Originally posted on Vice by Matthew Gault
Apple paid a multimillion dollar settlement to an Oregon woman after repair techs the company had contracted published nude photos of her from her phone on her Facebook. As first reported by The Telegraph, the unidentified woman sent her iPhone to Apple for repairs in 2016. According to court documents reviewed by Motherboard, two repair techs then posted “10 photos of her in various stages of undress and a sex video” to her personal Facebook page. The case highlights the personal nature of our devices and the need for Apple to relinquish its repair monopoly and let us repair our own stuff.
According to court records, the woman found out this happened when one of her friends reached out to say her nudes had been uploaded to Facebook. She pulled them down and threatened to sue Apple for invasion of privacy and emotional distress. In this case, the people who uploaded the photos and video worked for a company called Pegatron, which is a company Apple works with to do repairs.
For years, Apple has been arguing to legislators that it needs to tightly control who is able to do repairs on iPhones and other Apple products. One of the core arguments it makes is that allowing “unauthorized” repair companies to fix iPhones will lead to privacy violations and will cause security problems. This case shows how, even when Apple tightly controls its repair infrastructure, it cannot prevent disastrous cases like this from happening. In a world where repair is a free and open marketplace, consumers can choose to take their phone to someone who they trust, or can decide to repair their phone themselves. In the current world we live in, you often have to take your phone to Apple; your phone then goes to a giant repair facility somewhere. The phone is essentially entering a black hole…
Read at Vice
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