In an age of mass surveillance and sophisticated snooping conducted by espionage agencies such as the United States National Security Agency, Canadians are learning about the importance of hard drive destruction and paper shredding services.

According to a report broadcast by CBC Radio in March 2017, law enforcement agencies are underscoring the importance of paper shredding services and document destruction by hosting hard drive destruction events in various communities. One such event was organized by Calgary Police and held at the Cross Iron Mills shopping mall on a Saturday morning.

At the data privacy and security event, an information security firm was invited to demonstrate the hard drive destruction process. Neighbors were invited to bring along their old electronics and personal computing devices so that they could permanently erase all data contained therein. The Electronic Recycling Association of Calgary offered a workshop to residents who are interested in scrapping, donating or configuring old computers to serve a different purpose.

1. The Importance of Secure Data Disposal in Canada

To see Canadian police departments sponsoring hard drive destruction and paper shredding services is commendable. Such scenes do not play out in the United States, where law enforcement agencies tend to focus on electronic devices as part of investigations and prosecutions. There is also the unfortunate fact of mass government surveillance that is constantly perpetrated against Americans.

Calgary police officers support document destruction in an effort to curb the spread of identity theft and other forms of financial fraud. Criminals are known to scour garbage bins and dumpsters in search of discarded hard drives, smartphones and other devices that may contain personal information.

2. Digital Document Destruction

When it comes to deleting information stored in hard drives, various methods can be used but only a few are truly secure. Physical destruction of the storage device is the best method for information considered to be highly sensitive.

Secure data removal without the physical destruction of the storage media can be achieved by means of software utilities that overwrites disk sectors at least three times with random, nonsensical data. If a computer is going to be recycled, the entire hard drive can be wiped before being reformatted and encrypted; in this fashion, a Canadian family can keep an old desktop computer and transform it into a media player or as a machine that children can use to play games and get homework done. For additional insights, please visit Shred-it.

Destruction of digital documents is not limited to hard drives; if a smartphone or tablet contains extremely sensitive information, the same physical destruction approach should be taken; however, the entire device does not need to be destroyed. If a smartphone is going to be recycled for parts, technicians can locate the storage component for selective destruction.

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