The USA, June 7: Apple has paid a multi-million-dollar penalty to a student after her under-repair iPhone at a service centre was used to post explicit photos and videos from her phone on social media. The act was conducted by two repair technicians at an Apple repair facility in California run by Pegatron.
The grave privacy violation took place in 2016 when a university student in Oregon had sent her phone to the Apple service centre for repair. As the phone was being fixed, two technicians posted 10 photos of the student “in various stages of undress and a sex video” found within the phone onto her Facebook account.
The post on Facebook was made in a way that suggested that she uploaded the content herself. The images were removed after the student was informed of the post by her friends.
As per the legal filings, the exact amount of the settlement was not disclosed. However, it has been described as a “multimillion-dollar” sum, as the lawyers for the individual demanded $5m (£3.6m) in settlements.
The settlement was agreed upon, with the sum being compensation for “severe emotional distress” to the individual resulting from the incident. As part of the settlement, a confidentiality provision was also agreed upon, preventing the individual from discussing the case or revealing the payout amount.
The confidentiality agreement was meant to avoid “substantial business harm”, as Apple insisted on confidentiality throughout the settlement. For this reason, Apple was simply referred to as a “customer” throughout the proceedings.
The tech major was only recently named as the customer during a separate, unrelated lawsuit it faced. Apple confirmed the incident to The Telegraph.
The confidentiality agreement left many details of the incident hidden. What is known is that the two employees have been fired after an “exhaustive” investigation by Apple. Apple has also been reimbursed for the settlement by Pegatron. Pegatron and its insurers, who refused to pay the bill, have now settled the matter privately.
The incident shows a glaring loophole in the tall claims repeatedly made by Apple over the strict control of its repair facilities. The company has often cited this as an argument against legislation that would make it easier for third parties to fix its devices. It seems like Apple’s case does not seem too strong if such incidents can occur within the company’s well-monitored facilities.