Apple has agreed to pay millions of dollars as part of a settlement to a 21-year old college student who found that her private photos were posted online by repair technicians.
The college student had sent in her iPhone to Apple for repair in Sacramento, California, back in 2016. As per Telegraph, during the repair process, the technicians posted 10 photos of the student in “various stages of undress and a sex video”. The photos and video were posted to the customer’s Facebook account, which made it seem like she posted them herself, which were removed once a friend of the customer told her about the uploads.
Apple pays millions of dollars to a customer because repair technicians leaked her private photos
Due to this incident, Apple was accused of invasion of privacy and causing emotional distress. The employees were fired as a result of Apple starting an exhaustive investigation.
The lawyers for the customer had asked for $5 million during negotiation with the company, but the exact amount has not been disclosed. The lawyers had said that in case Apple does not settle the case, they would sue the company for “invasion of privacy and infliction of emotional distress”, which would result in negative media publicity for the company. As a company that prides itself on privacy and security, such a case would have resulted in the exact opposite portrayal of the company in the media.
Regarding the incident, Apple confirmed and gave the following statement:
“We take the privacy and security of our customers’ data extremely seriously and have a number of protocols in place to ensure data is protected throughout the repair process. When we learned of this egregious violation of our policies at one of our vendors in 2016, we took immediate action and have since continued to strengthen our vendor protocols.”
There is no indication as to how the employees were able to gain access to private data, but the most likely cause is that the iPhone was unlocked and private data was not formatted. Apple always recommends that devices be backed up and formatted before they are sent in for repair.