Remember: Your Printer Has a Hard Drive

By Deane Barker on May 23, 2010

Digital Photocopiers Loaded With Secrets:These people bought four random, used copiers, for about $300 each.  What they found was pretty chilling.

One of the copiers had documents still on the copier glass, from the Buffalo, N.Y., Police Sex Crimes Division.

[we] ran a scan [on the hard drives] – downloading tens of thousands of documents in less than 12 hours.

The results were stunning: from the sex crimes unit there were detailed domestic violence complaints and a list of wanted sex offenders. On a second machine from the Buffalo Police Narcotics Unit we found a list of targets in a major drug raid.

The third machine, from a New York construction company, spit out design plans for a building near Ground Zero in Manhattan; 95 pages of pay stubs with names, addresses and social security numbers; and $40,000 in copied checks.

But it wasn’t until hitting “print” on the fourth machine – from Affinity Health Plan, a New York insurance company, that we obtained the most disturbing documents: 300 pages of individual medical records. They included everything from drug prescriptions, to blood test results, to a cancer diagnosis. A potentially serious breach of federal privacy law.

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