30 September 2008
Bank details, company relationships and personal data are just some of the
information UK plc is still leaving on their discarded technical gadgets.
Researchers at the University of Glamorgan bought 160 handheld devices,
including second-hand mobiles, PDAs and Blackberries, and found more than 20
per cent of the devices still contained enough data to allow identification
of the phone's previous owner and employer.
Almost half of the devices contained information specific enough that
individuals or organisations could be easily identified. The results of
information taken from standard mobiles phones also gave cause for concern.
This creates a substantial security threat to both that person or the
organisations involved, said Jon Godfrey, spokesperson for metal recycler
Sims Lifecycle Services which sponsored the research. "During the research,
we were astounded by the information we were able to access. Indeed, on one
Blackberry, we were able to recover the owner's bank account details and
other information including details about their children, marital status,
addresses, appointments and addresses for the owner's dental and medical
He said the majority of organisations simply give away their old equipment
to staff or to charities when they come to the end of their life. "Many
forget that after it leaves the charge of their company, they no longer have
any control on where it goes and to whom. This has to change."
Sims Lifecycle Services is part of the Sims Group, a global recycling
company with UK with facilities in Newport, Manchester and Dumfries.