Erasing your computer

As we head into the holiday season, there are a lot of ads for new computers at reasonable prices.  However, before selling or discarding an old computer, or throwing away a CD or DVD, you will want to make sure that you’ve copied all of the files you need. You’ve probably also attempted to delete your personal files so that other people aren’t able to access them.  Unless you have taken the proper steps to make sure the hard drive, CD, or DVD is properly erased, people may still be able to resurrect those files.

Published by, is a security tip for Effectively Erasing Files, by Mindi McDowell and Matt Lytle, provides this tip in a way that is easy to understand.  Visit this site to read the full article, which includes information about where deleted files go, what the risks are for not erasing them completely, information about reformatting and advice for ensuring that all your information is completely erased.

City of Seattle launches digital privacy initiative

City of Seattle announces privacy initiative

City of Seattle announces privacy initiative

Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmembers Bruce Harrell and Mike O’Brien today announced a citywide privacy initiative, aimed at providing greater transparency into the City’s data collection and use practices. Watch the video here.

“In the course of doing business with the public, the City is collecting and exchanging increasing amounts of data,” said Murray. “As we continue to make innovative technology investments, we need to implement practices that support public trust in the security and privacy of personal information.”

“This initiative is a chance to demonstrate to the people of Seattle that their local government is managing their personal information responsibly,” said O’Brien. “It is yet another chance for Seattle to lead the nation on an important issue in people’s daily lives—we are not aware of any other cities proactively working to protect people’s privacy like this initiative sets out to do.”

“We will go through a robust process to completely re-examine how the City collects, use, retain, and delete data to ensure the privacy of our residents,” said Harrell, chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee. “The city has never approached it in this kind of methodical and transparent manner across all City departments and engaging with privacy leaders in Seattle.”

The collection of data occurs in every day City processes, such as paying a utility bill, renewing a pet license, browsing a web page, or signing up for an email list. Police, fire and emergency services collect different forms of video and electronic data. The increasing complexity of emerging technologies, business systems and laws mean the City must take appropriate steps to facilitate the collection, use, and disposal of data in a manner that balances the needs of the City to conduct its business with individual privacy, in a manner that builds public trust.

As part of this initiative, the City has convened a group of stakeholders from across City departments including Police, Fire, City Light, Transportation, Information Technology, Law, and Seattle Public Library. This team will create a set of principles that govern how the City approaches privacy-impacting decisions and a privacy statement that communicates the City’s privacy practices to the public. In addition, the group will propose an approach to educating City departments on privacy practices and assess compliance.

“One of the challenges police departments face is how to maintain public trust while embracing new technologies to support officers in the field and using data to more effectively deploy resources to address crime and disorder issues,” said Seattle Police Department Chief Operating Officer Mike Wagers. “Protecting the privacy of citizens, while deploying useful technologies and being more data-driven as a department, is of paramount importance and is why this initiative is so critical.”

To advise the City’s efforts, Murray announced the creation of a Privacy Advisory Committee. Comprised of privacy researchers, practitioners, and community representatives, this group of experts will provide guidance on leading privacy practices and potential public impact of proposed solutions.

The City expects to deliver a completed privacy statement and plan for implementation to Council by June 2015.

RecTech Teen Media covers community

Murals, housing redevelopment, bridges and boxing were a few of the subjects that teens made media about in the Associated Recreation Council’s RecTech intensive digital media internship program at five Seattle Community Centers.

The Yesler Terrace Youth Media Project hosted 19 teens this summer, using documentary film and digital photography to capture and characterize the redevelopment of the Yesler Terrace neighborhood and it impacts on the community (See their photos).

Youth Media Institute at Delridge immersed 10 teens in documentary film making – using Adobe Premiere, Photoshop and Apple’s Final Cut Pro – the centerpiece capturing the Delridge Mural Project by teens from the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (See more).

South Park’s Cultivating Our Stories: Digital Storytelling project also tapped the imagination of 10 teens in producing short videos about various aspects of their community, with several focusing on the closure and re-opening of the South Park bridge. The SeaMar boxing gym was also the subject of one video (See their videos).

At Rainier Community Center, the Creative Arts & Digital Media Academy (CADMA) partnered with Southeast Effective Development (SEED) to present a range of digital media skills to 10 teens including photojournalism, documentary filmmaking and radio broadcasting. They split into two teams: one partnered with to survey Rainier Valley residents about what they want in media and the other group worked with OneVibe to create a blog and media about OneVibe’s musical instruments for Africa program.

