There will be times when our content creators, especially those that are deceased, have no say over what digital files will end up at the Woodson Research Center. Due to the nature of digital files, future donors may not want to sort through what files should or should not be donated. All of this is to say that sometimes we get media that contain files that are of a very personal nature, have no research value, and could be seen as an invasion of privacy.
When that happens, and we can’t offer it back to the deceased owner, we destroy the media. Erasing the files from the media is not enough. The content can still live in the slack space until it is covered up with new content. Obviously, we will not re-use media, so destruction is the only answer.
We did just that recently with these two thumb drives. We soaked them in water and then smashed them with a hammer. The soaking phase can be skipped next time, but the smashing phase was definitely a winner.