This is what male staff at an Apple store in Queensland have allegedly been caught doing red-handed. If the reports are true, they also stole explicit selfie photos from customers' phones and rated those too. Needless to say, the culprits have been promptly fired by Apple. Good. Riddance.
Staff members from the Carindale Apple store in Brisbane have been caught stealing photos from customer’s phones, taking pictures of customers and staff without their consent, and “ranking” them out of ten. These are the disturbing accusations contained in a report by the Courier-Mail.
In the alarming expose, the Courier-Mail alleges that over 100 “close-up and explicit” images were taken of customers and staff without their consent — and even more were stolen from customer’s phones.
According to Courier Mail’s insider source, the Apple leadership team isn’t answering female staff’s questions about if they have been victims, and affected customers have not been informed of the breach.
Apple confirmed in a statement to Gizmodo that its Carindale store is currently under investigation, and several employees have been terminated for “a violation of Apple’s business conduct policy”. However, the company also insists that there's no evidence of anyone being photographed without their consent, which seems pretty contradictory.
Here's the official Apple statement that is currently being sent to news outlets:
“Apple believes in treating everyone equally and with respect, and we do not tolerate behavior that goes against our values. We are investigating a violation of Apple’s business conduct policy at our store in Carindale, where several employees have already been terminated as a result of our findings. “Based on our investigation thus far, we have seen no evidence that customer data or photos were inappropriately transferred or that anyone was photographed by these former employees. We have met with our store team to let them know about the investigation and inform them about the steps Apple is taking to protect their privacy.”
Apple's wording here is interesting. "Inappropriately transferred" is especially telling -- this strongly suggests that customer photos were accessed and shared at the source, rather than downloaded to another device. Either way, it's still an unacceptable invasion of customer privacy.
If the Carindale 'photograph ring' proves to be genuine, it doesn't bode well for Apple's larger workplace culture or HR training. How could something like this be allowed to happen under management's watch?
We'll keep an eye on this story as it develops. In the meantime, you might want to swing by one of Apple's other Brisbane stores if you require a phone repair -- and maybe delete highly personal photos first, for good measure.