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Apple tells employees to stop leaking information, in a leaked memo

By William Gayde · 21 replies
Apr 13, 2018
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  1. Apple has issued an internal memo to employees asking them to stop leaking information to the press. This message was then promptly leaked to Bloomberg, where it can be read in its entirety.

    These leaks come from direct employees, contractors, and suppliers and include information about future products and software features. In the strongly worded memo, Apple describes their commitment to stopping and punishing such leakers. They claim to have caught 29 employees last year and 12 of them were eventually arrested. Part of the memo reads as follows:

    "Leakers do not simply lose their jobs at Apple. In some cases, they face jail time and massive fines for network intrusion and theft of trade secrets both classified as federal crimes. [...] Everyone comes to Apple to do the best work of their lives — work that matters and contributes to what all 135,000 people in this company are doing together. The best way to honor those contributions is by not leaking.”

    To help stop leaks, Apple is urging its employees to be wary of reporters and media outlets who may try to befriend them in exchange for inside information. Apple warns that it "may seem flattering" to be approached for information, but that in end, "you're getting played."

    With this memo, Apple has made it clear that they have zero tolerance for leaks of confidential information. They also state that once a leaker is fired, Apple will try hard to make finding employment elsewhere nearly impossible. The memo highlights how earlier this year, they caught and fired an employee who leaked details from an internal meeting. Last year they fired another employee for leaking details to 9to5mac.

    Apple has historically been very secretive about their product cycle and they have generally done a good job of keeping things under wraps. Given their size and the number of contractors they work with, occasional leaks are bound to come out. Apple is not alone though as Google, Facebook, and the rest of Silicon Valley all deal with information leaks.

    Permalink to story.

  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,046   +4,769

    The person the information is leaked to, should be considered a joint effort and hold the same legal charges.
    Rippleman and EClyde like this.
  3. Igrecman

    Igrecman TS Maniac Posts: 245   +144

    Apple leaks = Apple juice
    That's no reason to fire employees
    Digitalzone and JaredTheDragon like this.
  4. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,387   +2,056

    Leak like crazy in exchange for free stuff then laugh when you see your totally made-up rumors appear on third rate websites.
    EClyde likes this.
  5. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,281   +794

    The employees signed an NDA. Why would Apple trust an employee that broke an NDA?
  6. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,603   +573

    Wish the government did the same
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
    lostinlodos likes this.
  7. Apple juice = healthy drink for your competition = not good for market growth.

    That's why NDAs and non-compete contracts get signed.
  8. waterytowers

    waterytowers TS Booster Posts: 113   +17

    Companies take this too far when they push to prevent working again and put people in jail. Apple sells stuff and people buy it. The secret information makes very little difference in the long run. By all means fire them as they breached trust but the rest is a step too far. If a leak causes loss of life or damages to the company irreparably then maybe take it further but come on it's a technology product. Knowing the features a month or 2 early will not effect apple in any meaningful way. My five cents...
  9. Reachable

    Reachable TS Evangelist Posts: 328   +165

    God bless the leakers who expose the sleazy and manipulative, immoral if not illegal machinations by corporations. If companies can hold their trade secrets by love and loyalty well then fine, but if it takes tyranny and threats then the situation is despicable.
    JaredTheDragon likes this.
  10. baskiria

    baskiria TS Enthusiast Posts: 57   +29

    not to mention apple is down the slide with innovation, there is nothing much to leak except when they are catching up with competition.
  11. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,672   +1,922

    Being fired and then seaking legal charges is enough. Actively preventing someone from getting a job is disgusting.
  12. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,181   +1,628

    Modern day feudalism at its best. The only way to fight this is to stop buying crApple products.
    JaredTheDragon likes this.
  13. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 4,174   +2,611

    Technically, such person is an industrial spy, who neither signed any contract with the company no committed any crimes against the state, and thus not punishable by implication, unless the victim chooses to sue him.
    techseven likes this.
  14. kapital98

    kapital98 TS Maniac Posts: 313   +243

    NDA's go far too far. Unless you are working directly on a patent (which the vast majority are not), then these actions are borderline anti-trust. I've seen blanked NDA's in even innocuous contracts. They seem to be a rather nasty rot of modern employment contracts in the tech center. This is not why NDA's were developed nor how they have been interpreted.

    Just to be clear: An Intel engineer should be held to a different standard of confidentiality than the guy who services the computers and hears water cooler talk.
  15. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,046   +4,769

    I didn't suggest that was the way things were did I? I suggested that is the way it should be. I mean seriously a driver of a car is guilty by accomplice to those that rob banks. If the person leaking is guilty of any crimes then so should the person that publishes be guilty by accomplice. To look at it any other way would be two-faced.
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,181   +3,484

    Well, that's very powerfully and eloquently stated, but it would seen you're having a wee bit o' trouble (*)differentiating between someone who leaks information on say, "no headphone jack on the new iPhone", to a "whistle blower".

    A whistle blower might say something to the press or the authorities, about illegal activities such as stock manipulation, or maybe, "the employees at Foxconn are so depressed and overworked, they've taken to killing themselves by jumping out dormitory windows.

    As for "despicable", that could just as easily attach to an employee selling schematics or process secrets. Or, to Apple for canning an employee who let slip out, "BTW, did you know our company is throttling older iPhones, to try and steer you into buying a new one.

    And while it's true Apple has most of their iStooges mesmerized to the point where they simply won't buy anything else, other potential customers might realize that, the "Kung Fu 2.0 is a stolen direct copy of the iPhone and take their business to Fu.

    Although, most "potential customers" in today's market, and particularly the US market, need to call a tow truck with a front winch, to have their heads yanked out of their a**es.

    Long live Apple! Long live Apple's employees. May they forever butt heads with one another, instead of mindlessly walking into the walls at their headquarters...

    (See, I can lay it on pretty darn thick too.. ;) )

    (*) I went with a little bit of dialectic humor there, paying homage to Apple for their clever use of Ireland as a tax shelter.. In spite of the fact, "a wee bit o'", sounds more Scottish to me..:D
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
  17. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,181   +1,628

    That's glass walls at their headquarters, Captain! :D
  18. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,181   +1,628

    In some cases, non-compete and NDAs have been held invalid by courts.
    kapital98 likes this.
  19. JamesSWD

    JamesSWD TS Maniac Posts: 265   +157

    Well...they are the ones that keep banging into the walls at their new HQ.
  20. mbalensiefer

    mbalensiefer TS Enthusiast Posts: 54   +26

    For Apple to hinder employment elsewhere = Illegal.
  21. deemon

    deemon TS Addict Posts: 280   +86

    Are you mad? The person the information is leaked to has absolutely no ties to the company and not signed any NDA's or whatnot for the company and can do with the information whatever he pleases without any fear of punishment.

    Your idea is rather disturbing in fact. It's like some dude kills someone ... tells you about it, which would make you accomplish in his crime? Hell NO!
  22. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,046   +4,769

    What happens inside the company is company business. But if it is considered criminal, then it is no longer company business and should include all parties involved. You must be a reporter to get butt-hurt over what I said.

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