T-Mobile, one the world’s leading providers of mobile phone services, has recently found itself on the receiving end of a lawsuit. The lawsuit has been filed in the United States District Court of South Carolina by an anonymous plaintiff. According to the plaintiff’s allegations, in early May of 2021, the plaintiff visited a T-Mobile store in Conway, South Carolina to trade in an old, broken phone.
Shortly after the trade-in process, the plaintiff received a call from the T-Mobile store informing the plaintiff that a technician had discovered “nude images” of the plaintiff on the device. The plaintiff claims that despite never consenting to allow any employee to access to his or her photos in the device, the T-Mobile employee had accessed the images and shared them without the plaintiff’s knowledge or authorization.
Beyond the serious violation of privacy, the lawsuit also alleges that the employee violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. This act makes it a crime to access a computer or device without authorization and/or intend to defraud or cause harm to the owner of the computer or device. In essence, this lawsuit is claiming that the unnamed employee not only violated the plaintiff’s privacy but also committed a criminal act as well.
The plaintiff is seeking damages in the form of “compensatory, punitive and statutory damages” as well as legal costs and fees. This lawsuit serves as an important reminder to companies that they should maintain proper access-controls in place for any personnel accessing customers’ devices and information and ensure proper protocol is followed when handling sensitive data of any kind.