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Ontario Teen Should Have Had A Lock Code

Ontario teen Natalie Hall had a nasty scare when she got a Facebook message from some creep in Dubai saying he had all her photos. It was quickly realized that the old iPhone she traded in for 11 bloody dollars a while before, had travelled 11 thousand kilometres to be purchased by said creep.

I mean anyone would be terrified if Borat had your photos…

Situation Simply Avoided

This is a prime example of why it’s so damned important to have a lock code on your phone. She’s a 15-year-old girl, perhaps her Mom didn’t want her locking her phone from her… but now look… she has some asshat on the other side of the damn planet ogling her! As a parent, I work on having a trust factor that my kids won’t do something stupid… and that I’ll know their lock codes till their 18!

“Oh, but what if they change them, it’s best just to make sure they don’t have one!”

That’s why you are the parent and they lose privileges and perhaps get their backside tanned if they change it. Put your parent pants on and make them understand the situation. What if someone outside their circle of friends get’s ahold of their phone and does something nasty, harassing or illegal? Our kids need to be protected in that sense.

The article from CBC also details how the mother was just sick with worry (who wouldn’t be) but completely and utterly failed at the most basic entry-level privacy protections.

A. Simple. Lock. Code.

The Stem Ensures Your Privacy

In this case, they had traded in their phone to a booth in the mall. Though I’m sure the company has all sorts of rules in place, the associate failed to ensure they knew the risks of handing over the phone, and completely failed in ensuring there was no data accessible on the phone. In the pursuit of selling a new phone, they wrote off the old phone as completely destroyed. Instead, they should have tried a new screen at least.

At The Stem, we do take customer privacy very seriously. When we get in phones that may have sensitive data on them, we work with the customer to ensure that data is erased. We can either get the phone working temporarily and use the settings to erase it, or simply let the customers login to their AppleID and remotely wipe it. Had this been done with Mrs. Hall they would not have encountered this issue, for as soon as the phone connected to a network in the desert it would have remotely wiped.

If we have a phone that cannot be wiped in this fashion, we get medieval, breaking out the hammer and pin chisel to physically destroy the memory chip.

The saving grace of having an iPhone is that your data is highly encrypted in the first place, but without a lock code it’s an open book.

With desktop and laptop computers, we tear apart the old hard drives, hit them with rare earth magnets and shatter the platters if we can. When we are done with these drives, there is no way to recover data off of them.

YOU Are Responsible

In the end, YOU and you alone are responsible for your data privacy. It is your job as an individual to be well versed enough in the technology to protect yourself. With Apple products, you are lucky enough it’s extremely easy to protect yourself.

If though you are still worried, by all means, come on by and we’ll make REAL sure your data is protected, with a large hammer if necessary. 🙂




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Ryszard (Rick) Gold, From Calgary, Alberta, Canada has over 20 years of experience working with Apple products in a technical capacity. Passionate about technology in general, his natural troubleshooting abilities, curiosity and appreciation of good design lead him into working exclusively with Apple Computer products.
Ryszard Gold
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