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    NPR: When Your Company Kills Your iPhone

    Most people know that they shouldn’t mix work data with personal data for various security reasons, but often, people don’t follow that maxim. NPR takes a look at one reason why people should keep their work information separate from their personal technology: Adding work e-mail to a personal smartphone, such as an iPhone or Android phone, could allow your company to shut down or wipe the data from your personal mobile phone.

    A few weeks ago, Amanda Stanton’s iPhone suddenly went black. […]

    Everything was gone — all her contacts, photos and even the phone’s ability to make calls. It was only after she got home to Silicon Valley that she found out that her phone had been killed by her employer, a publishing company.

    Someone in the IT department had sent out what’s called a “remote wipe,” a kind of auto-destruct command that’s delivered by e-mail. The wipe was done by mistake, and Stanton wouldn’t have been surprised to see this kind of remote control on a company phone. But this iPhone was hers. […]

    The phone doesn’t need to download any new software. All that’s necessary is for the phone’s user to configure it to receive e-mail from a Microsoft Exchange Server — the kind most big companies use.

    Once that’s been set up, an IT department has the capability to wipe the phone and turn off functions like Bluetooth, the Web browser and even the phone’s camera. […]

    But companies often aren’t that transparent about the power e-mail gives them over personal phones. And it’s not just phones.

    IT administrators can send similar commands to iPads and other personal devices that get work e-mail.

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