Apple Pays Millions To Woman Whose Nudes Were Posted To Her Facebook By Repair Technicians

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Apple iPhone

Apple paid millions of dollars to a college student after iPhone repair technicians uploaded her nude images and videos to her Facebook account.

Legal documents in the discreet case show that the tech giant agreed on an undisclosed multi-million dollar sum with a 21-year-old woman over an incident that occurred at an Apple repair facility in 2016. 

The images were uploaded from the woman’s phone by two employees of the facility after she had sent her phone to Apple for repairs. 

The phone was sent to an Apple repair contractor in California called Pegatron Technology Service.

The case undermines Apple’s ability to protect customer’s privacy despite their continued efforts against allowing independent technicians to repair their products. 

Apple is accused of posting customer’s nudes. 

Two technicians posted “10 photos of her in various stages of undress and a sex video” to the woman’s own Facebook account, without her knowledge, making it appear as if she had shared the images herself. 

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The woman, a university student in Oregon, was informed of the privacy breach by friends who had already seen the posts.

She says the ordeal caused her “severe emotional distress.”

Her attorneys asked Apple for $5 million in compensation, and though the exact settlement has not been revealed, it was described in court filings as a “multimillion-dollar sum.”

The victim’s lawyers had previously threatened to sue for invasion of privacy and infliction of emotional distress and warned Apple about the negative publicity the case could generate. 

The settlement came to light in a lawsuit between Pegatron and its insurance provider. After Pegatron reimbursed Apple for the settlement, its insurance provider refused to foot the cost.

Apple’s name was initially kept out of the case and referred to only as “customer,” but another case revealed the tech giant's involvement. 

Apple launched an “exhaustive” investigation following the incident and the two employees responsible for sharing the images have been fired. 

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Apple has opposed using external technicians. 

The incident creates a direct challenge to Apple’s long-standing argument against allowing independent technicians to fix Apple devices. 

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The tech company has claimed that letting external technicians control repairs threatens the privacy and safety of customers. However, their grasp on privacy appears somewhat compromised by this case. 

The company has long been lobbying against right-to-repair bills. Twenty-seven states considered these bills in 2021 and, already, more than half have been dismissed or voted down. 

Advocates for the bills say that tech companies want to monopolize repairs, forcing customers to pay high prices or purchase new products. They also argue that this has a disastrous environmental impact by encouraging customers to get rid of older, damaged products rather than pay high repair costs. 

Apple, and other tech companies opposing the bills, say external technicians could rip off intellectual property and expose consumers to security risks.

While it is impossible to say whether or not an external technician would have shared this woman’s images without her consent, the case at the very least diminishes the trust that Apple customers place in their repair technicians. 

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Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Catch her covering all things social justice, news, and entertainment. Keep up with her Twitter for more.