PreOwned machine privacy - Was: Acclaim Entertainment Indy (with data, emails, etc) on eBay

Toby Thain toby at
Tue Mar 28 18:27:38 CDT 2017

On 2017-03-28 6:51 PM, TeoZ via cctalk wrote:
> How do you feel about reading dead presidents personal letters? At some
> point personal information ends up being historic information.

I am not a lawyer, but it almost seems like something that actual law 
should cover.


> If there is money (or more money) to be made associating a Computer to a
> company or specific somewhat famous people then sellers will play this
> angle for all it is worth. Anything done on company machines is not
> private to begin with. What exactly are we going to learn other then
> people asking for vacation days, so and so is a shitty boss, the company
> probably used some pirated software, and early artwork or code for games
> might have been pretty shitty.

"Nothing to hide" arguments don't justify making this public wholesale 
(or depriving anyone of privacy).

> I get computers all the time with hard drive intact full of company data
> (some defunct, others not) and peoples personal files, music, videos,
> and photos. I don't bother looking at any of it, only backing up hard to
> find drivers or software keys then wiping the drive. If I did come
> across a user that was famous (or infamous) I would probably preserve it
> (remove the drive and store it somewhere) while going about my hobby
> interest with the machine.

Perhaps what you should do, is contact them, ask if they want the data, 
and if they say no - or you can't reach them - wipe it. But it seems 
that even doing this much may expose you to liability, so ask your own 

> Everything we do today is digital, sooner or later there will be no
> written records at all. In the distant future historians will want to
> know what we were doing in 2017 and they will have nothing to go by
> since all the websites will be long gone and all our files will have
> been erased or saved using backup methods nobody can make heads or tales
> of let alone find the programs that can read the files and computers
> that the programs can run on. So I think a small random fraction of
> users lives should be around to learn from. If for some reason we nuke

How about making this an opt-in scheme, not "my stuff fell into am 
unscrupulous stranger's hands and now it's all over the internet".

> ourselves into oblivion (or more likely just keep destroying the
> environment until we can no long function as a society) then maybe
> people down the road should look over out private files, posts, emails,
> blogs, etc. to see how people could allow it to happen. You won't be
> able to see government files because everything will be stamped Top

Your governments have been destroying their internal communications, or 
otherwise concealing them, for decades.


> Secret (or more likely deleted) including your own data they illegally
> obtained.
> -----Original Message----- From: JP Hindin via cctalk
> Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 5:36 PM
> To: General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts
> Subject: PreOwned machine privacy - Was: Acclaim Entertainment Indy
> (with data, emails, etc) on eBay
> This guy is on Reddit and has been posting lots of stuff from these
> machines and I can't help but feel a bit suspect about all of this. While
> they're old machines, the information is presumably no longer of any
> commercial value and the company no longer exists... I can't help but feel
> that this is an invasion of someone's privacy. The commercial content is
> one thing - although whether it's truly "abandoned" runs down into all of
> those arguments we see flare up in cctalk about once every two years, so
> let's not go there again...
> But... eMails? I dunno. I've been pulling a lot of data off a Cray J90 and
> I've had a lot of people ask me to release it to the public and I just
> can't bring myself to do so. I'm _pretty sure_ that it belonged to NASA,
> which might mean some/all of the information may even be Public Domain -
> but this has people's usernames, and lord knows what kind of effort they
> put into the work. (And that's ignoring how not-qualified I am to make the
> PD assertion)
> It just feels _wrong_ to me, personally.
> While I'm not specifically crapping on the guy selling this Indy - I'm
> kind of curious how others feel about this sort of thing as it's something
> I've been confronted with personally lately.
> Cheers;
>  - JP
> ---
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