Saturday, February 04, 2012

Big oops: Motorola resells used Xooms without wiping previous owner's data

What is the recommended procedure if you donate or return a hard drive or system containing a hard drive? You should wipe it (at least, wipe it clean of any of your personal information). Thus, do you think the process should be any different if you return or donate a tablet or smartphone, which can contain gigabytes and gigabytes of information? No, of course not.

That said, it might be a good idea if whoever you returned the device would take a little time to ensure --- if it resells them --- it wipes them, in case you didn't. After all, unlike a PC, it's easy to wipe a tablet or smartphone, without wiping the OS on the device, as well.

Motorola has announced that about 100 previously sold wi-fi Motorola Xooms were sold on with their prior owner's information intact. is a reseller that sells one heavily discounted item per day, often computer hardware or electronics.

The tablets were sold between October and December of last year. A total of 6,200 Xooms were sold, and all were supposed to be refurbished, including wiping them clean of data before resale, but apparently Motorola missed a few.

If you're wondering how to tell if yours was among one of those tablets, it won't be easy. The tablets could have been from a number of places, including, Best Buy, BJ’s Wholesale, eBay, Office Max, Radio Shack, Sam’s Club, or Staples.

If you bought and returned your wi-fi Xoom to one of those retailers between March and October 2011, Motorola says it will give you a free two-year subscription to Experian's Protect MyID credit monitoring service.

That's all well and good, and while Motorola is clearly at fault here, we'd never return a device like this without wiping it ourselves. Whether it's Android, iOS, or Windows Phone, the modern smartphone and tablet platforms are all easy to wipe.

Don't rely on your retailer to wipe your device for you if you return it for some reason.

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