The waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) legislation may address environmental risks, but data protection risks also need to be addressed.
Peter Hustinx, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), said he fully welcomes proposals to improve environmentally-friendly initiatives in the arena of WEEE.
However, data protection risks can arise from the large amount of information stored on such devices.
Personal computers and laptops are particularly prone to storing high volumes of confidential data.
"Respect for security measures and a ‘privacy by design’ approach should be seen as essential pre-conditions in order to effectively guarantee the right to the protection of personal data," Mr Hustinx stated.
The EDPS added security measures should be adopted at each stage of personal data processing, including when WEEE is disposed of.
Mobile phone recycling company Mazuma offers a free data deletion tool to allow its customers to remove personal information before sending their old handsets for cash.
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Posted by Dan Latham