportgroups around the globe that read your blog or know you and your workshops will also be very happy how you handled what could have been a bad situation.

    Side note, that’s a pretty nifty briefcase photo. That could be used to make an interesting laptop case.

    Yeeow. Glad you chose this route, and thanks for the advice.

  3. DWizzy says:

    Funny. You’d think they’d get more into the person they’re trying to recruit. It could be just me but by only knowing of you I was sure enough such an offer wouldn’t appeal to you.

  4. Josh Nekrep says:

    Great post Barry! Interesting situation, but I’m glad to hear you sent ’em packing, not to mention likely turned off every talented lock picker in Europe to them. 😉 Great work!


  5. Babak Javadi says:

    It is also a possibility that it was some sort of sting operation and the call was being recorded.

    It is unlikely, but with the way you are describing this guy, I would not be suprised. Perhaps someone is trying to discredit the good name of TOOOL? 😉

  6. martin says:

    hi barry sounds very suspicious,have to be carefull,glad your clued up,have fun

  7. Buck-O says:

    Wow, Barry. Thats quite the story. Just reading it made the hair ont eh back of my neck stand up a little bit.
    Being someone who is interested in lockpick sport, and security in general, stories like these always make me leary of putting myself, or my abilities out there for public knowledge. Just for the simple fact that you never know whos watching.
    Knowing that your jobs “bring interesting people on my path”, as you say, especially those that work for government agencies, have you ever had that sickening feeling in your gut about someone, or have you ever been concerned for your own safty, or that of your familys?
    Im not so sure i could deal with that sort of stress, or even the thought of that kind of stress from day to day.
    I gues it just goes to show how mass exposure, even in a niche segment like lockpicking, can ahve both its possitive and negative aspects. I have to give you credit for putting your face out there as often, and as frequently as you do.

  8. Barry says:

    Hi Buck-O and others: The only defence is to be open to the rest of the world. This is the only way make it hard for them to play their little ‘games’ and get a grip on you. And we are used to dealing with them. We had a Dutch police informant who was outed in the video ‘Hippies from Hell’ (download available: It seems ages ago that video was made.