On Wed, 04 Mar 2009 20:41:21 +0000 Elwyn Davies
Dean Willis wrote:
On Mar 2, 2009, at 12:51 PM, Samuel Weiler wrote:
Also consider used laptops: I just picked up a used Dell Latitude for
about the same price as a netbook (and half the price of IETF
registration), and I'm delighted.
Given that sometimes the border goons use some aggressive data
recovery approaches, used laptops are somewhat interesting. Are you
SURE that some erased sector doesn't contain a vestigial image of
something embarassing? If it does, can you prove it wasn't you that
left it there?
Note that some of the "secure" facilities I've worked in dispose of
used drives by software erasing, beating them with a sledgehammer,
degaussing, baking in a ceramics kiln, degaussing again, and then
beating with a sledgehammer again. Worried about what might be
recoverable from those drives?
I suspect (but cannot be certain) that solid state disks are probably a
better bet if you want to erase your drive just with software. I like
my Eee PC 1000 with 40G of SSD. Light and quiet.
For most people, I believe the risk of having your laptop snatched and
aggressively interrogated is not significantly different from what it
has been for a while. Although the border goons don't have to give you
a reason they do have limited resources and unless they have reason to
suspect that they might get a positive result from spending large
amounts of time dismantling your drive they are unlikely to hit on you
at random, always provided you don't irritate them unnecessarily at the
time. OTOH if your employer or your good self has already come to the
notice of some US law enforcement entity already, then the chances of
having your laptop snatched may go up close to a certainty, which I
suspect is why Chris Dearlove has this problem. For the rest of us, it
remains a small risk along with the possibility of being mis-identified
or triggering some stupid profiling filter. A general level of paranoia
is probably justified, but I shan't be going over the top . Famous last
words? Of course, Your (personal) MMV.
Based on the address used in the message that kicked off this thread, the
individual that started this thread works for a company that has a
significantly greater reason for concern than an average traveller.
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