T-Mobile teaching moment turns ugly

Reader greeted with X-rated image while instructing daughter on the importance of going green

"I definitely have a gripe," says Gripe Line reader Greg. "I received an e-mail from T-Mobile with a link suggesting that I activate T-Mobile's paperless billing. I thought this would be a good opportunity to show my 9-year-old daughter how small acts like this can help with the green movement. So I sat her on my lap and logged into my account."

Those of you who read an earlier Gripe Line post about T-Mobile probably know where this is going. But please don't spoil the ending for everyone else.

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"On the main screen," continues Greg. "I was shocked to be faced immediately with a pornographic image. The image was taken from behind a naked man. There is a nude woman facing him." Greg goes on to offer more details of the explicit image.

Needless to say, this was no longer a teaching moment.

"I immediately minimized the screen," says Greg. "But it was too late. My daughter had already seen it. Thanks to T-Mobile, my child has now had an unwelcome lesson in pornography."

Irate, Greg contacted T-Mobile, where a representative was able to log into his account and view the image for herself.

"She apologized and asked me to hold for a few minutes," says Greg. When she returned, she admitted that Greg's complaint was not the first on the subject of porn on the account page that her office had heard.

"If T-Mobile was aware of the possibility of porn on my account page," says Greg, "the company acted with extreme negligence by not warning me -- all customers -- to take caution and not log in with a minor present -- just in case."

I asked T-Mobile if the company had anything to add on this porn-on-the-account-page fiasco. A spokesperson offered this statement:

T-Mobile is aware of several media reports involving customers who have discovered objectionable or unwanted photos in the MyAlbum section of their T-Mobile online account. T-Mobile wishes to express its sincere regret for any inconvenience or embarrassment this issue may have caused any of our customers.

These images have not originated from T-Mobile, nor are they a result of any hack or security breach of the T-Mobile network.

There are two potential reasons why some customers are seeing these pictures: 1) A third party, whether known or unknown to the customer, has sent the photos to the customer as a picture message (MMS); and 2) A third party, known or unknown to the customer, intended to send photos to someone else, but addressed them to the wrong person.

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