Apple paid several million dollars to an Oregon woman after iPhone repair technicians upload explicit images and videos to the internet from a phone that she had left at technical service.
As revealed by the English newspaper Telegraph, legal filings revealed that the woman had her iPhone repaired on January 14, 2016 at a repair contractor who had the endorsement of Apple, called Pegatron Technology Service in California.
Then the technicians loaded “extremely personal and private material” on the woman’s Facebook account and elsewhere on the Internet, according to the documents.
The videos were uploaded to give the impression that the woman herself had shared them on purpose, according to the documents, causing the victim “great emotional distress.”
The exact amount of the settlement was not disclosed. Photo: Reuters
The victim learned of the incident when her friends viewed the videos and images on Facebook.
For the episode, the lawyer asked Apple for compensation of $ 5 million for the emotional anguish of the victim. The Telegraph says in this regard that the exact amount of a later settlement was not disclosed, but amounted to a “multi-million dollar” deal.
However, Apple was never directly named in an effort to keep the matter confidential.
The incident was only made public when attorneys for a more recent, unrelated case involving Apple and Pegatron referenced the earlier case in their legal filings, saying that the named client was “clearly Apple.”
Legal documents say the tech company conducted a “thorough investigation” of the facility and the two employees responsible for the incident were fired.
“We take the privacy and security of our customers very seriously and have a series of protocols to ensure that data is protected throughout the repair process,” said an Apple source.
“When we learned of this egregious violation of our policies at one of our vendors in 2016, we took immediate action and have continued to strengthen our vendor protocols ever since,” he added.
This is not the first incident in which a technician has been involved in a case of theft and publication of private images without their consent.
Other scandals with private photos
In 2013, a 27-year-old US store Best Buy customer filed the lawsuit after the photos of a computer he brought in for repair were shared on the internet.
But, as the Telegraph points out, the case undermines Apple’s frequent argument to allow only approved retailers to repair devices, an issue that has garnered more attention amid lawsuits related to antitrust laws.
In its defense, Apple repeatedly emphasized the safety of its own technical services over others, and argued against laws that would allow consumers to make their own repairs, favoring its own authorized repair program.