That Time I Donated my Outdated Technology

March 7, 2017

Kelly Martínez, NAID Director of Marketing & Communications

I was being responsible and cleaning out our electronics bin. Do you have one of those in the garage? The place where random cords, Ethernet cables, and broken PS2s go until they are needed (ahem – yeah right). I remember coming across lots of outdated goodies like my husband’s old palm pilot and even his as-seen-on-TV aluminum, wallet organizer he never used (I don’t know why it was in there). I kept too many random things, threw out a few, and donated the rest of our outdated technology to Goodwill. Are you bristling yet? It gets better.

We moved. I cleaned out the bin again.

Several months later I went to look up some photos of my oldest child from when she was baby. We had saved these on an external hard-drive for safekeeping since our computer was getting old, which was a good call since it crashed shortly thereafter. The hard-drive wasn’t in the desk. But we’d moved, so that made sense. Where else, could it be? I went through a few straggler boxes in the closet with no luck. Then I thought of the electronics bin?! This is where we put random things, so I searched it. No drive. I searched everywhere. I re-looked everywhere. I was so sad. Maybe it would show up in a random, mismarked, unpacked box in the garage.

I went to the store to purchase a new external hard-drive in the interim. I bought the same kind as before, because we had been happy with it. But when I saw the hard-drive, my stomach dropped. Do you know what that brand of hard-drive looks like? Almost exactly like the as-seen-on-TV aluminum wallet…. I am now positive I had donated my firstborn’s baby photos to Goodwill.

Guess what? We didn’t just store photos on our external hard-drive either… *gulp.


I never recovered my terabyte hard-drive, or my precious data back. People accidentally donate stuff all the time.

You’re probably still cringing that I donated a palm pilot without second thought, aren’t you?  I mindfully donated it, because the technology was so outdated. If it had been a computer, I would have wiped it, but that didn’t seem important in this instance. And you know better than I that even my precautions wouldn’t have mattered.

How many individuals are just as clueless as I was before I joined NAID?


So, where do we go from here?

Well, I started by saving low-res images of my kid off of email and Facebook to piece-meal together a new make-shift photo library. I also have identity theft recovery insurance just in case.

NAID is busy educating the public to be a little wiser. This includes the recent formation of the Industry Action Committee, which focuses on the industry, commercial and government decision makers and policy writers to demonstrate the value of NAID Certification. Later this month NAID will be releasing the results of the largest second hand electronic device study, which should bring awareness to the need for proper data destruction in this area. And NAID is also releasing a textbook this month, Information Disposition: A Practical Guide to the Secure, Compliant Disposal of Records, Media and IT Assets, by Bob Johnson (currently available for pre-order). The publication will serve as the CSDS training manual, a university-level textbook, and most importantly a tool for educating clients on the nature and importance of proper data destruction. NAID will work to continue to make headway in every way possible, so that more people make less stupid mistakes like me.

Kelly Martínez
Learning More Every Day