July 17, 2008 When sensitive data is stored digitally, the trade-off is sometimes seen as extending the life-span of the record, while potentially losing the ability to detect alterations of the files. For example, errors that occur in electronic voting systems, (and there are oh so many of them), are near undetectable without a paper ballot record to check the results against. In order to bring both security and longevity to data storage, SanDisk has announced the SDTM WORM (Write Once Read Many) Card, a digital memory drive that preserves important data for up to 100 years, and prohibits alteration or deletion.
THE SD WORM is intended for storing files from police investigations, court testimony, electronic voting, cash registers, security cameras, black box flight recorders and other highly sensitive records. The cards are locked as soon as they are recorded, and can be read in any standard SD drive. 128-megabyte SD WORM cards are currently available, with the capacity expected to increase with time.
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Once the integrity of the data is ensured, the advantages of digital storage are clear. Ink runs, paper rots, photographs fade, and audio/visual tape recordings can become tangled. SD WORM cards offer unified, small-scale storage of a large variety of media files. SanDisk is teaming with industry leaders to create a new generation of media devices that can record directly onto the SD WORM, creating a simple, practical data protection and storage system. SanDisk is also encouraging third-party resellers of SD WORM cards to develop security enhancements, including password protection and encryption. SanDisk is currently developing TrustedFlash, which securely stores sensitive digital data and applications on digital media.
Of course, while the SD WORM itself might keep data in an immaculate condition for a century, the question of whether we will be able to read it remains. The file protection system rests on the assumption that we will continue to build SD card compatibility into our computer systems well into the future – not necessarily a safe bet.