Little hardware problem, big hardware solution

This IT support pilot fish works as a contractor at a Defense Department facility, where the data-security requirements are stringent.

"We occasionally have to destroy BlackBerries that are too old to be reused," fish says. "But there isn't a very good wiping process for these things -- at least as far as the DoD is concerned with their precious secrets."

So standard operating procedure is to disassemble each decommissioned BlackBerry and break the important components individually.

That's what fish expects to do when a user drops off an old device for disposal. But when fish tries to crack the case, he finds that the tiny screw heads are stripped.

Fortunately, a road crew is tearing up the pavement outside fish's office, and he has a good rapport with construction guys.

"Can I get you to crush this? Thanks!" Crunch!

Result: BlackBerry unit destroyed. Approved destruction method: Backhoe shovel head plus pavement. No extra charge for embedding gravel into the unit.

"I degaussed it too, just to be safe," says fish.

"Then I brought it to my boss and told him that his refurbished BlackBerry was just delivered."

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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