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jTrust us. Apple's policy re: private data on dead hard drives.
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Wed, 19 Apr 2006 18:43:05 -0400

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Dr. Brad J. Cox" <bradjcox () gmail com>
Date: April 19, 2006 5:06:38 PM EDT
To: dave () farber net
Subject: jTrust us. Apple's policy re: private data on dead hard drives.

I just had a 250gb disk go completely belly up on my iMac G5 (two months out of warranty). Disk Warrior reported bad sectors and refused to recover it I concluded I needed to replace it. Comparison shopping showed special deals as low as $85. But having no appetite for mesing around at the time, I took what I thought was the gold-plated option. Ordered a DIY replacement
drive from Apple for nearly $300. And the real tale starts there....

It turns out, Apple's policy on DIY disk drives is that they insist that the old drive be returned within 10 days, else an additional charge of almost $200 will be charged. The same charge applies if the drive is physically damaged or opened, thus thwarting my first thought of how to protect my private data... a sledgehammer.

Apple's basis for imposing such a "charge", given that the original and replacement drives belong to me and not Apple, is one matter of possible interest to some readers.

More interesting to me is Apple's apparent lack of interest in secure disposal of private data on dead drives, and the lack of easy options for computer users with a hard drive failure.

Apple's support line wasn't much help. The obvious solution, cancelling the extra charge, wasn't accepted, nor was returning the disk smashed (although I still question the legality of both of these "requirements"). I gather they want them for quality control/ diagnosis purposes; apparently quite a lot because its worth $200 worth of MY money to them

As for the data, the best they could offer is "Trust us, we're reputable", having just admitted they simply pass dead drives along to Maxtor ("trust them, they're reputable"). And how does reputable relate to the concern that platters from dead drives won't just end up in a dumpster somewhere.

So.... I imagine a honking big magnet is about the only option I left, short of the "trust us" approach. Maybe an old bulk tape eraser. Any other suggestions out there?

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