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Third Party Repair Exposes Women to Unique Data Privacy and Safety Threats

By Courtney Mattison

When going on a walk or returning home late, women are taught to avoid streets that lack proper lighting and to stay on guard for anyone following too close. This heightened need for situational awareness is because walking down a street at night is a different safety experience for women. Unfortunately, emerging reports suggest third party repair shops are also uniquely dangerous for women.

Our devices have become lifelines and contain everything from our location and banking data to sensitive photos and contacts. The plethora of information that could be compromised and exploited during a repair where too much access is granted presents immense safety concerns.

A quick internet search will tell you women have been made to feel unsafe during repair of their devices. From a user on Reddit who saw her password used to access photos and sensitive conversations during repair to this Ars Technica report that shows empirically women are at much higher risk of data compromise during repair.

From Samsung’s new “repair mode” to Apple’s new advanced protections, it’s important to recognize the safety features built into devices and manufacturers’ repair processes to help address these concerns. Most repair processes have been designed to be completed without accessing your account or providing passwords to third parties. Caution should be exercised when a technician seeks too much access.

As the push for third party repair and access to our devices continues, it’s important to note it could undermine these manufacturer protections and leave women’s safety and data privacy compromised. A third-party repair shop is not the place to let your guard down.

Published on May 8, 2023