DOD will once again give away discarded PCs

DOD will once again give away discarded PCs

By Dawn S. Onley

GCN Staff


JUNE 11—The Defense Department last week changed its procedures for disposing of old computers whose hard drives store unclassified information, rescinding a 5-month-old policy that required destroying them for security reasons.

The new guidance lets discarded computers go to schools and nonprofit organizations after the hard drives have been overwritten. The directive reverses a policy established in January that called for destruction of unclassified hard drives leaving the department's custody.

Susan Hansen, a DOD spokeswoman, said the new guidelines are sufficient to keep sensitive data from leaving along with the machines.

'We've looked at the pluses and minuses of ensuring we have adequate security provisions in place,' Hansen said. 'With overwriting procedures, we can ensure it.'

Destruction of drives will still be allowed where there is particular concern about the sensitivity of stored data.

In fiscal 2000, DOD donated more than 74,000 pieces of computer equipment originally worth $97 million to school organizations. In fiscal 1999, more than 97,000 excess DOD computers valued at $181 million went to schools and nonprofit groups, Defense officials said.

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