[svlug] Hard drive destruction

Michael Robinson plug_1 at robinson-west.com
Sat Sep 12 14:23:10 PDT 2015

On Fri, 2015-09-11 at 10:32 -0600, Akkana Peck wrote:
> Reading this thread, I have to say I'm glad my server is hosted at a
> company run by Luke and Sarah, and not one run by Michael Robinson.
> Not that I generally keep anything secret on the web/mail server
> anyway, and I know perfectly well that you can't count on
> unencrypted email staying private; but it would feel creepy to have
> my personal email running through a company that made it a regular
> practice to snoop on their customers' data. Why would I want to pay
> someone to spy on me if I don't have to? (Is Michael just trolling?)
> The reason I destroy old hard drives from home machines is that
> they might contain passwords, financial information and perhaps
> personal information. Nothing to do with any illegal activity.
> I have in the past opened up hard drives and done things like bending
> and scratching the platters using hammers, vice-grips and 
> screwdrivers.
> That can be interesting (it's always fun to take things apart the
> first few times) but it's very time consuming and probably not cost
> effective for a business. The barbecue method sounds a lot easier.
>         ...Akkana
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I never said anything about customers and I'm not talking about private
computers either.  I'm talking about employees whose systems you
maintain as a system administrator.  I see my point that taking privacy
too far has been lost on people.  We live in a larger society where one
person's addiction that is of a harmful nature will affect the society
and or company negatively.  If some employees addiction is something
that a reasonable person would consider bothersome to another employee
and especially if another employee complains about it, having the web
cache evidence of what the offensive employee was doing on company
property on company time could be crucial to addressing the problem.
I'm not talking about what people do privately on their own equipment
on their own time.  Data security isn't just about privacy, especially
in a business setting.  An Internet addicted employee can bring harm to
themselves and others.  Addictive behaviors on company property can
harm the company's reputation or perhaps even land the company in
court.  And in the interest of privacy, any good sysadmin is going to
try to address an actual problem quietly involving as few people as

     -- Michael Robinson

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