As far as methods to keep your digital information from falling into the wrong hands, stabbing your hard drive with a samurai sword is definitely a dramatic solution, if not necessarily a practical one. Nonetheless, it was the solution chosen by a man desperate to stop the FBI from seizing his computer as part of a child porn operation… not that it had much effect.
According to the official FBI report, when officials went to question Kamil Mezalka about an estimated 4,000 files of suspected underage pornography connected to his account on a file-sharing network, there was no answer at the door. Following what’s euphemistically called “a mechanical breach of the door,” officers discovered him in his underwear, apparently attempting to remove a two-handed samurai sword he had just plunged into his computer. “More commands were given for Mezalka to drop the samurai sword, all of which Mezalka ignored and refused to obey. Mezalka began to remove the samurai sword from the computer as the law enforcement officers advanced on him in order to secure him and eliminate any potential danger,” wrote the FBI agent in the official report of the event.
Unsurprisingly, Mezalka was quickly overpowered by officials and detained, agreeing to questioning after being offered clothing. He admitted to possession of images of girls aged 13-18, before being shown images from his hard drive – which had, impressively, survived its stabbing pretty much intact – that featured pornographic images of toddlers and invoking the right to counsel.
There are all manner of lessons to learn from this story, not least of which is the fact that the FBI apparently have no problem breaking into your house if they suspect that you really are home even when you don’t answer. More importantly, perhaps, is the lesson that hard drives are just like vampires, zombies or any other kind of undead monster in a horror movie: Just when you think they’re done, they’ll come back to life – even if you run a samurai sword right through the middle of it.