Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ridding oneself of Digital Trash to prevent Identity Theft

I think humans have a tendency to hoard. It is not unusual to undertake an annual house cleaning exercise to get rid of the items we once thought to be extremely important? Another characteristic is the tendency to dispose and not destroy. I am quite certain many of us simply throw out our posts without shredding irrespective if they are bank or credit card statements. Companies do so too, as I read in a blog post of a that a recent UK study reveals that up to 40 per cent of London’s commercial bins contain confidential business documents, such as email print outs, letters and reports, many of which contained sensitive personal information.
I have never seen an article on the consequences of hoarding digital trash. Digital Trash represents those thousands of documents that we store on all forms of storage in our possession over the years. I am sure that all of us have several years of email archives, and documents in our folders which we believed important but simply lie there waiting for the time when the hard disk is replaced, or we lose our flash drive or someone steals our storage. The consequences of this loss on personal data or even personal confidential data can be catastrophic. I know a few people who have had sleepless nights!
I must confess that I too suffer from this digital hoarding addiction. Though my exposure may be limited as there were a few rules, which I have followed judiciously such as:
1.    I do not store sensitive information on my mobile phones. All my emails once downloaded on my desktop are deleted automatically from my mobile devices
2.    I do not store much information online or on free email
3.    I do not carry portable drives, though I use one at home. No pen drives, and if I do, I ensure all data is removed
4.    I also shred important  paper document before disposal at home and in office
I will henceforth add a fifth rule, to eliminate digital trash and undertake a routine digital housekeeping exercise which I would strongly recommend to you all.
Related Reads:  3G,Cell Phones, Social Networking and the not so Innocent Obsession

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