Recently, an Apple memo warning its employees about leaking internal documents was, well, leaked. Apple has continuously warned its employees about the dangers of leaking confidential information to the media.
The leaked memo revealed that Apple had caught 29 leakers last year, adding that to the 12 former employees who were also arrested for their actions. The memo stated the consequences of leaking information, highlighting that these people will not only lose their jobs but can also face extreme difficulty finding employment elsewhere.
Apple has invested extensively in its internal investigations to identify and catch leaks as early as possible. The digital forensics of Global Security, used by Apple for its investigations, also discovered the identities of several employees feeding confidential information about the iPhone X, iPad pro and AirPods to a blogger. Global Security is also working with suppliers to prevent leaks and the theft of intellectual property.
The consequences of being guilty of leaking go far more than the loss of a job; it can lead to imprisonment and huge fines, mainly stemming from federal charges relating to network intrusions and trade secret infringement.
Apple feels that leaking information demoralises everyone at Apple and undermines the time and effort they have invested in creating the products. The effects of a leak are felt beyond the people who work on a particular project; it is felt throughout the company.
Internal leaks are frequent in companies, but have been noted to be on the increase at Apple particularly. In February of this year, Apple’s iBoot code was posted on GitHub, and iPhone X’s specifications were also leaked to the public. Moreover, leaked information about a new product can negatively impact sales of the present model and give rival companies more time to begin on a competitive response, which further leads to fewer sales of that new product when it is launched.
The memo also calls for employees to respect each other’s work. Apple is known as one of the most secretive companies in the world and has been the subject of many rumours and leaks, both factual and made up.