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Friday, June 24, 2022

The rise of the modern-day ‘Peeping Tom’: How creeps are stealing nude photos from phones

A creepy T-Mobile employee stole nude photos of a young Queens woman when she went to the store to trade in her phone last September, a shocking new lawsuit alleges — as legal experts and advocates Fear has been dubbed modern times. “Peek.”

Karen Munn, 24, waited patiently as a North Boulevard store employee took her device to a locked room to see if she “qualified” for a trade-in, but when she emerged, her heart was ablaze. After getting a glimpse of his phone stopped.

“I saw her Photos app open with, like, a bunch of my photos in there,” Munn told The Post, referencing the dozens of intimate images of herself that she kept on her device.

“I felt like a part of me was stolen,” she said.

“I wanted to scream.”

Munn, who was born and raised in Flushing, details the incident in a lawsuit filed Thursday against T-Mobile, alleging that the company was negligent in hiring, training and supervising its employees and that Created an atmosphere that allowed his privacy. Violation.

A lawsuit alleges that T-Mobile is well aware that employees steal customers’ sensitive data, and they haven’t done enough to stop it.
Getty Images

The lawsuit alleges that T-Mobile knows full well that employees steal customers’ sensitive data and hasn’t done enough to stop it because Munn’s case is not an isolated incident — it happened several times in the past. Has happened.

In November 2015, a T-Mobile employee downloaded intimate videos of a couple to upgrade their phones, and in June 2017, a worker emailed a customer’s intimate videos to himself, the lawsuit says.

In November 2018, a T-Mobile employee played an intimate video of a customer to himself and other store employees in Mace Landing, NJ, and in December 2020, an employee stole the identity of a customer and their bank in Dartmouth, Mass. Accessed the account. states.

T Mobile
A T-Mobile spokesperson said the employee who took Munn’s photos was “separated” from T-Mobile shortly after the incident.
Ronen Tivoni / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

The news reports reveal other similar incidents across the country that happened not only at T-Mobile stores, but also at other retail outlets operated by major cellphone providers such as AT&T and Verizon.

Many stories resonate with what happened to Mun.

When she first arrived at the store on September 23, the employee told her that she needed to connect her phone to a computer in the back room to see if she was approved for a trade-in and She was obliged, making a request a normal part of the process, according to Munn and Sue.

“What’s likely to go wrong?” He remembered thinking.

After some time, the employee came forward and said that he was unable to access his device as it was locked.

“He gave me a piece of paper with a pen, which he drew from the back, and … said, ‘Listen, I want you to write my passcode on this paper for me so I can unlock it from the back’ And plug it in to the computer to see if your phone is company-approved,'” Munn recalled.

T-Mobile Store, North Blvd., Queens In This Lawsuit
Munn alleges that his photos were stolen at this Queens T-Mobile location.
Google Maps

“I was like, well, that’s true. If my phone is locked, he can’t plug it into the computer, because you have to unlock your phone to plug it into the computer. So I was like, ‘Okay, here’s my passcode.’ He’s a worker, he’s a professional… he’s just doing his job.”

But when Munn saw her private photos and realized the request was made to steal nude images of her, he confronted her and admitted he was taking them, claims her lawsuit. Yet he didn’t remove them, and Mun still worries about where the photos might end up.

“I trusted him because I would never think that an employee, you know, would take advantage of his job and do that to someone, it was so crazy to me,” Munn told The Post.

“Even though it happened, you know, months ago, I’m still thinking about it every day. It’s something that keeps me awake at night. I’m super anxious. Sometimes… I pass out and I’d love, what if that person saw those pictures?

Munn said that after the initial incident, she could not sleep, had difficulty working and now suffers from depression and anxiety.

“It’s so embarrassing. Although I suffer here, I feel like I did something wrong, just let it happen to me,” she said.

Cell Phone Stock
The unlawful dissemination of intimate images has been a crime in New York since 2019.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

“It’s really hard to put into words how I feel.”

Munn’s lawyer, Andrew Stengel, said there are likely thousands of others who have suffered in the same way and are simply not aware.

“It was fortunate that the boy’s phone screen was facing Karen and the app was open,” Stengel said.

“For each of Karen and the other victims, there are probably 100 or 1,000 people who don’t know that their data, intimate pictures, and financial information were taken. They just don’t know.

“T-Mobile likes to boast about their coverage area when they should focus on properly covering customers’ data privacy.”

A T-Mobile spokesperson said in a statement that the employee who took Munn’s photos was “separated” from T-Mobile shortly after the incident.

“We take customer privacy very seriously. It is against our policies,” the spokesperson said.

“We are unable to share additional details.”

The company declined to comment on the measures, if any, taken to prevent recurrence of such incidents.

While non-consensual image sharing, sometimes referred to as revenge porn, has long been an issue and is illegal in most states, it is usually something that happens between intimate partners. Yes, not among strangers.

Lindsey Song, co-chair of New York’s Cyber ​​Abuse Task Force and deputy director of the Courtroom Advocates project at the Sanctuary for Families, said intruding into a stranger’s personal device is the “next level” of gender-based violence and sexual harassment.

“With cell phones and our entire lives being on cellphones and laptops and electronic devices, I think this is unfortunately the next frontier of these things to affect gender-based violence and sexual harassment,” Song said.

“I think it simply shows that these images can be transferred to someone’s phone or laptop or whatever electronic device they have and without knowing… AirDrop and even remote Bluetooth There are a lot of ways with file sharing services that won’t leave any trace.”

Dr. Marina Sorochinsky, an investigative psychologist who studies behavioral patterns in violent sex crimes, compared the act to modern-day “peeping toms”.

“With these crimes, including those in intimate relationships, the medium changes but the basic psychology remains the same. People use different means to achieve the same kinds of goals: control, power and sexual satisfaction,” explained Professor Sorochinsky from St. John’s University.

“Right now criminals are using this kind of modern technology and modern methods and modern media to get the same things. The legal system, the criminal justice system is what criminals are using now to commit the same kind of crimes. Trying to catch up. It’s no different. It’s just a different mode.”

While the unlawful dissemination of intimate images has been a crime in New York since 2019, Song said officials need to do a better job enforcing the law and raising awareness that such acts are a crime.

While Munn thought about calling the police after the incident, she did not, and did not realize that what had happened to her was a crime until she later researched it.

Carrie Goldberg, a high-profile attorney whose practice focuses on representing survivors of digital sex crime, said Munn’s incident raises many terrifying questions about privacy in a digital world.

“These devices break all the time. Our screens get cracked and we have to fix them. And if we can’t trust the corporations that fix them, how do we trust and expect these corporations? Are they not going to access the same content from afar? he questioned.

Carrie Goldberg
Carrie Goldberg said Munn’s incident raises many terrifying questions about privacy in a digital world.
Natan Dvir for the NY Post

“We are handing them a lot of our personal data whether it is in a physical device or in the cloud. Bill of Rights is needed more. If someone comes into that store, they should be told, there should be a sign or something saying that we will never take this phone out of your eyes,” she continued.

“There’s no way for the customer to know that something unusual is happening.”

As for Munn, she hopes that telling her story can help save others from suffering the same way she was.

“I want everyone to know how big an issue this is. I really want to shed light on this and I want to get justice for other women or men,” Munn said.

“I don’t really have the power to stop this from happening, but I can help it happen to a lot of other people.”

World Nation News Desk
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