Apple Pays Millions to Student After Explicit Photos Leak Online During Repair

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Apple had to pay millions of dollars in settlement to a student after her explicit photos and videos were uploaded online by repair technicians, newly revealed legal documents claim. In 2016, the 21-year girl — a university student in Oregon — had given her iPhone for repair at a major Apple repair centre in California called Pegatron Technology Service. During the repair period, when the phone was at Pegatron, two technicians uploaded nude photos and videos of the student on her Facebook account. These were uploaded in a manner that seemed to suggest that the content was uploaded by the girl herself.

The student sued Apple for causing “severe emotional distress.” The Telegraph was the first to access these legal documents that detail how the two technicians posted “10 photos of her in various stages of undress and a sex video” onto her Facebook account. The content was removed only after her friends informed the girl of what had happened. The explicit content was posted in a manner that suggested she had uploaded them herself.

She had reportedly demanded $5 million (roughly Rs. 36.44 crores) in the lawsuit, but the exact size of the settlement was not disclosed. It was described in filings as a “multimillion-dollar” sum. The settlement included a confidentiality provision that prevented her from discussing the case or revealing the size of the payout. When the incident came to light, Apple conducted an exhaustive investigation resulting in the two technicians being fired. The incident emerged once again after Pegatron reimbursed Apple for the settlement, but the insurers refused to pay up. According to the report, the case was dismissed after Pegatron and the insurers settled privately.

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An Apple spokesman told the publication, “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.”

This comes after Apple has been fighting against ‘right to repair’ laws by campaigners that would enable third-party technicians to repair devices. Apple argues that this would jeopardise safety and privacy and is known to have full control on how its ecosystem of devices are repaired.


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Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to [email protected]
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