Earlier this week, European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Peter Hustinx called for producers to ‘build in' privacy and security safeguards to their solutions.

The view has been supported by Computer Aid International that claimed that a lack of awareness about data security could fuel e-waste. Its director of communications Anja Ffrench claimed that in spite of the Data Protection Act, too many UK organisations are unwittingly risking breaking the law by selling end-of-life PCs to illegal dealers who trade in e-waste and are simply posing as legitimate reuse and recycling organisations.

Ffrench said: “Peter Hustinx has called for the WEEE directive to prohibit the marketing of second hand devices that have not had sensitive information erased prior to resale. Strictly speaking, this measure is not necessary in the UK, since the Data Protection Act requires organisations to delete data from obsolete equipment but the European Data Protection Supervisor is right to draw attention to the growing trade.

“Even though the WEEE directive and import bans are in place, thousands of containers of e-waste make their way to dumping grounds in developing countries and IT departments must be vigilant when disposing of end-of-life PCs, to protect their data and brand reputation.

“By working with credible commercial or not-for-profit organisations who are licensed to handle electrical equipment, companies can ensure complete data wiping and disposal methods that meet the legal requirements of the European WEEE directive.”