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Australian Apple store fires staff after claims they stole intimate images from customers' phones

By midian182 ยท 16 replies
Oct 13, 2016
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  1. Apple has fired staff from one of its Australian stores following allegations they were sharing photos of female customers and colleagues. It's also claimed the employees were stealing images from iPhones that were being repaired.

    The original report in Brisbane’s Courier-Mail claimed the staff secretly took photos of female co-workers and shoppers without their knowledge. These were added to a sharing ring, which reportedly contained over 100 intimate images, including close-ups of women’s chests and behinds. The pictures were then rated out of 10 by the four employees involved.

    The publication also states that female iPhone owners who brought their devices in for repair had photos copied from the handsets. It was only when a staff member noticed a store technician looking through a customer’s phone in the repair room that things came to light. The Carindale store brought in an HR executive from overseas to look into the matter.

    Apple said that based on its investigation thus far, it has found no evidence that customer data or photos were inappropriately transferred or anyone had been photographed without consent. However, the company did say that several employees have been terminated as a result of its findings – so it must have discovered some wrongdoings.

    “Apple believes in treating everyone equally and with respect, and we do not tolerate behavior that goes against our values," the company said in a statement.

    The chance that a firm could steal or accidentally erase photos from a phone is a concern for many people. Not everyone knows to make backups of their images before sending a handset in for repair. Just last year, Apple had to pay a UK man $1810 in compensation and $1166 in court costs after one of its stores wiped photos of his honeymoon and 15 years worth of contacts when his iPhone was sent in for repair.

    This is the second time an Australian Apple store has created unwelcome headlines for the company. In November 2015, several black teenage students were told to leave an Apple store in Melbourne because staff thought they “might steal something.”

    Permalink to story.

  2. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,549   +235

    Hmm... Well, if you are going to take these pictures and LEAVE them on the device, what guy isnt going to want to look. Moral or not... especially when you see what brings in the device, it's almost impossible to resist.

    I have inappropriate pictures of myself on my phone, I'll admit it. If I left my phone with someone like that, I'd almost expect them to look. SO, I'd be sure to either, A. Not give a **** (I'm a guy) or B. Delete the images from my device before handing it over. B is really so simple, I dont see why that's a problem and it will keep someone out of trouble. It's like dangling crack in front of a crack addict, WHAT DO YOU EXPECT?! LOL
  3. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,158   +829

    So let's assume you do give an f but your phone got an issue which needs to be repaired in order to... who would've thought of... use the phone! Yes that's right, you don't have access to your phone nor the internal memory, you have those pictures there, you take it to repair. You expect whomever fixes it to go around your phone? Look at your facebook, your calendar, your contacts, pictures, email, everything?

    It's a moral and ethic issue, but specially since you are using a big company service like Apple, what you are expecting is that they will only fix your phone and that's it. The problem is they have no way to ensure this.
  4. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,549   +235

    I guess I'm different, but yes. I have absolutely no concerns for this... for a couple reasons... but apparently I think the worst of people. But also then, It's a good thing for me too, that I can usually fix my own stuff. There's also a passcode/lock on my phone, so if what I could not access was due to a broken screen, giving them the device, having them fix it, would not give them access. But I'd fix a broken screen myself, anyways. I cant really think of a situation where this would affect me. As I've commented before, I'm very carefull with my ~$700 device. I dont buy something like this to throw around and break.

    I'm really not trying to argue with you or anything so if it feels like it, well, I'm not.... but like I said, I think in this aspect I'm a bit different.

