Last year I acquired a huge batch of old computers and boxes full of spares. I've been going through them gradually and a few days ago I finally got down to four old IBM PC/AT machines which had been sitting in somebody's garage for years.
The damp had corroded some parts beyond redemption, but I salvaged a few spares and got one system up and running. All four systems had stickers on them indicating that they were once the property of H. M. Treasury in London.
Well, I got quite a surprise when I fired up one of the old 20MB hard disks and found a copy of WordStar complete with hundreds of confidential treasury letters and memos intact!
The most recent files are dated around 1988, which sounds about right for when the treasury would have decided to upgarde to new machines (tax-payers expense, of course).
I'm sure that data is all water-under-the-bridge now, but no doubt that at the time the machines were sold off somebody in finance could have made good use of it had they stumbled upon it. Oh, and there are one or two letters indicating the views of quite high-up officials about the appointment of certain individuals to various treasury positions. (I'd tell you more, but then I'd have to shoot you...
Wouldn't you have thought that the government would have wiped these disks before letting them out of the building?
Let's hope that their data security has improved a little since the late 1980s.