London taxi drivers have a reputation as being amongst the most opinionated and talkative in the world, and their grueling training and testing program ‘The Knowledge’ is equally well known. Now, it appears, the black cab driver has a new claim to fame: the place where more technology kit is lost than anywhere else on the planet.

Of course, it is not just technology that gets left behind in the UK capital. The Pointsec Global Taxi Survey also revealed that one gallant chap left his drunken girlfriend behind as a tip, and items ranging from £100,000 worth of diamonds in a bag through to false teeth (!) and wooden legs have also been left behind (how you wouldn’t notice you had left your false leg behind is, I must admit, beyond me.) But it was in the area of business equipment that this survey had its focus, and which proved to be highly interesting, unless you are a business traveler in a black cab that is.

Of the 2000 cabbies from 11 cities around the globe, London was far and away the place where you are most likely to leave your laptop, PDA, mobile phone or USB memory stick behind. Only Mumbai came close, and even then still lagged some way behind. To give you an idea of the scale of the problem, in the last six months there were 54,872 mobile phones, 4,718 PDAs, 3179 laptops and 923 memory sticks left behind in London taxis.

To put that into perspective, here’s the lost mobile phones league table in full:

  • Mumbai 32970
  • Sydney 6440
  • Washington DC 6102
  • Berlin 6100
  • Oslo 3640
  • Helsinki 3023
  • San Francisco 2,754
  • Frankfurt 1,647
  • Munich 1,485
  • Stockholm 1,192

As a Londoner myself, although I have now long since moved to pastures greener, I feel duty bound to mention that this does not make it the worse place to travel with your technical toys by taxi. Sure, statistically you stand the biggest chance of leaving them behind, but equally the best chance of getting them back. You see, the survey also revealed London cabbies to be the most honest. The global average chance of getting your mobile phone back if you leave it in a taxi is a fairly impressive 75%, which is much higher than I would have imagined. Get forgetful in London and that chance rises to an incredible 96%.

Best to hang on tightly to your device if you travel by taxi in San Francisco though, only 32% of passengers get to see their mobile phones again there.

About the Author

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

haha.. do you think england's reputation for beyond-your-own-limits drinking has something to do with that? ;)

I'm also Englandish, and I've never left anything behind in a taxi. But, I never use taxis; unless I've hit the drinks and can't remember how to get home :- and I don't usually take my laptop to the pub..

<hic> you could have a point, you are my best mate, time for a quick pint before the closing bell? </hic>