Apple fires staff amid claims of intimate photos being shared in Australia store

The flagship Apple store in Australia on Sept 16, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

BRISBANE - A number of employees at an Apple store in Brisbane, Australia have been fired after they allegedly shared photos of female customers and colleagues, reported the BBC.

They even ranked the women's bodies out of 10.

Brisbane's Courier-Mail reported that dozens of these photos were taken without the knowledge or consent of the women, and that other images were stolen from customers' phones, according to the BBC.

Apple confirmed an inquiry and said "several" jobs had been terminated. However, it also said that the inquiry had thus far not shown that any photos had been stolen. The inquiry also indicated that no one had been photographed without consent.

The photos - including more than 100 close-up and intimate images according to the Courier-Mail - were said to have been shared and the women's bodies then rated.

The newspaper said the possible privacy breach came to be known after a fellow employee noticed a store technician browsing through a customer's phone in the repair room, reported the BBC.

Another staff member told the Courier-Mail that they were concerned the same situation was happening in other Australian Apple stores.

If the allegations are true, Apple said they would constitute a violation of the company's business conduct policy.

It said in a statement: "Apple believe in treating everyone equally and with respect, and we do not tolerate behaviour that goes against our values."

"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," the statement added.

The Australian Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, is also looking into the alleged privacy breach, according to the BBC.

"We are aware of the reports and will be making enquiries with Apple to seek further information," he said.

"This is an important reminder that all organisations that collect and manage personal information need to embed a culture of privacy and ensure employees understand their responsibilities."

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