Apple recently sent a lengthy memo warning employees about leaking. As you might have guessed, that memo got leaked.
On Friday, Bloomberg News published what it described as an “internal blog” post in full. The memo warned that Apple “employees, contractors, or suppliers—do get caught, and they’re getting caught faster than ever.
The post also reportedly noted that, “in some cases,” leakers “face jail time and massive fines for network intrusion and theft of trade secrets both classified as federal crimes,” adding that, in 2017, “Apple caught 29 leakers, and of those, 12 were arrested.”
It is not clear what precise charges those arrested face.
Leaks are nothing new for Apple or any other Silicon Valley firm, but they have been particularly abundant at Apple of late. As recently as February 2018, Apple’s iBoot code was posted to GitHub. Last September, iPhone X specs were also leaked. In June 2012, an AT&T executive admitted to leaking Apple-related information to investors. Many leaks, like news about Apple working on its own processors and developing a way to make macOS and iOS software interoperable, have appeared in Bloomberg, which published this leak as well.
Also in 2012, Ars spoke with anonymous Apple employees, one of whom suggested that fully protecting against leaks is practically a losing battle.
“You’ve got thousands of people working on manufacturing something who have no vested interest in keeping it secret,” one employee said, adding that he believes leaks will continue to increase as Apple ramps up overseas manufacturing operations. “It will be increasingly hard to hide the industrial design we do because we manufacture things overseas. Since we don’t do it in the US, it may be hard to surprise people over anything in the future.”
Way back in 2006, Ars reported on a California state appellate court decision that found in favor of Apple-leaking sites—the company could not force them to reveal their sources, citing California’s journalist shield law.
Apple did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment.
The US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment either.
“I have reached out to our high-tech crimes unit for additional information, and I will be happy to relay that to you upon receipt,” Terry Lynn Harman, an assistant district attorney in Santa Clara County (where Apple is based), emailed Ars.