Monday, May 30, 2011

Am I Just Paranoid?

There's a Staples commercial about people being robbed and deciding they need to replace an old computer that the thieves didn't take. For some, the problem with this is that the people's priorities are kind of messed up. I find the commercial kind of funny, myself.

The thing that bugs me is the part at the end where they talk about how the nice people at staples transferred all the files from the old machine to the new one, for free! Wedding video? Check. Baby pictures? Our taxes? Check. In this age of identity theft, am I the only one who doesn't necessarily want to trust a Staples bench tech with all of my personal/financial information? Is it crazy of me to think that not every employee in such a big retail chain operates under the highest ethical and moral standards?

I am a person who really does believe that most people are good, but there isn't a chance in hell that I would just hand over an old computer to Staples or any other computer repair place without making sure there was nothing on it I didn't want to share. Of course, I am an IT guy, so that's easy for me to say because I can take care of these kinds of things myself. What about your average Joe, though? Am I just being paranoid, or should everybody think twice before being so trusting? What about you? Are you cool with trusting others with your computer stuff?

Never mind computers. Go ride yer bike!


Oldfool said...

I not only don't have that kind of trust when I have a hard drive go bad I disassemble it, salvage the magnets and subject those shiny disc to a powerful magnet several times and I don't have anything on them I wouldn't want my mother to see.
I also do not trust any corporation in the world to look out for my best interest. That is not paranoia that is reality.
Don't look at commercials they will frag you mind.

John Romeo Alpha said...

There's a shredding service that will shred your hard drive before your eyes and give you the pieces. I mix them with used kitty litter and dispose of them at dispersed random locations over time. No, you are not paranoid.

thomas said...

As soon as the rep said wedding video and photos I was shocked. TAXES? You've got to be out of your flippin mind if you're handing over that info to anyone for ease. My tax forms have my SSN, address, marital status, birthday, last year's AGI... might as well have my medical history while they're at it.

GreenComotion said...

You are NOT paranoid and you make a great point. I wouldn't entrust my data with any tech at an outlet.

When retired, my HDDs are dis-assembled, beat-up with a hammer (it is quite therapeutic to do this) and finally soaked in water for days on end, before getting recycled.

About 3-4 months ago, I heard a story on NPR, where they talked about stealing data from old HDD becoming a hot business in an African nation somewhere. I personally believe we (developed nations) should not be dumping our "electronic garbage" on poor developing nations, but I often am in the minority, shall we say?

Peace :)

PS. May be someone will come-up with a corn-based HDD. Didn't someone do that with CDs? :)

Steve A said...

I read on Rantwick that you might be able to use the magnets from old hard drives to make traffic signals change.

RANTWICK said...

Hey, thanks for the comments everybody! It is nice to be UNcrazy now and then.

When it comes to disposal, I prefer to use utilities to destroy the data, leaving the drive in re-usable condition.

There ARE utilities (like Boot N' Nuke) that truly ERASE drives. No un-delete with these suckers.

RANTWICK said...

Oh yeah, Steve: shut up.

Apertome said...

As a nerd myself, I don't trust other people with my computers. Even if there absolutely no sensitive data on the drives, I wouldn't let anyone else work on my machine. It's unconscionable. I get worked up just thinking about it.

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