“The phones look like they’re completely blank, but the data is still there in the memory,” said Wilkinson. “You can use software to find it, and that software is freely available for download. I can teach you how to access the data in 10 minutes.”
“All phones are wiped to a standard level and full factory restores are carried out,” he said. “It is our understanding that specialist software may still be able to recover certain information stored on the phone, but we do everything in our power to ensure all personal data is removed from the device.”
“To say it’s worrying to find two of the largest pawnshop chains are selling mobile phones with data still on them is an understatement. As consumers, we are becoming increasingly reliant on our mobile devices, from basic communications, social media, to mobile banking and payment transactions, and therefore the data they carry is more and more sensitive,” he said.
“Businesses that process mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets for use as second hand products have a responsibility to the sellers, and buyers of these devices to ensure that the proper security procedures are applied so that personal data is thoroughly and permanently destroyed. It’s not good enough to delete the personal data to only a ‘basic standard’ or worse still, not at all as there is an obligation to comply with data protection laws.”