It’s been twenty years since Dr. Simpson Garfunkel conducted the first study analyzing the extent to which personal information remained on second-hand hard drives. In the intervening decade, the study has been replicated many times by other universities and data recovery services. NAID itself has commissioned such studies twice; one several years ago in Australia and another almost two years ago in North America. The second NAID study was the largest ever conducted and incorporated solid state memory devices, including mobile phones.
Invariably such studies have resulted in the discovery of personal information on second-hand electronic devices.
Among the challenges faced by NAID and others in such investigations is credibility. It is no secret that the results of such studies have favored those having commissioned them. And, it is precisely because some could have a vested interest in the outcome that steps must be taken to assure the results are legitimate.
“From the beginning, NAID publicized the methodology employed to ensure an uncompromised study,” said NAID founder Bob Johnson. “Though this process adds a layer of complexity and expense, it was absolutely necessary.”
“Now that it is apparent such studies will be with us for a long time to come,” Johnson adds, “the i-SIGMA board of directors has decided to formally publish a set of principles by which NAID and others can establish the credibility of their processes and, therefore, their findings.”
The principles will be freely available as a guide to those wishing to demonstrate they are conducting a fair and unbiased study.