Proclamation honours Data Privacy Day 2013
Economy, Families Monday, January 28, 2013 2:30 PM

VICTORIA - The government of British Columbia has proclaimed Jan. 28, 2013, as Data Privacy Day to raise awareness about the importance of data security and protecting your personal information.

International Data Privacy Day is recognized around the globe to help raise awareness and educate people about data privacy.

One important way to protect your personal data is to safely dispose of your digital storage devices like hard drives, memory cards and cellphones. British Columbians can dispose of old devices through services like Asset Investment Recovery's (AIR) shredders in Victoria and Surrey, with machines capable of shredding electronics into the size of a coin.

AIR offers an easy, environmentally friendly solution for the disposal of old electronics while keeping personal information safe.

For the next two weeks, the public will have the opportunity to come out and drop off old hard drives and smartphones at two-for-one rates at AIR Centres in Victoria, Surrey and Prince George.

Drop-off centres are located:

  • In Victoria at 4234 Glanford Ave.
  • In Surrey at 8307 - 130th St.
  • In Prince George at 3695 Opie Cres.

The centres are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.


Minister of Citizens' Services and Open Government Ben Stewart -

"International Data Privacy Day is the ideal time to learn about protecting your personal information and data security. Technology is a huge part of the world we live in today. It's important to know how to protect your personal information and how to dispose of old electronics like hard drives, laptops and smartphones in a safe way."


For more information about how citizens, organizations and public bodies can protect information and data security, please visit the Office of the Chief Information Officer:

By telephone, people can access more information by calling B.C.'s Privacy and Access Helpline at 250 356-1851 in Victoria or toll free at 1 800 663-7867.

A backgrounder, with tips to protect personal data, follows.


Jason Macnaughton
Communications Director
Ministry of Citizens' Services and Open Government
250 387-3134


Tips on how to protect your personal data

In recognition of International Data Privacy Day, the B.C. government encourages citizens, private organizations and public bodies to learn some simple tips on how to protect their personal information.

Recycling or upgrading your digital devices: Protecting your data

Whenever it is time to say goodbye to a digital device like a mobile phone, upgrading your computer or replacing a hard drive, it is important to remember to protect yourself. Often these devices contain personal data, and it is important you make sure to minimize the chances of anyone having access to it after you recycle or dispose of it.

Here are some tips on how to make sure that your data is protected.

Computers/Hard Drives/Memory Cards


The most secure method of protecting data on an old hard drive is to have it destroyed. You can do this at a specialized shredding facility like the Province's Asset Investment Recovery centres.

Data Wiping

If you cannot remove the drive, or do not have access to a shredder, advanced tools can be downloaded which will allow you to wipe the data from your drive. These tools like Eraser - - or DBAN - overwrite your data multiple times. Once you use these tools, usually the data cannot be recovered from the device.

Reformatting or Initializing

The simplest way to reduce the likelihood of exposure of personal data is to reformat the device. All computers and many other devices include a utility to format or initialize your disk drive. However, this method requires some understanding of the various options available in the utility, and if done incorrectly may leave traces of data that can be recovered. This function is best left to people with technical expertise.

Cell phones/mobile devices

Factory Reset

Many devices allow you to "wipe" your device which will delete almost everything in the memory. This may be called a "hard reset" or "factory reset". Your owner's manual or service provider can usually show you how to do this.

Remove or erase SIM and Memory cards.

SIM card or an external SD/memory cards often store information as well. If you're keeping your telephone number, ask your service provider how to transfer your SIM card to your new device.

SD/memory cards can be where the device is storing photos and other sensitive information. When you are disposing your device, remove these cards or delete any data that is stored on them.

Checking Twice

After you have deleted your personal information, double-check to make sure it is gone. Check these items:

  • Telephone book.
  • Logs for both dialled and received calls.
  • Voicemails.
  • Sent and received emails and text messages.
  • Downloads and other folders.
  • Search histories.
  • Personal photos.
  • If you stored apps on your device, remove them and the data associated with them.


Jason Macnaughton
Communications Director
Ministry of Citizens' Services and Open Government
250 387-3134

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