On Mar 30, 17:58, Seth J. Morabito wrote:
Subject: Old Data
I have a moral and ethical question to throw open for debate. No,
I'm not looking for flames, just informed opinions.
I'm not sure how "informed" my opinion is but you're welcome to it
I'm curious to know how people deal with old data
found on systems
they rescue/restore. The question was put in my mind recently by
my acquisition of a MicroVAX 3800, with three intact disks overflowing
with data that had apparently never been erased.
In Britain (and the rest of Europe) the Data Protection Act is supposed to
cover anything that could be considered "personal data", ie relating to a
person or persons, and data that can identify a person is particularly
Nonetheless, leaks occur.
If it had been user data, personal mail, and so forth,
I would have
simply deleted it, no questions asked.
I'd do the same; in fact, I have done.
But unfortunately, it's _not_ that simple.
I've since simply re-initialized the drives: My
thinking was, "This
data is not mine, I have no right to keep it. It may be sensitive,
even though I don't understand it.
A few years ago, I was given a big Fujitsu SMD drive and controller. I only
really wanted the drive, so I hooked it up to a different controller (different
format). I was very surprised to find it was not only readable, but full of a
certain very well known insurance company's head office records, including a
lot of stuff that I'm sure was commercially sensitive. I just reformatted the
I've since had exactly the situation you describe with three RZ23s. One had
VMS, the other two had an assortment of what looked like someone's office
files. I wanted two for a unix box, so I reformatted them fairly promptly
without even bothering to see what the files really were. I kept the VMS one
for a while in case it was useful, but when I finally got my MicroVax, it had
all the drive space I needed, so eventually the last one got wiped too.
I've had this happen so often that I've almost given up looking to see what's
on drives; it's hardly ever useful or interesting. I used to keep useful
software, but I wouldn't read personal files. Somehow theft (copyrighted
software) doesn't seem quite as morally objectionable as peeping.
Pete Peter Turnbull
Dept. of Computer Science
University of York