One common policy with people with digital cameras in nudist venues is to require them to delete all the images on the memory card (physically confiscating the equipment begs for lawsuits). The error is the assumption that once the images are deleted, they are gone.
That perv that was caught shooting pics in a nudist venue smiles to himself as he is required to do a mass-delete before being booted out the door. He goes home, fires up the puter, and in a couple of minutes has every one of those images to do with as he sees fit. Security and privacy? They're bad jokes.
This is what nudists need to know about digital images.
Digital photography has brought about the proverbial "sea change" in imaging. Nudists have adopted it enthusiastically, if for no other reason than that the days of taking that revealing roll of film to the local processor for developing, with the associated risk of prudists involving law enforcement, are now history.
And of course it's much easier to get rid of images that might push the envelope. Just go through the "Delete" sequence and they are gone forever from the hard drive, USB flash drive or camera memory card.
Izzatso? Digital Security 101 is in session.
Here's the cold, hard truth about deleting digital files that maybe one in a thousand users knows: no standard deletion routine removes them from the drive or card. The operation just deletes the file table reference to them and opens their locations on the drive to reuse. The actual file data remains untouched. Unless the system overwrites the data with new information, it can be recovered.
On my machine are two very effective file recovery programs. I bought them when a virus on a relative's machine forced him to use the system recovery function to get it running again. Because it restores the machine to its as-shipped condition, it started with a fresh desktop -- minus a folder that had several hundred irreplaceable photos of his kids.
After everything else failed, I bought the programs as a last-ditch effort. By slaving his hard drive on my machine and using one of the programs, I recovered all but four of the photos intact. Two of the others were partially corrupted, but cropping made them usable. The scan also found a number of interesting Web images that he thought he had deleted months earlier.
The same software also found images on my camera's memory card from a shoot of weeks ago, after I ran the camera's file delete routine.
The point: just because the images don't show up by the standard methods does not mean that they are gone.
USB flash drives are especially nasty in terms of keeping data that one might not want preserved.
In research that has important findings for banks, businesses and security buffs everywhere, scientists have found that computer files stored on solid state drives are sometimes impossible to delete using traditional disk-erasure techniques.
Even when the next-generation storage devices show that files have been deleted, as much as 75 percent of the data contained in them may still reside on the flash-based drives, according to the research, which is being presented this week at the Usenix FAST 11 conference in California. In some cases, the SSDs, or sold-state drives, incorrectly indicate the files have been "securely erased" even though duplicate files remain in secondary locations.
The difficulty of reliably wiping SSDs stems from their radically different internal design. Traditional ATA and SCSI hard drives employ magnetizing materials to write contents to a physical location that's known as the LBA, or logical block address. SSDs, by contrast, use computer chips to store data digitally and employ an FTL, or flash translation layer, to manage the contents. When data is modified, the FTL frequently writes new files to a different location and updates its map to reflect the change.
In the process left-over data from the old file, which the authors refer to as digital remnants, remain.
<a href="http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/02/21/flash_drive_erasing_peril/" target="_blank">Flash drives dangerously hard to purge of sensitive data</a>
This is good information to know if one has decided to donate an older machine to an organization or charity. Even if the drive has been high-level reformatted, those files are still there. The recovery programs are available to the public, and there are geeks everywhere.
With hard drives, there are "shredder" programs that allow deletion of files or folders that includes total destruction of the file data by overwriting it. If one is paranoid, some of them can delete the data to Dept. of Defense standards.
As well, sensitive data should be encrypted using one of the readily available encryption programs. The saved data requires a passcode to access it. If the code is lost, the data is gone, period. Use a long enough passcode that it can't be guessed or brute-forced. Commit it to memory if possible, and in any case NEVER save it to the machine where it is used.
As for memory cards and flash drives, the safest approach when they are no longer needed is to destroy them physically. Given the low prices for new ones, donating them is meaningless, and it can be compromising.
Summary: digital imaging has made photography far simpler, but it can come back to bite the unwary folks in their arses. Know the security issues and deal with them.