Markey worried about digital copy machines storing personal data

Beware of that copy machine in your office: it could be storing sensitive information on its digital hard drive.

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is concerned that digital hard drives in copy machines are storing images of every document scanned, copied or emailed by the machine. And the machines are usually leased and then passed on to other companies, making previously stored documents accessible on the hard drives for years to come.

Markey today sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, urging the agency to "immediately investigate the matter" and giving consumers information about privacy risks associated with digital copy machines.

"I am very concerned that these copy machines can be a treasure trove for identity thieves, allowing criminals to easily access highly sensitive personal information," Markey said.

Last week, CBS aired an investigative report revealing that nearly every digital copier manufactured since 2002 contain hard drives that store images of documents. The report also showed that a 2008 study found that 60 percent of Americans aren't aware of the storage capabilities.

A copy of the letter is here.