Long gone are mimeographs or photocopiers that used mechanical means to reproduce whatever document needed reproducing. Now, almost all copiers are also scanners, fax machines and rotisserie ovens (okay, so not that last one). As such, they contain some method of electronic storage that could possibly be used by individuals with shady purposes. That’s why a Congressman from Massachusetts has asked the FTC to look into just how risky it is to use these new-fangled machines.
In a letter to the FTC, Representative Ed “Biz” Markey writes:
I am very concerned that these copy machines can be a treasure trove for identity thieves, allowing criminals to easily access highly sensitive personal information.
Thousands of Americans make copies of sensitive information every day, completely unaware that the data is stored on a copy machine hard drive and then often never cleared when the machine is resold or disposed of. Just as you wouldn’t leave a paper copy of your bank statement sitting on top of the office copy machine, a digital copy should not remain inside of it.
I urge the FTC to immediately investigate this matter and encourage the Commission to pursue measures to provide consumers with additional information about the privacy risks associated with the use of digital copiers for copying sensitive information and the steps consumers can take to reduce these risks. Companies and government agencies also should be responsible stewards of personal information, ensuring that any personal information is wiped clean before the copier moves on to the next user.
MARKEY URGES FTC TO INVESTIGATE STORAGE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION ON COPY MACHINES [Rep. Markey’s Official Website]