Sunday, February 22, 2009

Old Phones Are a Risk To YOu

If you've read our books you already know this but here is more information on what to do before you sell or donate a cell phone. From the Wall Street Journal

Thinking of donating or selling the old cellphones stashed in your desk? Before sending them off, be sure to permanently clear the phones of sensitive data -- which could go beyond phone numbers to include passwords, account numbers and medical information.

Commanding a cellphone to erase certain things only deletes the references to the data's location, warns the Federal Trade Commission. You need a more thorough cleaning to remove the actual information.

Start by removing any memory cards from your phone. Then reset your phone to its factory settings; the process varies by phone but can involve changing your personal-identification number or reprogramming the phone through your computer.

Check your phone manual or call your service provider for details.

Once your phone is clean, you may be able to sell it, or donate it to a nonprofit or charity group that may refurbish or reuse it.

The Environmental Protection Agency has information on recycling devices at www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/materials/ecycling/index.htm. A Postal Service initiative lets people in select cities mail back small electronics free. (See www.usps.com/green/recycle.htm.)

If a phone is too tattered for these options, check with your sanitation agency about ways to dispose of it that may keep it out of a landfill.

I have made a sculpture out of cell phones. Pretty cool and it glows in the dark when plugged in. Makes one heckuva night light and gets a conversation going in 5 seconds!


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