Data removal 

A volunteer typing on a laptop with other laptops being wiped in the background

We know how important data security is and it is our priority to ensure your data is handled securely and destroyed completely.  

Our Data Removal Policy 

The logging of your device’s arrival in our database and the removal of any remaining data is our priority once your device arrives at our centre. We take all reasonable measures to ensure this is done as soon as possible.  All devices will be wiped of all data to a level matching or exceeding the standard defined by the UK National Cyber Security Centre.

The device is first examined for any removable media, which will be taken out and either wiped separately or physically destroyed. Then the device is securely wiped. The method for doing so depends on the type of device, but all methods follow government guidelines and data destruction standards.

Laptops & Computers (see below for business donations)

These are wiped according to the HMG Infosec Baseline Standard, which involves writing zeros to all areas of the drive and a second pass to check this is successful. This leaves the drive completely blank, and no data is retrievable from it.

For Apple computers with MacOS, the built-in Disk Utility program is used with the write-zero method specified in the utility’s security options.

 

For other computers, PartedMagic is used to wipe the drive independently from the operating system.

Telephones, tablets and similar devices

We factory reset these devices using their built-in software.

​Chromebooks
 

We reset Chromebooks using the built-in Powerwash utility, which does a factory reset equivalent to the facility provided by a telephone.

Business Donations

If your organisation requires proof of data removal we use Blancco’s drive erasure software. This wipes to the same standard we use but also provides a digitally signed proof of erasure certificate.

For more information click here.

Wiping Your Own Device

Before donating your device to us, we recommend that you reset it yourself. This will ensure that you remove any locks that may prevent us refurbishing the device, such as a user account.

You should also make sure that you removal any removable media, such as SD cards, DVDs, and SIM cards.

If you are unsure how to wipe your device, then don't worry. There are a many online guides and we have included some below: 

 

A guide from the UK National Cyber Security Centre

Which? Guide for Windows computers and Chromebooks

A guide for Android phones

An Apple guide for Mac computers

An Apple guide for iPhones and iPads

ThirdParty Data Destruction 

If your device is not working, doesn't receive security updates or is too old to be useful then we will make sure it is fully recycled. When this happens, we send it to our partner ToRecycle who are a recycling and WEEE waste disposal company.

They are have full certification for data destruction and are registered with the Information Commissioner. When we give devices to them, they wipe them or destroy them to standards equal to or higher than those that we use, and they provide full documentation of the process for each device they process.

You can read more about their data destruction policy here. 

GDPR and Data Cleaning Policy Statement

We have a duty to ensure that donated devices are securely wiped so that donors’ personal information is completely removed before allocation to recipient organisations.


For personal data there is a legal requirement under GDPR for Community TechAid as a Data Processor to ensure all personal data has been removed. We also have a duty of care to ensure other data that would fall outside of GDPR has been removed.