Skip Navigation

Used Drives Found in Africa with U.S. Defense Data

Bookmark and Share

Last week media across Canada and the US, including major newspapers and PBS’s highly decorated Frontline news series, reported the findings of a team of University of British Columbia journalism students, who uncovered a hard drive containing sensitive U.S. defense information while filming a documentary in Ghana.   According to the reports, the B.C. students, who were studying how electronic waste is being exported to avoid proper processing, paid about $40 for the second-hand hard drive. 

Over the past 5 years, several studies by university students in Canada, the US, and the UK, resulted in the discovery of personal information on hard drives bought on the second hand market.  Two years ago an investigative report by the BBC discovered Nigerian e-scrap processors scanning discarded hard drives, looking for personal information that could be retrieved to use in committing ID fraud. 

PBS Frontline Segment

Additional Article