In absolutely wild scenes, the Australian Federal Police has launched an investigation at the Bureau of Meteorology over allegations that two employees were secretly using the department’s insanely powerful computers to mine Bitcoin.

AFP officers descended on the Bureau’s Melbourne offices in Collins Street last Wednesday (February 28th) and quickly pulled two workers from the IT department aside for questioning. Officers also ushered the remainder of the department into a waiting room while the investigations were taking place.

It’s alleged that the two employees in question were using the BoM’s powerful computers – usually used for complex forecasting models and weather tracking – to mine for the cryptocurrency: A process I do not understand and patently refuse to learn about.

That said, the machines were allegedly being used to solve increasingly complex mathematical equations, the completion of which rewards the user tasking the machine with a portion of Bitcoin; which, in my head, means someone parked a flickering Compaq Presario in front of the blackboard from Good Will Hunting, and once it dings a teen in a Guy Fawkes mask and Achievement Hunter hoodie tapes a bag of coins to the monitor.

One of the employees questioned by the AFP has since gone on leave, but no charges have been laid at this stage.

The mining of cryptocurrency itself is not illegal by any means, however the usage of Bureau computers and servers to mine for Bitcoin could well constitute an illegal and improper use of Government resources, hence the police raid. Employees using Bureau facilities to mine for cryptocurrency would be doing so either to utilise the giant computing power of the department, or to dodge the mammoth electricity bills mining the stuff yields.

Stealing from work objectively owns, but maybe just limit that to a box of pens or a bog roll next time, mates.

Source: ABC News
Image: Getty Images / Chesnot