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Apple using lockdowns and cellphone searches to curb leaks?

updated 08:00 pm EST, Tue December 15, 2009

Team of moles allegedly watch HQ and retail stores

Apple's Worldwide Loyalty Team allegedly uses lockdowns and cellphone searches to root out individuals that may be responsible for information leaks, according to a source, known only as Tom, who contacted Gizmodo. The unconfirmed report suggests the team, reportedly known as the Apple Gestapo by many employees, is composed of investigators that keep a close eye on employees from the company's Cupertino headquarters and even the retail stores.

"Apple has these moles working everywhere, especially in departments where leaks are suspected," Tom claims. The management is allegedly unaware of the team on a day-to-day basis, although the most senior manager in the building will be asked to help coordinate a lockdown, known as an 'operation,' if a leak is suspected.

During a lockdown, the loyalty team allegedly supervises as the managers collect cellphones from each employee. Standalone cameras are not an issue, as they are already banned from the company headquarters. Each iPhone is backed-up to a computer, while devices from other manufacturers are thoroughly searched for recent pictures, text messages, or other potentially incriminating evidence.

Employees are reportedly required to activate the screensavers on their computers, preventing them from communicating with other employees or outsiders. If an individual needs to make a phone call, they must ask for permission and allow the call to be monitored.

"It is like a gag order, and if the employee does not want to participate, they are basically asked to leave and never come back," Tom said. Employees are also asked to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).

Suspected sources of leaks are allegedly interrogated and intimidated with threats of legal action. Apple has also been accused of providing fake images to help pinpoint certain employees or departments, while the Worldwide Loyalty Team monitors all of the corporate e-mail correspondence.

A separate report was critical of Apple and its overseas supplier after a factory worker committed suicide, allegedly following an interrogation relating to a missing iPhone prototype. It is unknown if the investigation involved Apple's supposed Worldwide Loyalty Team.

by MacNN Staff




  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Well, what a perfectly Orwellian name for the "Worldwide Loyalty Team". Apple sounds like a terrible place to work.

  1. EternalGuest

    Joined: Dec 1969



    apple is tough on leaks?

    in other news.... grass is green.

  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Basically, Apple...

    doesn't want employees telling them how to run their business! This is not news, most companies feel the seme way. You have to earn your stripes.

    Think about it for 10 seconds. Companies these days, their survival, depends on keeping the lid on UNLESS leaking information will be beneficial (from the PR dept.). Take a look at ALL the leaks MacNN reports from the PC manufacturers such as Dell... and guess what? No one cares. But if it is from Apple, the rumors start. This can generate good publicity or hype which can't be matched when the product is finally released.

    No company needs employees whose "wet dream" is to become (in)famous by revealing Apple's secrets to someone else, often to ANY one else.

    You don't like the work environment? Where have you been all these years? DO you know what the legal ramifications of an NDA are? If you had any guts, quit; you can't have it both ways. Look at how successful Apple has been! Their way works. Your way is your own ego not backed by any kind of retainer. I wouldn't hire wannabes either--most likely, neither would you!

  1. Treuf

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I understand their goal

    but I don't approve the methods.

    Such searchings would be totally illegal here in France - while others would require a judge order or at least referral to employee representatives or work inspection.

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Apple + Gestapo = Gestapplo?

  1. TiberiusMonkey

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Tom said...

    Well it must be true if Tom says so.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969



    but not surprising. Jobs HATES leaks and for a company that's such an innovator... leaks are deadly to their bottom line and stock price.

    If I worked for Apple, I would assume I'd be paid well enough to tolerate this gestapo c***.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Apple hired the Massad for their internal security?

  1. Nostromo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Hmmmm...

    > Apple + Gestapo = Gestapplo?


    Apple + Gestapo = Appleapo

    It rolls of the tongue better.

  1. macnixer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    ISO 27001

    is a certification and now almost a requirement for and from many companies producing sensitive info, products etc. Actually Apple can always use this or ISMS as a shield. Fact is the ISMS policies can be so tough that it is impossible to walk into a center with a cell-phone. Tom is having problems so he should leave the job. Did you know the DOD requires special clearances before you could work even cleaning up the restrooms? So what are we expecting.

    I have personally been involved in ISMS implementation and believe that the companies have the right to protect their data. The Press will holler because this stops any 'leaked' news for them to generate viewership.

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