Use personal device for work, risk losing your info

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by JESSE JONES / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @getjesse

KING5.com

Posted on March 13, 2014 at 11:22 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 14 at 6:32 AM

Michael Irvin uses his cell phone to store almost everything, but one day that information suddenly disappeared.

“I saw just a blank screen just like I got it originally. It had no emails, it had no text messages, no apps, nothing. It was just completely wiped,” recalled Irvin.

It turns out Michael’s former employer was behind the disappearing act.  He’d used the phone for businesses purposes and the company wiped the device to protect its information.

Lewis Maltby with the National Workrights Institute said more companies are using Bring Your Own Device programs to save money.  Those changes can be costly for an employee when they leave the business.

“You can understand why the company would want to wipe the cell phone,” said Maltby.  “You’ve got a lot of communications on there that are business oriented, maybe company data. But unfortunately what happens is that the whole cell phone gets wiped, and now you lose everything.”

This kind of sweeping action also raises some legal questions.  Mark Terman is a Labor and Employment attorney.  He said companies should have privacy and access policies that are signed by the employee.  Another option would be investing in a system that would allow for selective wiping.

“This is a situation where both the company and the employees need to know the ground rules,” said Terman. “Systems that operate in one sandbox on a device could be accessed and wiped out while not disturbing the sandbox where the personal information of the individual is on.”

Bottom line: Back up your devices regularly, because if you decide to leave you never know how quickly a company may act.  Once your information is gone, you may never be able to get it back.

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