Recycling Electronics vs. Shredding: What’s the Risk?

These days, reuse, reduce, recycle is no longer a motto but a way of life. You could search online for ways to upcycle just about anything from grocery store bags to mismatched socks to your outdated electronics. Finding a place to recycle your items is as easy as ever; drop your old cell phone off in the receptacle at Target, bring old computers to your community recycling day. Convenience is a way of life and everything is disposable. But, with this new, more convenient way of living comes more inconveniences. No more pressing a delete button and erasing a file. Emails, texts, and electronic information seem to live on forever, impossible to destroy. So, what exactly happens when you recycle your electronics? Does your stored personal information get erased from the device? We would like to trust that it does. But, this new study out of NAID Australia sheds new light on the idea.

NAID, The National Association for Information Destruction performed an audit of 52 independently purchased hard drives from online sites such as Ebay. What they found might shock you and make you reconsider how your dispose of your own electronics data.

The 52 hard drives were examined by forensic investigators and about 30 percent still contained personal and/or confidential information. Some of the information found was highly confidential. It appeared that the information had been attempted to be deleted but was done so unsuccessfully.

It is a wonderful idea to recycle your electronics; however, there is a very real risk that your personal information may live on if the device is not properly wiped.

Check out the whole study here

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