DOD reverses its PC disposal plan

DOD reverses its PC disposal plan

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

DOD spokeswoman Susan Hansen said the new guidelines would 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 if there is a particular concern about data sensitivity.

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

'Dawn S. Onley

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