Fancy a bit of a feel-good story for Friday afternoon? The UK Government’s Department for International Development has decided to ship a thousand laptops that it doesn’t use any more to Africa. It’s all being done through charity Computer Aid, who we’ve covered before.
The laptops, previously in use by civil servants, aren’t OLPCs or any other low-cost, low-spec machines – they’re proper full-on laptops. They’re going to organizations like the Prof. Iya Abubakar Community Resource Center in Nigeria, which helps local people start their own businesses.
Rumours that each laptop is chock-full of confidential documents and databases are so far unsubstantiated.
It would be an understatement to say that I wasn’t a big fan of Which?’s suggestion that you safeguard your personal data by hitting it with a big hammer, and it turns out that Computer Aid agrees. Computer Aid is a charity which refurbishes old and unwanted computer equipment for the third world.
Instead, the charity wants you to opt for safe, environmentally-friendly alternatives when disposing of IT equipment. They also recommend a data erasing program over total destruction, though it’s the paid-for Blancco.
Of course, what they really want you to do is give the old equipment to them, promising that any data you leave will be wiped clean before it’s reused. A much better solution than a claw hammer, I’m sure you’ll agree.