Is my info safe on the computer I'm returning?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by eddvedd, May 10, 2010.

  1. eddvedd macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2010
    #1
    Hey everyone! I need some help, im a medical student doing a research project and my computer just crashed. It has photos and patient data on it (with their consent of course), so my concern isn't with recovering the data because I have backups, but rather with deleting it. But it just wont reboot, apple care tried everything with me over the phone, so I cant delete the patient data before I return the computer to apple. An applecare advisor assured me they just reformat the disc, and that laws prevent them from looking at personal data before reformatting. Can anyone else attest to this? I have to be 100% sure no one sees this or i could lose my license. Thanks!
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #2
    If you can boot from the restore disc (hold C on startup with the disc inserted) you can erase the startup drive using Disk Utility.
     
  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #3
    I'm sure Apple can be trusted, but if you have medical information on your drive, there are very strict HIPAA laws regarding that, which you should be familiar with.
     
  4. eddvedd thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 28, 2010
    #4
    Sure I am, thats why I need to be 100% sure that laws prevent apple from looking at the data. Ive tried everything to reboot the computer, so my only options are to find out if anyone knows if I'm protected by consumer privacy law, or to throw my 3000 dollar computer in the trash compactor. I'd like to avoid the later.
     
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #5
    The laws don't prevent Apple from looking at the data. They prohibit medical professionals from making it available to unauthorized people. So if Apple did look at the data, you (not they) would be held responsible, if you are a covered entity.

    http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/index.html
     
  6. teleromeo macrumors 65816

    teleromeo

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    Dec 2, 2006
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    kidnapped by aliens
    #6
    Have you tried target mode ? Hold the T-key while starting up, you mac will act as a firewire hard drive.
     
  7. eddvedd thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 28, 2010
    #7
    Your sure the laws don't prevent apple from looking at it? Why would the senior advisor at apple indicate otherwise?
     
  8. eddvedd thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 28, 2010
    #8
    Yeah, we tried everything. I just spent almost two hours on the phone with AppleCare. They told me my only option is to return it, and that laws prevent them from looking at the data. Thanks for the input though.
     
  9. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #9
    HIPAA laws don't apply to Apple because Apple is not a Covered Entity. Read the information on the link I posted to see if you qualify as a covered entity. If you don't, the laws don't apply to you, either.
    What are you referring to? What "senior advisor"?
    Don't believe everything that every AppleCare rep tells you. They're not always right. What laws were they referring to?
     
  10. eddvedd thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 28, 2010
    #10
    Well, im not sure what law he was referring to exactly, thats why I wanted to see if anyone could verify it. "he" refers to a senior advisor at applecare. All he said was that the data was safe because when a computer is returned, they are required by law to reformat the disc before they look at any personal data on the computer. I understand that HIPPA doesn't apply to apple. I'm just trying to find out if what this guy says is true.
     
  11. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #11
    If there is a law that prohibits Apple from looking at your data, I've never heard of such. It would be great to have a link to a reference to the exact law, if one exists.
     
  12. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #12
    I don't know the law in this area, but even if there are laws preventing apple from looking at the data, that wouldn't necessarily excuse you from turning it over. You should try to boot the computer from a CD and erase the drive (or physically remove it).
     
  13. eddvedd thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 28, 2010
    #13
    I'll call customer service now and see if I get the same answer. Obviously, I'll talk to someone at the hospital who deals in these situations too, just thought someone familiar with law might cruse past this post in the meantime. Are you by chance familial with law, or are you just basing this on personal experience?
     
  14. eddvedd thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 28, 2010
    #14
    If you had actually read my previous posts where I said that I tried everything to reboot you would know that Includes rebooting from cd. Like I said before, it won't reboot, so I cant erase the drive. And its a brand new computer, so apple said to return it, not physically remove to drive (however, if I'm not protected here, that's an option). And if there are laws preventing apple from looking at it, no one is going to see it. I'm fully aware of HIPPA, so please, no more info about HIPPA laws. all I'm trying to find out is if there is a law preventing apple from looking at the data. Thanks.
     
  15. SoCalRich macrumors 6502

    SoCalRich

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    Feb 6, 2010
    Location:
    NorCal
    #15
    My wife is a Director at one of the Major Hospitals here in Los Angeles. I posed this scenario and this this what she told me.

    Bottom line... YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for all patient information contained on your laptop, with or without the patients permission (really has nothing to do with this) AND whatever happens with that information. Hopefully it doesn't contain any identifiable patient specific information. i.e patients should be identified by a NUMBER - INSTEAD of a name.

    At the hospital, all patient related information is housed on the hospitals servers in a well protected and secure environment. NO patient information is permitted on a hospital laptops. CD burners and flash drives are not allowed on hospital owned equipment.

    Every hospital has a HIPPA Privacy Officer. You might want to ask them about your predicament and what you should do. Maybe the IT department can help you out.

    All of that being said, Drive Genius makes some great software. If you can get laptop to boot using a CD you can do a DOD overwrite on the disk. No one will be able to get ANY information off that drive.

    Hope this helps you out...
     
  16. eddvedd thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2010
    #16
    Yeah, all patient data is by number, and this is a computer thats in a secure environment in the hospital. But, my grant wouldn't cover a new computer so I used my own cash to get a new computer in there. I'll look into drive genius, but I'm concerned that if it wont boot from the os x disc that it probably wont boot from drive genius either. Thanks for the info!
     

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