The treasure trove of possibly incriminating data and sensitive information held on our obsolete or broken devices is an issue that probably doesn’t trouble technology owners nearly as much as it should, but the story of a Best Buy customer’s embarrassing Facebook debacle may give some pause the next time they’re asked to hand over a device with access to accounts or services.
As HuffPo points out, pretty much everyone knows that if you leave your phone on the table at a party when you go to the bathroom, there’s a likelihood friends will abscond with it and post something stupid to your Facebook wall or Twitter feed. (Depending on how fast you pee.) But Colorado Best Buy customer Rich Dewberry thought he’d been more judicious than your average kegger attendee, leaving his cell phone at a local Best Buy for repairs and finally abandoning it when it was just cheaper to replace.
Dewberry acquired a new phone in the process, but what happened as well while his old handset was still active is somewhat disturbing. According to Dewberry, a Best Buy employee “outed” the Colorado resident on his Facebook page, posting “I am gay, Im [sic] coming out” to Dewberry’s Facebook wall. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Dewberry says it wasn’t long until calls started pouring in from family and friends who’d seen the engayment notice on Facebook and were stunned at the announcement. Dewberry is straight, and he says that he had to tell people he hadn’t talked to in a significant amount of time that he is, in fact, still batting for the same team:
“The phone just started ringing constantly after that, from ex-spouse to friends… I feel I’ve been humiliated, you know, I mean, my reputation has been tarnished.”
In response to the story hitting the news, Best Buy issued a very weak statement that really doesn’t make me feel any better about my data’s safety at the retailer:
“Each year, every employee of Best Buy is asked to review and sign our Code of Ethics, which includes details on how they are expected to handle customer information.”
Dewberry says he’s considering legal action against Best Buy after his Facebook outing.