I dropped a camera in the water in the factory where I work; the micro SD card in the camera had private pictures on int that I don't want anyone to see. Knowing that the water contained some chemicals (industrial flocculants), is it likely that the card will still be readable after a year?

  • So you don’t have access to the camera but others might? – Eric S Jun 15 at 22:13
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    What is your question? SD cards are fairly robust. A dunk in water probably isn't going to make it unreadable. – BobT Jun 15 at 22:21
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    SD cards have been known to survive several days in the ocean. They should be able to survive longer if there's nothing corrosive in the water. – xiota Jun 16 at 5:14
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    I've tried to edit this to make it an actual question; if it now doesn't reflect what you were trying to ask, please further edit to to clarify. Thanks! – Philip Kendall Jun 16 at 12:11
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    I guess if the images are very important to you it might be an idea to hire a professional diver to get the card back in your hands. – Arjihad Jun 18 at 11:02

Flash memory like SD and Micro SD cards is very robust, and flocculants in the water aren't likely to damage either the plastic housing of the card or the electronics. If the contact strips (often gold plated, on better quality memory cards) aren't too corroded to make contact, it's very likely that someone who really cares and is willing to expend a little effort will be able to just plug the card into a card reader and read out its contents.

Even if the card is physically broken, it's almost certain that someone who has reason to want to can connect the actual chip(s) inside to a new connector and read the content.

  • I hope the water damages this card even though it has been in the water for a year.My question is, is it possible for this card to be damaged, knowing that I erased its content and am afraid that it will be retrieved. It fell into water mixed with marble granules and with floc and this water affects even the skin upon contact (redness) and when the camera fell it was turned on ( were not conceived). – Solutions Informatique Jun 16 at 21:49
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    @SolutionsInformatique Does this answer not answer your question "is it possible for this card to be damaged"? If not, could you perhaps explain why you feel it does not provide a sufficient answer? – Saaru Lindestøkke Jun 16 at 22:00

I suspect yes, images will be recoverable IF someone actually finds the card. What are the odds? I guess OP is in best position to guestimate that.

  • Water: Coating will likely protect the card, contacts are gold plated. If we need to access NAND on micro SD cards for purpose of data recovery, removing coatings requires quite some mechanical force (English not my native language, do not know how else to put this). I use a fiber glass pen, sanding is an option too and some labs use lasers.

  • Time factor: NAND flash memory 'bleeds' data and given enough time card will become unreadable. But even if card is unreadable by ordinary user, a lab may be able to recover the data. Or better said, anyone who owns one of these + accompanying software : enter image description here

But eventually your images will 'fade away'. The cheaper the card the quicker. The higher ambient temperature, the quicker. The more use a card saw, the quicker. I have seen those dead cheap promotional flash drives that started 'flipping bits' in a matter of months.

  • Does the cold affect the card because it is at the bottom of a tank that has been immersed in water and mud for a year, knowing that this card is stored 2GB and was produced in 2010. – Solutions Informatique Jun 18 at 11:58
  • Theory would be, cold slows down 'decay' of data. About the age, hard to tell really, older NAND flash chips were 'better' than much what we have today considering data retention. – Joep van Steen Jun 18 at 12:52

Last year, I found a camera and memory cards on a nearby hill, that had been out in four or five wet Scottish winters (west coast). The SD card that was in the camera was the most damaged, with severe corrosion of the contacts, but a painting a little conductive ink onto the pads enabled the data to be read with no trouble. That enabled me to identify the owner and return their property (not that the camera was much use any more, but the pictures were welcomed back).

When making the repair, I found that it's best to remove the plastic housing before painting the pads, as this makes it easier to avoid or correct any bridging you might inadvertently cause.

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