[clug] Re: More (almost free) stuff. - 3.5" WD 200GB IDE - $10

steve jenkin sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au
Sun Sep 7 07:07:53 GMT 2008

Hal Ashburner wrote on 7/9/08 2:36 PM:

> The challenge:
> http://16systems.com/zero/index.html

While well-intentioned, if nobody undertakes or meets this challenge, it
won't tell us any more than "you can't recover zeroed-data for $500".

1. University Labs are excluded.
   Great brains, great equipment and the time to play...

2. Corporate Intelligence (Espionage?) firms are also excluded.
   And any firm that *can* actually do this would only demonstrate
   it privately - and then would charge $M's for its services.

3. If the spooks really can do this, we'll only know in 25-50 years.

Robert Morris (snr) casually mentioned at an AUUG conference (Sydney
Hilton) that it costs the NSA about $10M to 'do an intercept'. They are
good at breaking ciphers and cracking codes, and they understand the
economics of it. Even if that figure has come to $1M over the years,
they still wouldn't let their trade secrets become public.

I don't disagree with the experiment/challenge, but their method is
fundamentally flawed:

- failure to recover the data doesn't tell us anything new,

- the only useful outcome is if someone actually recovers data from the
drive (essentially for free) - and if 3 out 3 firms first contacted
demur, it's highly unlikely anyone will step up for the offered price.

If it was open to all comers and there was $50M up for grabs, I'd rate
their chances of getting result (-ve/+ve) as 'good' :-)

Steve Jenkin, Info Tech, Systems and Design Specialist.
0412 786 915 (+61 412 786 915)
PO Box 48, Kippax ACT 2615, AUSTRALIA

sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au http://members.tip.net.au/~sjenkin

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