HOW TO SAFELY DISPOSE OF YOUR OLD MOBILE DEVICE
Your mobile device probably holds sensitive information like addresses and phone numbers, passwords, account numbers, email, voicemail, and text message logs. When getting rid of your old device, it’s important to take steps to help ensure this information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
First, try to use the factory reset. Many devices allow you to “wipe” your device and clear nearly all the information in its memory. Sometimes, this is called a “hard reset,” or “factory reset.” You may be able to save or transfer the information to your new device before you delete it from your old one. For detailed instructions on how to “wipe” your device, read your owner’s manual or check the website of your mobile provider or the device manufacturer.
Second, remove or erase SIM and SD cards. Many mobile devices store information on a SIM card or an external SD card as well as in the device’s internal memory. If you’re keeping your phone number, ask your mobile provider about transferring your SIM card to your new device. SD cards often contain photos and other sensitive information. Even when you “wipe” your device, your SIM card or SD cards may retain information about you. Remove them from your device or delete the data that’s stored on them.
Once you have a “clean” phone, it’s up to you to decide what to do next. Recycling it is one option. Many mobile device manufacturers, wireless service providers, and other groups have programs to refurbish mobile devices or recycle their components, including accessories like chargers.
Another option is to donate your device. Many organizations collect used mobile devices for charitable purposes. You also might decide to trade in your device for a credit toward a new one; resell it to a person or an organization; or just dispose of it altogether. If that’s your choice, keep the environment in mind. The EPA recommends that you check with your local health and sanitation agencies for their preferred way to dispose of electronics.
Privacy versus Security: What is CISPA?
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is a proposed law in the United States which would allow for the sharing of Internet traffic information between the U.S. government and technology and manufacturing companies. The stated aim of the bill is to help the U.S government investigate cyber threats and ensure the security of networks against cyber attacks. While CISPA gives the government tools to fight Cyber Crime, it also threatens the online privacy of the general public. It would allow private sector firms to search personal and sensitive user data of ordinary US residents, and to then share that information with each other and the US government — without the need for a warrant. The US government can do anything they like with the data, so long as it’s lawful and pertains to “cyber security purposes”, rather than “national security” purposes. But because the language is so ill defined, it could be used for many more reasons than were initially considered.
CISPA circumvents existing privacy laws, such as the Wiretap Act and the Stored Communications Act. It has been widely criticized by advocates of Internet privacy and civil liberties. Those groups argue CISPA contains too few limits on how and when the government may monitor a private individual’s Internet browsing information. What sparked significant privacy worries is the section of CISPA that says “notwithstanding any other provision of law,” companies may share information “with any other entity, including the federal government.” By including the word “notwithstanding,” CISPA is intended to trump all existing federal and state civil and criminal laws.
It was passed in the House of Representatives on April 26, 2012, but was not passed by the U.S. Senate as of yet. The sponsors of the bill are planning to amend the bill to address many of the concerned raised, so we may not see the end of CISPA for some time. Regardless of your stance on this issue, it is important to educate yourself, because the outcome can affect us all.