New Jersey was prepared to auction off some old computers and laptops in a state-run auction to raise funds, a pretty common practice in our lean times. Idiotically though, the computers, which were used by the judiciary branch, the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Health and Senior Services, and the Office of Administrative Law, still contained sensitive confidential information on their hard drives.
All that revealing information was about to go to the highest bidder because no one bothered to properly wipe the drives.
It would've been a catastrophe. Files on abused children, people's tax returns, computer passwords, names, addresses, birth dates and other information on hundreds of foster children and abused children and Social Security numbers all would've went public. Heck, 46 out of the 58 hard drives examined had sensitive information inside it. How often does this happen? Why didn't they use the right tools to erase the hard drives? Well, apparently one agency had a device that magnetically erased computer drives but never used it because employees thought it was noisy. Oh dirty jerz. [NY Times]