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'Lights, camera, action!' for MDJ Light Brothers

It was all lights, camera and action when a new BBC TV documentary of the dangers of electronic identify theft dropped in on a Kent-based specialist PC recycling centre, for some filming. MDJ Light Brothers played host to the making of a second BBC documentary on the modern problems of identity theft and fraud. Due for screening in early 2008, it will analyse the rise in identity theft of electronically-stored data, and what can be done to combat it. Under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive, PCs can no longer be sent to waste and must be processed for reuse. Technical experts at Light Brothers suggest that this leaves electronic data theft and related fraud could increase because of this. One common problem is that when consumers and businesses dispose of their computing equipment such as PCs and laptops, they often fail to ensure that hard disks are truly cleaned of stored data. Experts found that simply deleting files does not actually remove stored information, and commonly available software can reveal these files. A Light Brothers technology specialist said it was similar to tearing out the index pages of a catalogue: You may not have the index of contents any more, but all the content and pages are still there. Some of the data found on second-hand PCs included personal, banking, financial and business information that a fraudster could use to create a fake identity for online fraud. MDJ Light Brothers national recycling manager Phil Burgon said: People may not be aware of the danger of leaving useful data on their computers, though they may have been very security-conscious when they owned and used their technology. Our advice is simple you should make every effort to clean data from your computers, using affordable and available software to do this. If you do not, there is a real risk that you are leaving an electronic door partially open to sensitive data. Alternatively, you should ask the recycling provider what they do about data removal.

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