Apple’s Internal Memo On Prosecuting Leakers Ironically Leaks To The Web
Apple CEO Tim Cook and other members of Apple's executive team want employees to know they will make it very difficult for them if they leak inside information about the company or its products. However, at least one of the folks Apple is directly addressing wasn't intimidated by a recent memo posted to the internal company blog detailing how Apple will take action against leakers. Nay, this Apple leaker leaked the memo threatening to destroy leakers if they leaked any more confidential information. Cook may be in his office spinning his totem right now thinking this must be an Inception-induced dream.
In the memo, Apple says it "caught 29 leakers" last year and out of those 29 caught, 12 of them were arrested. The memo read, "These people not only lose their jobs, they can face extreme difficulty finding employment elsewhere."
The memo also talked about specific situations where details had been leaked, presumably to illustrate that Apple is talking about much more than leaking images and specs on coming products. The memo talked about information that leaked from a meeting where software engineering lead Craig Federighi said that some iPhone software features would be delayed. Another example Apple gave was the leak of a software package that gave up details on the unreleased iPhone X and Apple Watch.
Apple and Cook haven't delivered the effect desired on stopping leakers, despite Cook having pledged back in 2012 to double down on secrecy at the company. Bloomberg posted the full text of the memo which cites one example of a leaker that was caught. The memo reads, "The employee who leaked the meeting to a reporter later told Apple investigators that he did it because he thought he wouldn’t be discovered. But people who leak -- whether they’re Apple employees, contractors or suppliers -- do get caught and they’re getting caught faster than ever."
The memo also warns employees about reporters who befriend them. It reads, "In many cases, leakers don’t set out to leak. Instead, people who work for Apple are often targeted by press, analysts and bloggers who befriend them on professional and social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and begin to pry for information. While it may seem flattering to be approached, it’s important to remember that you’re getting played. The success of these outsiders is measured by obtaining Apple’s secrets from you and making them public. A scoop about an unreleased Apple product can generate massive traffic for a publication and financially benefit the blogger or reporter who broke it. But the Apple employee who leaks has everything to lose."
As for the 29 leakers caught in 2017, those included Apple employees, contractors, and partners in Apple's supply chain. "The potential criminal consequences of leaking are real," says Tom Moyer of Global Security in the memo, "and that can become part of your personal and professional identity forever." Back in February, a supply chain leak revealed the alleged display assembly for an iPhone X Plus.