Several Employees Fired After Data Mix-Up

April 20, 2010

Several employees of the Legacy Village (Ohio) Apple store were fired today—both in person and by telephone—after personal information from a repaired computer was mistakenly transferred to another customer’s Macintosh during a data restore operation. According to several sources, the stores have a standard procedure and method of backing up and restoring hard drive data from customer computers brought in for service. The procedure ensures that data from one back-up is completely deleted after the restore to maintain privacy of all customer information. In this case, an employee backed up a customer’s computer to an external hard drive last month and performed the necessary service. However, a previous customer back-up had not been deleted from that hard drive. When the employee restored the data to the repaired computer, it included the back-up from the previous repair customer, including financial data, photos and videos. After the customer picked up the computer, he/she discovered another person’s personal information on the laptop. The customer contacted the Apple store, and an investigation was begun to determine how the privacy breach occurred. According to sources, the store’s video surveillance tapes revealed that 10 employees had not followed Apple’s procedure for making backups and performing restores on customer computers. Today, those employees were fired for violating the company’s customer data security policy. Sources say there remains a question if those who were fired had been properly trained on Apple’s standard backup/restore procedures. The two involved customers were compensated for the employees’ mistake: they were given Apple gift cards, new Mac computers and a subscription to the LifeLock identify theft protection plan.

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