Apple has caught fire from the public after an article written by an Apple customer went viral (in Chinese) this week in China, where he accused an Apple employee of allegedly hacking into his iCloud account and threatening to leak the data.

Apple responded yesterday through local media Sina Tech with the following statement (our translation):

“We fully respect the trust given to us by our customers and the fact that our customers entrust us with privacy protection and information security. Our incentive for our system design is to protect the privacy of customers. Any Apple Care technical support staff would not be able to get access to customers’ passwords, email content, or photos, etc. We will investigate the incident together with the customer, and ensure Apple’s employees and contractor personnel to adhere to the strict standards we’ve set up in contacting customers.”

According to the Weibo user “America in the past 1999″ (our translation; 美国往事1999 in Chinese), the incident started on February 28 when he called Apple’s customer service line to consult about his iCloud account but eventually got into a dispute with the technical support staff.

The employee, who claimed to be senior technical support advisor, later sent threatening notes to the customer’s three email inboxes and said that if the customer failed to add him on messaging app QQ within one hour, he would leak the personal data the customer stored online. “I used my job to copy your information,” said the employee in a phone conversation recorded and posted online by the customer.

Apple technical support blackmailing “America in the past 1999”

“America in the past 1999” later posted again on Weibo on March 7, saying that Apple has contacted him and said that the employee had been fired. However, the employee had reportedly submitted his resignation a month ago (in Chinese) and was not fired due to the incident, as reported by Sina.

Timmy Shen is a technology reporter based in Beijing. He's passionate about photography, education, food and all things tech. Send tips and feedback to or follow him on twitter at...

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