June 6, 2006
Best Buy in Hard Drive Flap
There's a disturbing story on MSNBC about a man who had a hard drive replaced by Best Buy under warranty and discovered that the original, unwiped, drive was bought by a stranger at a flea market in Chicago. The machine belonged to Hank Gerbus of Cincinnati, Ohio. The drive crashed and Best Buy replaced it but wouldn't return the original drive. The store promised to destroy the original drive, specifically by drilling holes in the platter.
That would have been nice if they had followed through, but they didn't. Instead, the Gerbus hard drive found its way into the hands of a man named Ed. Ed called Gerbus and told him he had the hard drive which apparently contained sensitive data such as social security numbers for Hank, his wife, his children and grandchildren. Ed was nice enough to call Hank about this. There's no telling, though, who had their hands on the drive in between the Best Buy "repair" and Ed's purchase.
Best Buy says that if the allegations are true, that the situation would be intolerable. Well, duh. They're investigating but not saying much more, probably because the ultimate conclusion of this unhappy event will involve lawyers and a judge. On the other side, the question arises as to whether anyone really needs to keep sensitive demographic information on a hard drive in the first place. Oh sure, computer applications are irresistibly convenient for this kind of data. But can you trust a chain consumer electronics store when things go bad? The incident, on its face, is isolated. We'd never know unless Ed placed that phone call. Let's see what Best Buy concludes when it finishes its investigation.
June 6, 2006 | Permalink
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