Data issues play into donation of old Ward County computers

Published: Oct. 2, 2019 at 12:02 AM CDT
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An effort by leaders in Ward County to put old computers to good use is shedding light on a 21st century problem protecting people's personal data.

The county's IT department wants to donate a dozen old computers to area non-profits. The computers are at least four years old, and would go to groups such as the Minot Area Homeless Coalition and Men's Winter Refuge.

The issue isn't with the non-profits, but with the computers themselves.

The county State’s Attorney’s office showed concern over if they would be able to completely get rid of sensitive data on the hard drives.

“Any of our hard drives should be pulled out and drilled, destroyed, because you can never bleach them enough that some computer hacker can't find the ghost of what was on there,” said Todd Schwarz, Ward County Assistant State’s Attorney.

The County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the donation of the computers, pending approval by the State’s Attorney’s office.