Never trash READABLE data!

NEVER. I mean it.

Never trash READABLE data! /img/hoards-of-old-data.jpg

One of the countless, unexpected effects of the COVID lockdowns was and still is, says Wired a great increase of the amounts of highly sensitive data found in old, even really old computers. Like the case of a collector of vintage hardware buying this year a computer only sold in 1995 and 1996, and discovering it was still full of “all sorts of personal files, like tax records and letters to mom”.

For both funny and worrying details do read the full piece. Here, I only need to motivate you with a quote from a security , but the gist is all in this declaration from a security consultant they interviewed:

“If you don’t properly dispose of your old hardware, you effectively pass the buck to someone else to protect your data. And once that happens, it’s done. It’s a problem you can’t retrospectively fix.

So, any time you must really trash any electronic device with any data stored inside, make sure you really, really erased all those data first. For your convenience, here are three recent resources on how to do just that: