Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has been investigating the alleged stolen photos from female customers’ iPhones at an Apple Store from Australia. The company said there was no evidence to support claims of the “photo-ring” that was taking place at the store.
The original claim in Brisbane’s Courier-Mail assured the staff in a retail store in Queensland secretly took photos of female co-workers and shoppers and that they were stealing and sharing pictures taken from iPhones they repaired.
A colleague reported the situation to the manager. The employee suggested some of the pics were part of a “photo-ring,” where the staff would rate the snaps on a 1 to 10 scale based on the appearance of the subject.
Apple fired some of the store’s employees
Apple said they found no proof that employees were stealing and transferring photos or that they were photographing anyone without consent.
However, the Apple Store fired some of the employees alleging they were involved in some kind of “wrongdoing.”
“Apple believes in treating everyone equally and with respect, and we do not tolerate behavior that goes against our values,” said Apple in a statement. The company dismissed the Brisbane employees for violating its conduct policies.
Apple’s troubles might extend beyond a single store, according to Australian media. The Courier-Mail assures similar photo-sharing groups exist at another Apple retail in Australia. The tech giant already sent a human resources executive to Brisbane to handle the problem.
Apple Stores in Australia have made it to the headlines for bad reasons in the past
In November 2015, employees at an Apple store in Melbourne told several black teenagers to leave the place because the staff thought they “might steal something.”
Apple’s retail stores are famous because of quality customer service and technical help. However, the accusations illustrate the risks and potential privacy concerns of handing over a smartphone to someone else.
The possibilities that a company could either erase or steal pictures from someone else is a legitimate concern. Not every user knows how to back up their images before sending their handsets in for repair and leave all of their pics – and information – in the hands of strangers.
Apple had to pay over $3000 to a British man last year after one of its stores wiped 15 years’ worth of photos and contacts, including memories of his honeymoon.