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Taxi survey reveals extent of mobile losses through forgetfulness

Credant Technologies : 17 September, 2008  (Technical Article)
With over 50,000 mobile phones left in London cabs in the last 6 months, Credant Technologies reminds users of the need for encryption to protect valuable or sensitive data
This year has yet again seen many high profile cases of sensitive and personal information go missing and to top it all a survey released today shows that Londoners are more forgetful than ever, with the back of a London black cab being one of the most likely places to lose your mobile device as fretful and absentminded travellers rush onto their next destination leaving their precious mobile devices behind.

That's according to a survey released today by Credant Technologies, which found that in the last six months alone, Londoners have forgotten a staggering 55,843 mobile phones (that's almost 3 per taxi) and 6,193 other handheld devices such as laptops, iPods and memory sticks!

The survey in London was carried out amongst licensed taxi drivers - to gauge the frequency and ease with which mobile devices are lost in transit and to highlight the issue that if you do travel with information that is sensitive then consider encryption so no-one can access the data at any point, or at the very least, password protect it - as it could end up in the wrong hands.

A warning message to the business community and individuals to be vigilant when travelling with their mobile devices has never been more relevant, especially as more people than every before are using the latest range of "must have" mobile smartphones to store sensitive personal and business information.

Many of these devices now have the capacity to store as much as 10,000 Word documents, 11,000 pictures, 500,000 contact details or an amazing 1.1 million emails, making them an obvious target for identity theft criminals and hackers who can steal this information and assume the identity of the user both in their personal or business life.

Michael Callahan -Chief Marketing Officer at Credant Technologies said "It is clear that none of us are infallible, it's easy to forget things when you're travelling - in the old days it used to be small items like umbrellas, now it's mobile phones and other devices. It's only when you've lost a mobile device containing all your friends, family and business contacts or your company's data, that you really understand how disastrous it can be. If it gets into the wrong hands of a criminal, hacker or opportunist losing your mobile device can have serious implications, so our advice is always encrypt it and password protect it to stop it ever being accessed by anyone other than yourself."

The "Taxi Survey" was carried out at the same time in both London and New York and it would seem that New Yorkers and Londoners are both as work-obsessed as one another with passengers using almost half their time (44%) at the back of the cab to catch up on work, either on the phone or by email, that's what the canny cabbies estimate from observing their passengers from the rear-view mirrors.

If you are to lose your mobile phone or other mobile device there's no better place than the back of a cab, with 80% of the cabbies claiming that their owners were reunited with them once they found the device at the back of the cab. In New York the chances of getting your mobile device back was less with 66% of the cabbies handing them into the depots at the end of the day.

When the cabbies were asked to recall what the strangest objects were that they'd found at the back of their cabs it was amusing to learn that it wasn't uncommon for people to leave their most precious possessions including their kids, a drunken wife left as a tip, £2,700 - which apparently made it's way back to the owners, 12 dead pheasants (how did they get those in the cab in the first place!) and a casket of funeral ashes (didn't find out whether they got reconciled with their owners).

And that is before we get to the cabbies that found false teeth, artificial limbs, condoms and a bra in the back of their taxi!
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