Data | Ethics | Governance

The Principled Data News Review

Sonos Getting Smashed in the Media over Privacy Fail!

The Mystery of Data Recovery

I recently had the task of trying to get some data off an old WD Password external hard disk – the USB port broke off.  No problem I thought – pull off the case and use a SATA-USB adaptor to plug it in to my laptop.  I was wrong!  WD have kindly included hardware encryption, with the decryption chip on the SATA-USB bridge.  I had long thrown the case away (don’t do this).  Still, no problem I thought: this is a common drive and I knew there was no password set, so surely a local data recovery expert could manage this problem.

Again … wrong.

So I contacted another company that says they are a partner organisation of WD.  Now, I suspect they can recover the data; however, to do this I need to: a) mail the disk to another state, and b) am expected to pay at least $700 if they can find data.

I have two basic problems with this: 1) the disk is in a different State in the hands of unknown parties, and 2) the price.

After much research online I think the recovery price isn’t so bad in the end.  But still, I have found the process of finding reliable information about data recovery strangely difficult.  I can usually find information about anything and everything online.  Yet when I sought to know more about data recovery I find a black hole.  Even though I have trawled quite a number of websites, I still don’t feel comfortable with the situation.

This industry appears woefully under-regulated.  And when it comes to handling the private (and likely, sensitive) data of organisations and individuals, I expect a clear process to determine who is reputable as well as a way to understand – at a high level – what is going on.

I can’t do anything about this situation – I just need to get the data!  But it has definitely got me thinking.  I suspect that when it comes to data governance/security/forensics/recovery the field is still a Wild West.  And that is not a good situation when everything runs on data.