CBS News picked up four used photocopiers and looked at the hard drives. There was a lot of private information stored in them:

Nearly every digital copier built since 2002 contains a hard drive – like the one on your personal computer – storing an image of every document copied, scanned, or emailed by the machine.

In the process, it’s turned an office staple into a digital time-bomb packed with highly-personal or sensitive data.

If you’re in the identity theft business it seems this would be a pot of gold.

“The type of information we see on these machines with the social security numbers, birth certificates, bank records, income tax forms,” John Juntunen said, “that information would be very valuable.”

Okay, save the dramatics, it’s still disconcerting.

Not every photocopier makes it so easy to access copied documents, but it’s surprising that it’s still so straightforward with some machines these days. Then again, part of the responsibility belongs to the previous owners. As the Federal Trade Commission instructs, it’s like getting rid of a computer.

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Nathan Yau
http://flowingdata.com

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