Secure Erase was being funded by the US National Security Agency but since the end of their support in 2008 Secure Erase is not being updated any more by its developers, the Center for Magnetic Recording Research.
Data can often be recovered with little or no effort from discarded or sold disk drives, if you are planing on getting rid of your computer make sure to overwrite the hard disk with a free data erasing utility such as Secure Erase. Although not actively in development, it is still a great piece of software and does an excellent job at stopping data recovery, according to the FAQ it has been approved for secure data erasing by the U.S. National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST).
Investigations at CMRR at UCSD have shown that a single pass secure erase at lower frequencies results in no remaining data signals and a second erase reduces this signal only slightly more, you should forget about all the hard disk erasing utilities that promise 35 overwriting passes, a single pass it is enough to thwart most data recovery attempts, and three wiping passes is all that is needed to stop well funded opponents.
One single pass is enough to stop data recovery
The multiple data overwrite approach is not very much more effective than a single overwrite since it does not do much to the remaining track edges where most of the very low level distorted remnant data remains after an overwrite and it takes a lot more time.
Secure Erase can seem a little archaic with its command line looks, but if what you care about is results at deleting your hard disk data for good and not looks, then this free software to wipe the whole hard disk will fulfil all your computer privacy and security needs.
Important notes on Secure Erase
Secure Erase does not delete single files! This data erasing utility is to be used to securely wipe ALL of the data in your hard disk! Including your operating system. Remember that formatting your operating system is not enough to stop data recovery, you will need to overwrite the hard disk after formatting it to make sure no data can be retrieved from it.