Apple fires store employees for stealing intimate photos from iPhones brought in for repairs by female customers

When you take down your smartphone to a service center for repairs you generally go to the manufacturer’s authorised dealership to avoid any prolifering of your data from your mobile. And iPhone owners are specially lucky as Apple has very good Apple Stores to cater to repairs and service requests from millions of its Mac and iPhone buyers.

But something went wrong in one such Apple retail store in Brisbane, Australia. The staff posted there allegedly stole intimate images of female customers who brought in their  iPhones for repairs. Apple promptly responded by firing the staff responsible for stealing and rating customers’ pictures as part of a photo-sharing ring.

The issue came to light after a staff member at the Carindale store noticed a technician looking through a customer’s phone in the repair room, The Courier-Mail reported. According to the report, the Apple store staff from Carindale store were stealing photos from female customers  and sharing them on a photo-sharing ring. Further, such stolen photos were allegedly giving ranking of 1 to 10 based on their bodies on a ten point scale.

One Apple staff member told The Courier Mail that such “disgusting” practice was also occurring at other Apple stores. In a statement, Apple confirmed the Carindale store was under investigation and staff had been fired.

In a statement on the matter, an Apple spokesperson said: “Apple believe in treating everyone equally and with respect, and we do not ­tolerate behaviour that goes against our values. We have met with our store team to let them know about the investigation and inform them about the steps Apple is taking to protect their privacy.”

However, there is more to it than what meets the eye. The employees from that particular store have been fired but Apple maintains that the images of such female customers have not been shared. Apple maintains that there is no evidence that female customers were victimized.

“Based on our investigation thus far,” Apple said, “we have seen no evidence that customer data or photos were inappropriately transferred or that anyone was photographed by these former employees.”

The Australian Privacy Commissioner is also looking into the alleged privacy breach. “We are aware of the reports and will be making enquiries with Apple to seek further information,” said commissioner Timothy Pilgrim.

“This is an important reminder that all organisations that collect and manage personal information need to embed a culture of privacy and ensure employees understand their responsibilities,” he added.