Replacing your Tablet? Don’t forget to wipe your data

Red faces all round at Motorola last week: the firm has admitted that around 100 refurbished tablets went on sale without the previous users' data being removed. Refurbished devices have been returned for multiple reasons - minor faults, users changing their mind, faulty chargers and so on - and can't be resold as brand new devices.

The affected tablets were in the US and represent a fairly small number - 100 out of around 6200 tablets sold through the website - but we're sure the original owners of returned Xooms are worried nevertheless. Motorola's offered former Xoom owners free two-year membership of an identity theft protection service just in case, but of course prevention is better than cure: Motorola should have wiped the tablets in the first place.

The story emphasises how important it is for users to control their personal data: if you're planning to return, give away or sell your tablet for whatever reason, you can't rely on the company or person receiving it to delete all your personal data. A full factory reset is a must, and if you've got data you can't afford to fall into the wrong hands it's a very good idea to password- or PIN-protect your tablet in case you lose it or leave it where someone else can access it.

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