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Found pictures on hard drive!

bmh1 14 572 1 United Kingdom
7 Sep 2011 6:28PM
I bought a 2nd hand laptop hard drive from ebay, (I was going to put it in an external USB case), but the initial read test showed quite a lot of bad blocks, so I've contacted the seller to see if I can get a refund (no reply yet, but it's only been one day ... )

To see whether the seller knew about the bad blocks as I would have thought that he would have noticed them when he wiped the drive, I had a look at the drive to see if he just got part way through the wipe ...

I've found that the drive wasn't wiped at all, and has a random persons documents, pictures and music on it.

So, do I just wipe the drive before trying to return it to the seller for a refund, or contact the person (quite easy - all their details are on the drive) and find out if their laptop was broken and they thought their data was un-recoverable, it might have been stolen, given to a friend or p/x'd to a shop that should have wiped it ... Would someone be grateful for their pictures back, or just worried that a random stranger now has all their information ?

Any suggestions ?


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User_Removed 16 3.3k 4 United Kingdom
7 Sep 2011 6:37PM
Well the seller clearly can't be relied on where data integrity is concerned. Contact the person and see if they need that stuff.
User_Removed 16 17.9k 8 Norway
7 Sep 2011 7:05PM
But.. be sure to get a contribution to the CD and postage costs first!


(Sorry - was that too 'Mercenary'?)

MrGoatsmilk 11 1.5k England
7 Sep 2011 8:04PM
Another vote for contact them, you never know the seller may be shifting stolen goods via Ebay. Could also be a so called computer repairer who does not care about peoples data. Or just an innocent mistake.
7 Sep 2011 8:32PM
Contact the person who's information is at risk.
keithh 16 25.6k 33 Wallis And Futuna
7 Sep 2011 8:39PM
Do not contact them.

If you suspect that a crime has been committed contact the police.
Jestertheclown 11 8.2k 252 England
7 Sep 2011 8:54PM
Do not contact them.

Do not get involved in any way.

Even if you don't suspect a crime has been committed, contact the police.

Then let them contact whoever they think should be contacted.
BigRick 14 2.1k 3 United Kingdom
7 Sep 2011 9:04PM
i agree, contact the police, and let them deal with it. Smile
User_Removed 16 3.3k 4 United Kingdom
7 Sep 2011 9:24PM
Don't bother the police with this, you don't even know if a crime has been committed. Contact the person whose data that is and explain the situation. If they suspect that they've been a victim of crime then they can contact the police.
keithh 16 25.6k 33 Wallis And Futuna
7 Sep 2011 9:29PM
Wrong advice there. You have no idea how or why the information comes to be on the hard drive or who you are contacting. Contact the police or format and forget.

There must be hundreds of PCs sold each year that contain left over information. If you suspect a crime it's for the police to investigate if you do not suspect a crime then move on.
bmh1 14 572 1 United Kingdom
7 Sep 2011 9:38PM
Well, that's a slight majority who think I should contact the previous owner of the drive ... I have no idea if any crime has been committed, there are a lot of legitimate ways the drive could be for sale, It could be ebay seller and the person who's data is on the drive are the same person and they are just careless with what they are selling .. (I'm sure that paypal used to show the name and address of the person you made payment too, but I don't seem to do that now).

keithh 16 25.6k 33 Wallis And Futuna
7 Sep 2011 9:47PM
Look at it another way.

I sell you a laptop.

You sell it on.

It contains my bank details.

That's my fault

You use those details

That's a crime.
User_Removed 16 3.3k 4 United Kingdom
7 Sep 2011 9:55PM
It would depend what you used the details for whether it was a crime or not. I found a mobile phone the other week and used the details on it to track down the owner, broke the same law as using the details on a laptop hard drive to track down the owner NONE
skewey 14 31 England
7 Sep 2011 9:57PM
If you contact the police and a crime as been committed the Harddrive would become evidence and you will be out of pocket.The hard drive would be returned to its rightful owner. I would confirm that the person who sold you the item was the same as seller, then give them the option of getting the data erased at a cost to them. Hope this helps.
Photogeek 15 605 6 Wales
7 Sep 2011 10:07PM
I buy a Lap top off eBay,

It doesn't work properly, but no biggy to get fixed

I take it to PCWorld to get it fixed

PC World discover Data on the drive . . . Loads of kiddie porn images . . . I get very hard time from police.

Something very similar happened to a friend of mine . . .and unfortunately even though the judge eventually agreed that he didn't obtain them . . .possession (even if you don't know about them) is a crime . . . chap now has another 4 years to go before his name is removed from the Sex Offenders Register.

Format . . . Zero the blank space Completely (using something like Acronis Disk Manager) . . .which may clear the bad blocks, if it does use the drive, if not return the drive. . . . Do not contact the police

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