want another disaster catch W r i t i n g

want another disaster catch W r i t i n g

you are a low-level developer at SuperStore. the premiere storage company. you have recently taken over the job of maintaining the delete functionality of the file system that made SuperStore famous. SuperStore has the fastest, most responsive storage system on the planet. everyone uses it.

while you were working fixing a delete bug, you realized that when customers delete a file, only the metadata about the file is deleted. the data itself stays on disk until it is overwritten by later file creations. you have raised an issue about it and caught the attention of the company’s PR person. SuperStore recently had public relations disaster when a bug caused data to be lost. PR doesn’t want another disaster catch them off guard.

to assess the situation you are asked to outline the scope of the problem. (keep in mind that most of your developer colleagues understand that this is already an issue with most file systems, but PR doesn’t. there is also the issue that the general public doesn’t understand as well.)

your boss is skeptical that customers could even understand the problem and that any explanation would cause more panic than education. however, people have started discovering that deleted data can be recovered from harddrives bought from ebay that use SuperStore. of course, every other operating system has this problem as well. securely erasing the data by overwriting it will have an enormous performance impact.

you need to write a one-page memo to help start the ethical discussion. you need to:

  • identify the affected parties.
  • talk about the perspective of those parties.
  • discuss the consequences of allowing customers to enable secure delete.
  • identify two specific issues that arises from giving customers the option to fully erase data when deleting files.
  • be sure to include at least two references to support your ideas. a reference can be a blog, article, paper, anything the reinforce your idea. your team would be willing to consider your ideas more if you have something like “This Wired article points out …” than if you have something like “I asked my brother and he said …”. make sure to include a URL to the references in your memo.

also, at the bottom of your memo, please indicate whether or not you have previously taken the course: Phil. 134: Computers, Ethics, and Society.

suggested approach to writing

  1. search around for articles about data recovery, customer sophistication when configuring operating systems, data security, etc. bookmark a couple of articles you like.
  2. take a break! work on the next assignment. work on other classes. think about what you read and what your perspective is when you get bored.
  3. in a day or two come back, block off 45 mins to type up a few paragraphs (less than a page) with your thoughts and references.
  4. read over it to make sure it addresses what is in the rubric. make sure it makes sense.
  5. ask your mom/dad/relative/roommate (but not someone in class) if it makes sense.
  6. the next day read over it again for 15 mins and make any last minute fixes.
  7. submit it.

grading

category

points

# issues

2

references (external resource)

1

affected parties (stakeholders)

2

parties’ perspectives (intentions)

2

consequences

2

noted at the bottom if taken phil. 134: yes or no?

1

YOU WILL LOSE 2 POINTS IF YOU SAY THAT SECURE DELETE IS GOOD OR BAD. THIS IS TO START A DISCUSSION, NOT TO DECIDE.