Study Findings

In 2019, Stellar conducted the world’s largest known lab study of 311 used devices comprising -hard drives, memory cards, and mobile phones- to determine the plausibility of finding residual data on these devices. This systematic study reveals that a majority of second hand devices irrespective of their source – resellers, individuals, or businesses— contained significant amount of residual data including PII, personal data, banking information, income tax records, online login credentials, and other sensitive information. The study report presents empirical evidence on these findings and the high-impact risks of data breach while disposing off used devices.

Devices Analysed & Data Found

Devices Analysed

icon lg Mobile
icon lgMemory Card
icon lgHard Drives

Data Found

icon xsPhotos & Videos
icon xsPassport & Visa
icon xsLogin Credential
icon xsBanking Details
icon xsIncome Tax Filing
icon xsBusiness Contract

These are just some examples of the data left behind.


were vulnerable to Personal Data / PII leakage risks.

High Privacy & Security Risks

What Experts Says


“By employing NAID’s principles to conduct the study, STELLAR has assured the results are accurate and the personal information found in the process was fully protected at all times.”

Robert Johnson


sunil chandana

“I hope this study finds its purpose to build awareness about the potential risk amongst all stakeholders including law enforcement agencies, regulators, consumers, data protection officers and professional information destruction providers. ”

Sunil Chandna


Additional Resources