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I am translating an agreement into English. Can you say "destroy confidential information to the extent reasonably technically possible"? It may be difficult to destroy ALL back-up copies of digital data, therefore the word "reasonably".

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  • It should not be difficult to destroy all backup copies under one's custody and control. If I were the judge, and you offered some B.S. excuse for not destroying all backup copies, you'd be in trouble. How did those copies manage to escape your custody and control? If your backup procedures combine datasets so that it is impossible to single out a partcular subset for deletion, why did you agree to the provision in the first place? That would show a lack of good faith.
    – TimR
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 12:10
  • I would advise against the double adverbs, "reasonably technically" but would suggest "...reasonably possible" with a restrictive clause expressing any sort of technical limitations which might make the promise unfeasible. That structure would be grammatically clearer. "...reasonably possible given the technical resources and capabilities of Vendor" or something like that.
    – TimR
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 12:24
  • Thank very much you for your feedback, Tim! Very useful. :-) Concerning technical possibilities to destroy back-up copies: It is possible to retrieve destroyed copies from a hard disk, if you know how to do it - they are there "hidden" somewhere. And many companies regularly make back-up copies of all data and it would be very difficult to go through these immense data files to destroy some specific documents. Therefore both the expressions "technical" and "reasonable".
    – Reija
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 9:32
  • A very belated comment: it is possible to "wipe" a disk such that no data can be retrieved from it, but to describe the process would be to stray from the purpose of this site :)
    – TimR
    Commented Apr 10, 2018 at 20:44

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We have a single word for that: feasible. That which can be carried out with reasonable effort, given the resources available, is said to be feasible.

In legal documents, there are degrees of commitment and promise. When the person making the promise wishes to hedge and not offer absolute guarantees, he invokes the phrase "best efforts" and variants thereof.

We will use our best efforts to destroy all copies of confidential information.

http://thelawdictionary.org/best-efforts/

http://www.adamsdrafting.com/downloads/Best-Efforts-Practical-Lawyer.pdf

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