If you have a computer at home or at the office, then you are aware of all the security protocols there are when you operate a computer. They make software to protect your computer from probing eyes, and hiring computer security to monitor the actions of would be hackers. Companies do everything within their power to protect your identity from identity theft.
Many hours and thousands of dollars are spent protecting information while the computer, PDA or other pieces of electronic equipment is in use, but many times old computers are unplugged and placed into storage, donated or given away will the information still in it undamaged and in one piece.
Paper shredders have been in use for years as a way to get rid of documents and to keep the information on those documents from falling into the wrong hands. However, even thought paper shredders are still in use today it is forgotten where the information was generated – the computer.
Of course it is not just the computers, which has unprotected data in it there are servers, cell phones, fax machines, copiers, scanners, back-up drives, thumb drives, ribbons from dot matrix printers and typewriters. All of these devices are capable of storing data, which can be retrieved by unwanted parties.
When it comes to the disposing of the old no longer used equipment, it is not very high on the priority list. You might find it hard to believe, but about 70 to 80 percent of used electronic equipment is being sent across the world to Thailand, Nigeria, Indonesia, China, India and Pakistan.
After traveling to Nigeria to examine the methods of handling the e-waste in that country an environment watchdog organization known as Basel Action Network was appalled by the environmental catastrophe they found. The evidence made it clear to see US electronics in large quantities being dumped on the people of the poor country. The equipment found had been previously used by mortgage companies, financial institutions, hospitals, and local governments, and after recovering the hard drives from this equipment the data was found to still be on it.
The developing countries are interested in the electronic waste because of the aluminum, copper, steel, and other bits of precious metal with can be found on the motherboards. The data just goes along for the ride as well as the toxic chemicals used in the making of the monitors, which are illegal to dispose of in the United States through the normal waste pick-up headed for the landfills.
There is little to no environment security for the shipments of electronic equipment being sent to other countries, and as a result there is a health and environmental nightmare in the villages who have the equipment because of the pollution to their water, air and soil.
Here in the United States companies who generate a large amount of electronic equipment waste must have a documented and compliant program in place or be at risk of a fine, which can reach into the thousands of dollars. If the recycler is not handling the equipment in a manner, which is not harmful to others, the company who hired them is still responsible for the damages.
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