Motorola Mistakenly Resells Xooms Containing Old User Data
Motorola Mobility, which is about to be acquired by Google, has made another less-than-stellar public move: The company accidentally sold refurbished Xoom tablets with old user data at the bargain site Woot.com. That’s kind of a big deal. So now what?
The good news for affected users, and Motorola, is that only “approximately 100” of roughly 6,200 Xoom tablets were affected. The bad news is that all those 100 tablets were sold at Woot.com over the course of three months, from October to December 2011. According to a contrite Motorola, the information on said tablets could very well be passwords and personal e-mails, and Motorola “sincerely regrets and apologizes” for the mishap. The company also is offering affected users a little something extra.
If you once owned a Xoom, but during October 2011 returned it to Motorola’s long list of retailers, you may be eligible for “a complimentary two-year membership to Experian’s ProtectMyID Alert,” according to Motorola, which also suggested customers change all their passwords. If you’re paranoid and want to make sure, Motorola has set up a web portal to check if your tablet was one of the 100 that made it back into the wild with your data.
This is an inauspicious mishap for Motorola, but it stands as a reminder that the personal care of your data is not to be underestimated. And as much as one would like to trust big OEMs to responsibly refurbish their products, it doesn’t hurt to be extra careful. Only a few steps are required to wipe these devices before selling them or returning them. Motorola’s gesture of free identity theft membership is a solid Band-Aid for this digital scrape, but it may not be the salve that heals individuals who now must double check the safety of their personal identity.
Bottom line? VARs working mobile device management should think “security first” and make sure “wipe device” is at the top of their checklist when handling any previously enjoyed mobile device. This whole mishap is one that could’ve easily been avoided.