Whatever happened does not pass the smell test. To paraphrase Marcellus from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” something appears rotten in the Secret Service.
My role as a deputy commissioner put me in countless meetings every time there was a major software upgrade, platform transition, device migration or any other major change in the technology that city employees used. It included everyone from rank-and-file police officers to the mayor himself.
Without getting into the nerdy details of IT data management, suffice to say that no major technology device transfer could possibly happen without there being not one but several levels of backed-up data and redundancy.
And keep in mind, in the public sector, particularly because of FOIL and FOIA laws, IT professionals are not the only ones involved in major technology overhaul decisions. In the city of New York, when one agency is upgrading tech from one device to another, lawyers — representatives from each agency’s Office of General Counsel — help ensure that all applicable data is being safely preserved. A lot of people have eyes on any major technology overhaul, especially one where data is in the mix.
If the deleted data was the result of some bizarro act of benign negligence, that data should be easy to recoup. In fact, I would argue that the bigger and far more nefarious outcome of the Tuesday deadline will be if the Secret Service says it was simply unable to reconstruct all or most of the missing data.
As nearly every IT professional knows, with the right resources, a good forensic IT team can gather just about any data that has been “deleted” — nothing is ever really gone for good. If, in fact the Secret Service indicates that the records are really gone, it could mean they were erased with intent, but we’ll have to wait for the outcome of the investigation to know.