Finally, Rainier Beach’s Media Arts & Culture project took 10 teens on a seven-week journey creating visual and digital arts presentations and music production, mixing in field trips to EMP and the UW to add a practical perspective to their artistic pursuits. A goal of each project was to bring youth voices into their local community and share the work.

The RecTech technology learning centers are funded in part by the City of Seattle Department of Information Technology and these programs also received support from the Human Services Department, Department of Neighborhoods, Seattle Youth Employment Program, and Seattle Parks and Recreation, Office of Arts & Culture and the Adobe Youth Voices program.

City of Seattle hires Chief Information Security Officer

security The City of Seattle announced the hire of Bryant Bradbury as the citywide Chief Information Security Officer on Wednesday, October 22.

Serving as the acting Chief Information Security Officer for the past year, Bradbury will continue as the information security director for the City of Seattle in this official appointment.

Bradbury joined the Office of Information Security in March 2013 as the Deputy Chief Information Security Officer. His work history in technology spans over 25 years, including private sector service in the insurance, commercial software, airline and air cargo industries and in public service starting with the City’s Fleets & Facilities Department in 2007.

The Office of Information Security manages creation and enforcement of policy, threat and vulnerability management, monitoring, incident response, and security-related compliance activities for the city. The Chief Information Security Officer position was created to oversee the citywide strategic efforts to properly protect the City’s information technology systems and the data associated with it. In 2015 the Office of Information Security will be staffed with four full-time employees and an annual budget of $1.7 million. Bradbury will earn $127,000 annually.


City partners with University of Washington on privacy research

Working in partnership with the City of Seattle, University of Washington’s Dr. Jan Whittington was recently announced as the recipient of a grant to examine the relationships that exist between open data, privacy and digital equity and what harm municipal data could lead to with consumers or the marketplace.

This funding, $50,000, was awarded through a request for proposal from the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology on the exploration of implications of government release of large datasets. This research is funded by Microsoft, with a $25,000 match from the City of Seattle.

This joint effort will enable the City to be more transparent by making more of its data available through its open data platform,, while implementing the processes necessary to protect the privacy of data subjects. It will also result in a set of model policies and practices that can be leveraged by other municipalities seeking to enhance the privacy and utility of their open data programs.

Congratulations Derrick Hall on 20 years with the Department of Information Technology

Hall_DerrickIn October, Derrick Hall celebrated 20 years working with the City of Seattle, Department of Information Technology and Community Technology program.  Technology Matching Fund grantees and recipients of the free cable broadband program know him as our office’s expert on all things techie.

For those who haven’t had a chance to work with Derrick, he is a Public IT Specialist in the Community Technology group who manages our Public KIOSK computers, provides technology consulting to our Technology Matching Fund, Nonprofit Cable Broadband recipients, and other nonprofit organizations we support.  In other words, he gives advice to community partners on best use of the technology they’re currently using and best practices on tech they plan to use.

Derrick is a solo act – he is the sole staff member who provides all these community services.  Based on what he hears at conventions and networking with peers, he may very well be the only IT staffer in the country who provides all this type of community support.  That distinction hasn’t gone unnoticed by his peers at DoIT.  Derrick received praise and a public shout out at the recent “Byte of DoIT” all-staff event.

Derrick says he’s very proud of his City family.  He actually started working for the City, when he was a wee lad of 17 years old, and actually took a pay cut from his job at Safeway, but saw the opportunity for growth, community service and career advancement. He got all that and formed friendships that will be forever lasting.  Congrats!

Windows 7 commands for every administrator

In Windows 7, lots of administrative features are harder to get than in Windows XP. Administrators of small organizations may have to work on a computer locally, not using a manage service type software. Here are some command prompt programs you need to know. Please note that some of these commands need to be run in administrators mode.

  •  ipconfig: will show you the IP address of the Can verify if that machine can see the internet/network, sometimes browsers have cache pages.
  • sfc: Will scan your core files for changes that may have been changed by malware.
  • nslookup: Can verify if DNS services are working and if that severer is pointing to the right place
  • sigverif: Will scan the signature files of your system and check to see if they are digitally signed. Most vendors will digitally sign the software for their hardware, but may not sign their drivers.
  • driverquery: Will list all the drivers installed on your machine.
  •  tasklist: will show you the task that are running on your computer just like task manager.

You can always add the switch /? At the end of any of the above commands to see what other options you can select, i.e., “sfc /?”.

If your computer responds with too much data to be able to read through, you can always run the program with a > FILE.txt at the end, i.e., “driverquery > drivers.txt” and open the drivers.txt file in notepad.