Kathleen Wynne, Tim Hudak, Dalton McGuinty, and Peter Faist

We’ve been told a number of fibs about the erasure of hard drives. This related to the cancellation of power plants and the related eMails that conveniently disappeared.

This matters, as Kathleen Wynne is charged by Tim Hudak of being aware of the erasure and culpable therein. This is apparently false.

Hudak uses the fact that the erasure was done using an ID that had erasure power for longer than needed. In fact the RCMP have determined that all the erasures occurred on two specific dates, before Kathleen Wynne was installed as Premier. Hudak should know this. His website continues to say Wynne was involved. This appears to be patently false.

Martin Regg Cohn, writing in the Toronto Star, agrees with this assessment.

Here you will find that the wiping occurred a few days before Wynne was sworn in.

So, the first set of fibs, told by Mr. Hudak, is that Wynne was involved. She was, according to the RCMP, definitely not involved.

Now for the fibs told by pundits and pseudo-techies. I won’t dig up the quotes here, but I’ve read in the papers that ‘hard disk erasure invariably leaves footprints’. This is incorrect.

Here you will find these words: The sanitization process involves each bit of data on a hard-disk being overwritten by an arbitrary value between 3 – 30 times. Clearly if I do this for an entire disk, there’s nothing left to trace back to anything.

That’s fib number one: erasure leaves footprints. Now for fib number two: the erasure was done cleverly. It was not.

Apparently, all the hard drives in question were found in storage afterward, because they had all been replaced; the computers they were in became inoperable. The staffers said they couldn’t log into their computers after Faist left and called IT staff, who said it was clear that system files had been deleted, police allege. In February, Ontario Provincial Police seized hard drives from government computers at ReCall, a data storage facility in Mississauga, Ont.

If I were willing to have 24 computers become inoperable, that would not be a subtle erasure. There are better, less obvious, ways to accomplish this. In fact, deleting the eMails (entire folders would work) and then doing a ‘erase the erased space‘ run, would have left no trace of the deleted files. (I note that, had Rob Ford’s acquaintances known how to do this, the infamous ‘crack’ video could not have been recovered.)

I am aware of this sort of program (Heidi Eraser) because, on one occasion, I had to make very sure a hard drive could not be ‘recovered’ for its erased files. It is not a fast process; every unallocated cluster, including cluster tips, are re-written several times with various bit patterns. Apparently, after that, even an electron microscope cannot guess what any bit was before the erasure.

So, now for the persons of interest. Will Peter Faist go to jail? Will Tim Hudak face a libel suit? Will Dalton McGuinty continue to look worse and worse? And finally, will Kathleen Wynne be effectively tarred by Hudak’s brush, even if it’s not fair or correct?

You probably thought those were the dumb questions. Nope; here they are:

Is Martin Regg Cohn correct in his assessment, that Hudak will gain seats now with slander that holds up for a couple of months, whereas a lawsuit would take two years to get to court?

Is this fair?

Does it matter? Torontonians elected Rob Ford and may well re-elect him. Dalton McGuinty left leadership after cancelling two gas plants to save five seats. Kathleen Wynne gave Scarborough a totally inappropriate subway, apparently to save one seat. Dalton’s five seats cost roughly a billion dollars; we’ll all burn much more than that over the Scarborough subway’s lifetime.

Again, does it matter? Will we allow our politicians to get away with this nonsense? Will we reward Tim Hudak for his apparent slander?

Dumb questions, eh?


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