T-Mobile is once again being accused of failing to protect sensitive consumer data after an employee at one of its retail stores stole nude images from a customer’s phone when she came to trade in an old device, according to a lawsuit filed Friday.
The incident is similar to at least eight others levied against T-Mobile in the past, according to court records and news reports. The lawsuit comes as wireless companies and other tech giants face increasing pressure from lawmakers to do more to protect customer data.
The suit, filed in Washington state court, accuses T-Mobile of failing to properly train its retail workers and “turning a blind eye” when employees use their access to steal customer data under the guise they’re helping them with repairs and data transfers.
“For almost a decade, T-Mobile customers across the United States have regularly reported, evidenced by news stories and lawsuits, instances of retail store employees stealing their intimate videos, explicit photos, and bank accounts,” the suit charges. “Nevertheless, T-Mobile has failed to implement any common-sense security hardware or software to protect consumers from their data and privacy being exploited during ordinary transactions at the T-Mobile store.”
In a statement, a T-Mobile spokesperson said: “This was an employee of a third-party authorized retailer, and he was terminated. While we are unable to comment on the specifics of this pending case, we want to underscore that we take customer protection and issues like this very seriously. We have policies and procedures in place to protect customer information and expect them to be followed.”
The victim, who is only referred to as “Jane Doe” in the complaint, states she went to a T-Mobile store at the Columbia Center Mall, about 200 miles southeast of Seattle, last October to upgrade her iPhone XS Max to an iPhone 14 Pro Max. While there, she handed the old device off to an employee so he could transfer her data to the new device.
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