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Attention Lawyers: Your Office Copier Has a Hard Drive

Office-space-copier-beating CBS News produced an interesting video report recently that flags an important data security issue that 60 percent of Americans (including me) admit they were unaware of: An office copier actually contains a hard drive that stores a copy of every document copied, scanned, or emailed by it. Thus, when you sell or otherwise dispose of that copier, you may be unwittingly handing sensitive, privileged or legally protected documents such as medical records to the next owner.

This is an especially sensitive issue for lawyers, who burn up their copy machines daily with privileged and confidential documents. It also raises a potential discovery issue in my mind: should discovery requests specifically encompass all documents that can be found on copiers?

Experts interviewed by CBS News stated that every digital copier built since 2002 contains such a hard drive, and each copier's hard drive can hold up to 20,000 stored documents. Frequently, these documents include Social Security numbers, medical records, income tax returns and other confidential materials never intended to be made available to the next owner of the copier.

In short, as one expert states in the video, "copiers are computers that need to be cleaned up" before you dispose of them. Learn more in the video below:

Posted by Bruce Carton on May 10, 2010 at 11:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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