Last Monday a post on EduGeek alerted many in the UK IT community to the fact that many modern photocopiers contain hard disks, and those hard disks are goldmine of personal data. CBS news in the US aired this investigative report last month, and it is well worth your time to watch it if you haven’t seen it already:
I got my start in IT working at a digital copy shop, and remember that even then our Xerox multifunction copiers stored routinely stored copy jobs on their hard disks – not just print jobs. However, as the years had gone by, it hadn’t occured to me how the rise of free and easy-to-use data recovery software would mean that you could literally recover thousands of potentially confidential images from a used copier. As a result of the CBS report, Affinity Health Plan, a medical insurance company, had to notify 409,000 customers under federal privacy law that their medical records could have been exposed. One congressman called for an FTC investigation. The city mayor whose Police department records were exposed wasted no time blaming the Police IT department. And our copier company offered us Sharp’s $500 copier add-on to do the same job that DBAN and Eraser do for free. Guess which option I’m taking?