E-waste activist jailed for copying 'worthless' Windows disks

Rodiano Bonacci
Aprile 26, 2018

The Washington Post tells the story of Eric Lundgren, a lauded e-waste innovator, electric vehicle enthusiast, and CEO of recycling firm IT Asset Partners, who is about to spend 15 months in prison for making 28,000 Windows restore discs aimed at preventing old PCs from being landfilled - even though Microsoft makes the discs available for free download and the discs are useless without a legitimate license key.

"I am going to prison, and I've accepted it", Lundgren told The Washington Post, seemingly OK with the sentence but not the crux of the issue.

Restore discs are typically provided for free with the purchase of a new computer and are useful if the OS installation becomes corrupt or otherwise gets wiped. Lundgren allegedly ordered 28,000 of the Windows restore disks and had them shipped to Florida where he hoped to sell them to PC fix shops at the price of 25 cents each.

Lundgren in turn said Microsoft was upset he was helping people extend their life of their old computers, ruining their "profit model".

"Unlike most e-recyclers, Mr Lundgren sought out counterfeit software which he disguised as legitimate and sold to other refurbishers. This counterfeit software exposes people who purchase recycled PCs to malware and other forms of cybercrime, which puts their security at risk and ultimately hurts the market for recycled products". "What I'm not okay with is people not understanding why I'm going to prison".

Lundgren told The Washington Post that he's been given a couple of weeks to get his affairs in order before surrendering. At what point do people stand up and say something? But e-waste is not something to be brushed off lightly either.

Lundgren made a name for himself in recycling e-waste, with a company that repairs and reuses over 41 million pounds of defunct electronics every year.

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