Blog: Android

Second hand budget Android tablets spark privacy and online safety concerns

Joe Bursell 17 Sep 2014


As reported in The Guardian earlier today we’ve been researching data, privacy and child protection issues in the wake of our second-hand Android tablet findings.

Essentially the cheaper tablets have no function to effectively wipe them before resale or donation.


We acquired 20 devices for £20 or less each and attempted to see what we could extract from them.

The findings were troubling to say the least

Most of the devices had been the property of a child, evidenced by the photographs and social media information we were able to retrieve. It was possible to get this information even from devices that had supposedly been factory wiped.

The issue is that a factory wipe is a flawed process on some devices, it doesn’t successfully delete your sensitive data.

When selling or donating an old tablet our advice is:

  • Don’t sell or give away old tablets unless you are 100% certain that the wipe has been effective.
  • If your tablet supports encryption you should encrypt it via system settings then run a factory wipe. This will protect old data even if the device is compromised.
  • If you have sold an old tablet and are worried that the wipe wasn’t effective you should change your passwords ASAP. Yes, your data may well be lost but this will prevent the compromise of social media, Google Play, gaming etc. accounts.