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When should mobile device content be securely erased at the point of sale?

Did you know that old mobile phones and tablets containing sensitive personal information are also of interest to criminals? Data breaches have increased public interest in the proper disposal of used devices. The safe disposal of mobile devices requires attention from the consumer, care partner, and reseller.

GDPR and increased awareness of potential security risks have raised the bar for consumer privacy. Consumers are more cautious and conscious of the type of information they share and with whom.

Mobile device users may not feel comfortable in handing off their old device for repair, reuse, or recycling due to concerns with the personal content on the device. Mobile operators, retailers, and service points want to protect the consumers and ensure consumer’s data on devices is properly handled.

As mobile devices contain sensitive personal information it can be very harmful if personal data ends up in the wrong hands. Personal data can be used for illegal and harmful activities causing financial damage, social problems, or even threat to personal safety. Factory resetting alone is not enough to eliminate privacy risks as the personal data can be recovered even after the reset.

There are many reasons why it is important to ensure the device content is securely erased at the service point or point of sale before the device is being shipped to a recycler. Here are a few examples.

Trading in a phone in stores
An increasing number of mobile devices are traded at the point of sale and the old phone is handed off in exchange. The old device usually ends up in a processing facility where the device content is being erased. However, there are countries and consumers who want to have proof or a certificate that their content has been wiped from the old device once it is handed off in exchange for further processing.

It is also recommended to check device locks in a retail store as it is easier to do when the device owner is still present. Removing device locks, such as Apple’s Find My and Google accounts, is much more difficult once the device is already at the recycling facility.  For device trade-ins, it is also useful to perform GSMA Device Check™ at the point of sale to avoid the intake of stolen devices.

Disposing of a phone for recycling
When mobile devices are nearing the end of their useful life consumers can drop off their devices at recycling points or recycling bins. While there are reputable and certified players taking care of responsible device disposal, consumers do not always know how to securely recycle their devices. Improperly disposed of devices can contain a wealth of information for criminals who look for opportunities to steal recycled electronic devices. Handing off the phone to for example to store personnel who have appropriate tools to securely erase the device data can ensure the personal data is not exposed to anyone else.

Returning a loan device
There are also steps to take to secure the phone data in case of device repairs. When a consumer’s device needs to be sent or taken away for repair, a loan device can be given for the time the mobile device is being repaired. Once the loan device is returned, the phone’s sensitive data should be properly erased.

Secure data erasing with PiceaEraser
Protecting consumer privacy and making sure the trust is maintained with consumers is crucial for all players in the secondary phone market. This is what Piceasoft’s secure erasing technology is developed for – to enable safe disposal, reuse, or resale of mobile devices.

ADISA certified Picea® Services Eraser provides an easy way to perform checks for different device locks, against GSMA Device Check™ and securely wipe the data from a device in the retail store. A full audit trail for data erasure is available via reporting both for the consumer and service or sales personnel and the phone can be given away with complete peace of mind.

Are you interested in deploying PiceaEraser at the point of sale or your service point? We offer you a fully functional trial for free so you can try it yourself. Request your trial at

To learn more visit:
Piceasoft: Picea® Eraser – Piceasoft

About Piceasoft Ltd
Piceasoft is a Finnish company, located in Tampere. Since it was founded in 2012, Piceasoft has created a unique set of software solutions to cover the whole lifecycle of mobile devices. These solutions create new business opportunities and enable a cost-efficient service for mobile operators and retail chains. Our innovative products are disrupting the mobile device buyback, repair, and recycling business. Our software products are easy to use and offer added value to the end-user, which means better ROI and user satisfaction. In short, we promise to Simplify Your Mobile Life.