    I agree its a moral and ethic issue, and it has to be really hard to make sure boys going through puberty, and even those after, wont want to look at pictures of the attractive woman that they just might happen to take with their phone. I'm not sure if a broken screen warrants giving someone the passcode to fix it. I'm trying to think of other scenarios where if the hardware is broken, that you actually have to give up access to the device... but I'm coming short...
  5. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,549   +235

    Is there a way the Apple employees could bypass the lock on the device?
  6. Lurker101

    Lurker101 TS Evangelist Posts: 798   +318

    Should've known better really. They should've had a sign in the storeroom reminding staff that the NSA already called 'dibs'.
    JohnMD1022 likes this.
  7. Igrecman

    Igrecman TS Maniac Posts: 200   +109

    I suddenly wanna sue all the employees from the photo stores who in the past saw my pictures, printing them to paper.
  8. petert

    petert TS Booster Posts: 176   +49

    It can happen - for instance my old nexus 5 gave up the ghost last winter. It just keeps rebooting and it only reaches the Google logo. I looked it up and apparently it is a very common fault which has to do with the power switch. Now, presumably I have some embarassing photos there (I am not saying I do and even if I had, I would not admit it!), the repair shop staff has full access to them. I did not encrypt the device and due to the fault, I cannot remove the photos before sending it for repairs (still in warranty). I chosen to promote to nexus 6p and not to repair the device. I had like on year worth of photos on that device but I am not missing them at all (crappy camera just like nexus 6p has - don't believe the reviewers).
  9. andrewdoyle88

    andrewdoyle88 TS Booster Posts: 93   +69

    Apple really dodged a bullet; if any of those images became public I wouldn't want to be on the other end of that lawsuit.
  10. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,549   +235

    You say its a fault on the power switch? Would disassembling it help? You didnt put a pin/password or any lock on the device? You dont necessarily have to encrypt to keep your stuff safe, at least not from the average level tech repair.

    From what I see, you dont have an SD card slot. So your images will be saved to the board, along with other things that I've read, they will have to replace the motherboard to fix the issue, this would essentially be a new phone, since your photos should be stored on the on board sd card/phones memory. So it's likely they will be thrown away when the motherboard is thrown out, or just ask for the part back if you drop it off for a repair. That way you can dispose of it as you please. Not the best reasult, but I dont think anyone is getting to your pictures. :p

    Whole post oh xda developers site with people talking about this problem.

    There's tons of information about this issue and it seems like an easy fix, even for someone not too experienced.



    Edit: Opps, I really didnt mean for the video to play in the forum like that. I just wanted to make a link. Now this post looks really obnoxious... sorry.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2016
    petert likes this.
  11. RzmmDX

    RzmmDX TS Guru Posts: 313   +67

    I thought cops did something like this too.

    Or was it an episode of Law and Order...
  12. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 2,780   +1,530

    Or maybe the Keystone Cops ..... oh wait, I doubt any of our readers have any idea of who they are! LOL
  13. Kenrick

    Kenrick TS Evangelist Posts: 410   +256

    I hate these kind of people knowing that they will have your phone for repair then do something like this. What if that was your mother or your sister?

    I always tell my family that before bringing the phone for repair, backup then do a wipeout. If they use android, removing the microsd would help also.
  14. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 7,968   +2,867

    I blame the customers. If they're stupid enough to send their devices in for repairs without backing up sensitive data first then it's their fault, I have no sympathy for them. Granted, the tech's shouldn't be going through the customers files but that's just temptation and human nature for you.
  15. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,512   +900

    The main issue I see is that the employee(s) taking pictures of customer's chests and butts in the store. The other part, is well just stupid of the owner.
  16. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,549   +235

    Yea, me too. Or rather, not having passcodes or any kind of lock on their device. Most repairs are going to be for a screen, which they dont necessarily need access to the contents on the phone to repair. BUUUUUT this is apparently not popular opinion.

    Edit: What repairs would they actually need access to the contents of the phone for?
  17. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 7,968   +2,867

    They don't, but it's just in human nature to be nosey about other peoples stuff.
    It's plain, simple common sense to know that a mobile device can be lost, stolen or break at any time so if people have any sensitive data on it, they should take it off ASAP ind store it elsewhere, cloud, thumb drive, HDD, DVD, whatever...

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