Introduction:

Solidaritech receives donated devices from our donors, and we take the erasure of data incredibly seriously, treating it with the utmost seriousness and urgency. This document sets out our approaches to and methods for wiping data from donated machines, and the different ways machines dictate how that data could and should be wiped.

How We Treat Donated Machines:

Before machines are donated to us we ask that the donor try to factory reset their machines, checking afterwards to see whether any data remains. However, we are aware that not all donors have the technical knowledge or capacity to do this, so every machine that enters Solidaritech’s possession. We never ask for login credentials for a machine and will destroy any provided to us as a matter of course.

Laptop and Desktop Wiping Procedure:

Initial Pre-Wipe Assessment:

Once the machine reaches us it is kept separately from sanitised workshop machines, ensuring separation. From there, the machine is booted-up, but not logged in to, to check that it works safely and reliably.

Once we establish that the machine works, we then move ahead with wiping it. For the machines that are not operational, we attempt to power them on. However, if the machine is not powering on, we attempt to fix the machine. For machines that we cannot power on, we fix separately, wiping the data from it as soon as it’s operational.

Data Sanitisation:

Once the machine has been assessed as operational we then commence the data wiping. Ordinarily we will use a tool such as Linux Shred or Linux DD, which deletes any partitions on the disk that may have been there and writes new data to every part of a disk, covering up the previous data. This means that no data from before the wipe is present and the machine has been sanitised. 

Should there be an issue during the wipe – which can occasionally happen – we would use a disk utility such as Hiren’s BootCD PE, or one of the drive manufacturer’s utility tools to check whether the issue is fixable. If we cannot find a way to successfully repair the drive we physically destroy the drive before recycling the machine.

New Operating System Install:

Once the machine has had all of its data removed we’re then able to install the most appropriate Operating System (OS) onto the machine, which further writes data to the machine, further obscuring anything that was there before.

Phone and Tablet Wiping Procedure:

Initial Pre-Wipe Assessment:

Once the machine reaches us it is kept separately from sanitised workshop machines, ensuring separation. From there, the machine is powered-on to check that it works safely and reliably.

Once we establish that the machine works, we then move ahead with wiping it. For the machines that are not operational, we attempt to power them on. However, if the machine is not powering on, we attempt to fix the machine. For machines that we cannot power on, we fix separately, wiping the data from it as soon as it’s operational.

Data Sanitisation:

Once the machine has been assessed as operational we then commence the data wiping. In the case of both Android and iOS devices we perform a ‘Factory Reset’ before checking to see whether any data remains.

Operating System Update:

Once we’re satisfied that no data has been left on the machine we update the operating system to the newest possible version, before making it available for donation.

Other Media Wiping Procedure:

From time to time we receive other media – flash drives, spare disk drives, USB Sticks, SD Cards etc – as part of donations. We take exactly the same approach to these as we would a phone or computer, wiping them as soon as possible. For media that is useful, such as memory sticks, we will delete the files from these before wiping and formatting them, and then using them to store Operating Systems or Utility Tools for use in wiping more machines.

In any case – whether it be computers, phones, tablets or any other type of media – we will remove any donated data before refurbishment and re-use.