Privacy Laws and Hard Drives

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by aaron.lee2006, May 16, 2008.

  1. aaron.lee2006 macrumors 65816


    Feb 23, 2006
    Ontario, Canada
    Hello, I am going to be having one of my computers serviced tomorrow and there are some personal documents and such on the computer, nothing incriminating or illegal. Just some personal documents. Are there privacy laws that prevent the service technicians from looking through the contents of a persons hard drive?
  2. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Are you talking about Apple service or another service company?

    It's a valid concern, and it's worth knowing their policy. I suggest asking about it. However, there's no way to know if technicians in the back room actually observe their employer's policy (at a risk to their job), so there's always a bit of worry involved if you have financial or other private data on your hard drive and must leave it for repair.

    One thing I've done is to keep an admin-enabled account named "Apple" on my Macs. It has a password but no documents, since I never use it. But if I have to leave my Mac at an Apple Store, say to get a part replaced, I tell them the password for user Apple. That's better than giving my personal login password to technicians, as many customers do too readily.

    Even though any Mac technician knows how to get at any user's documents (unless they are encrypted), giving them a specific login for testing or doing admin actions makes it into a more blatant action if they snoop elsewhere, and gives me a little more confidence that my data won't be compromised.

    The real solution is to keep private data private using encryption, including the oft-used method of keeping an encrypted disk image for the most critical files, something I also do.

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