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Would You Rent Out Your Personal Info $$

Think about how much personal information you currently have in your phone’s contacts or address book.

We all have the following in our address books; addresses, phone numbers, birthdays, etc. I remember when cell phones were first introduced and there were constant warnings not to put sensitive information on your phone. Those warnings seem to be far fewer since people rely on their phone’s security features to protect access. Features from screen locks to the ability to ‘wipe’ your personal and sensitive data if your phone is stolen.

How would you feel if someone had access to the information in your contacts or address book without touching your phone or compromising your cloud account where it may be backed up?

Have I got a story for you…

Last week I was on the road and when picked up my rental car, I noticed something odd.

I tried to pair my phone to the car’s Bluetooth, but couldn’t because the maximum number of devices were already paired. I verified that there were many other devices that were paired. Out of curiosity, I checked the contact list in the car and in between regular entries, saw some fairly personal entries like trading account info, security codes, school login, bank stuff, website login.. yikes!!!

Even though I was tempted, I didn’t open those contact entries and proceeded to clear the system of all personal information and deleted the previous paired devices. You should always ensure after you pair to a rental vehicle, that you do NOT allow it to access your contact/address book.

This raises an interesting question, “Who should be responsible for ensuring the vehicle is cleared of all customer personal information”? This topic has been already been raised in the computer industry where the reseller ensures that hard drives are wiped of any customer data. Same applies to cellular companies where returned phones are wiped of any customer data.

I can see this being a source for people who collect private data.

In the rental car example, clearing this information can be argued both ways;

  • The client should unpair and clear their personal information since they put it on the system.

  • The car rental company should provide information on how to clear your data, they should clear it as part of their return procedure.

In conclusion, I just wanted to bring this to your attention so you don’t transfer your contacts and leave it there for someone else.

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