eraser - independent evaluation


New Member

As part of a research study I will be using identifiable data which have to be erased after study completion and I was thinking of using eraser software for this. My research study is currently going through ethical and legal review committees, but the query raised by the ethics committee was why we use eraser software. The ethics committee is worried that the eraser software has not been independently evaluated and thus potentially will not erase the data properly..... Has there ever been an independent evaluation of the eraser software to confirm that it does what it is supposed to do ?
Thanks for any help.

I am not aware of any such independent evaluation, or indeed of any recent evaluation of other erasing software. If forum members are aware of such evaluations, please could they post links on this forum.

Eraser is open source software, so the details of how it works are public knowledge, and can readily be downloaded and assessed by anyone with the relevant technical knowledge. That fact in itself provides a measure of reassurance to users.

The normal method of user testing is to used file recovery programs to attempt to recover files that have been erased. In common I believe with others, I can report that I have never recovered a file that has been explicitly erased. However, it is now well documented that erasing free space does not necessarily remove all traces of previously deleted files, as such traces may persist in space not marked as free.

As regards the ethics of using Eraser, I would say that the same ethical considerations apply to using Eraser as to using a paper shredder (which I do almost every day). More extensive discussion than that belongs in the companion forum on Data Forensics.