Apple paid a multimillion-dollar settlement to a woman after iPhone repair techs posted pictures from her phone to Facebook. This is one of the most severe customer privacy breaches yet to be made public. The tech behemoth agreed to cover the amount for Apple-approved repair contractor Pegatron following a 2016 incident in which an unnamed Oregon college student sent her phone to Apple for repairs after it stopped working. Two iPhone repair technicians in Sacramento, uploaded 10 photos of her in various stages to her Facebook account, resulting in severe emotional distress for the young woman, according to the Telegraph’s review of legal records. Pegatron, a major Apple manufacturer with facilities across the globe, had to reimburse Apple for the settlement, according to the news outlet. Legal documents revealed that the woman was paid an unspecified sum, reported to be a “multimillion-dollar” amount and that her lawyers had demanded upward of $5 million, the Telegraph reported. Apple said in a statement that there are protocols in place to ensure the privacy and security of customers during the repair process.
“When we learned of violation of our policies at one of our vendors in 2016, we took immediate action and have since continued to strengthen our vendor protocols,” a company spokesperson said. Apple keeps a firm grip on the repair of its devices, arguing that allowing only approved retailers and vendors to repair its products ensures the privacy of its customers. The revelation of the lawsuit pokes holes in the company’s stance that only authorized retailers can keep customer information secure. The settlement isn’t the first time Apple has had to handle the misdeeds of employees. In 2019, a California woman alleged that an Apple store employee had texted a private picture on her phone to himself. That employee was no longer working for the company after Apple conducted its investigation. Apple store employees at a Brisbane, Australia, location were fired in 2016 for taking candid pictures of female employees and customers’ bodies and stealing photos from consumers’ phones to rank their bodies.