Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Inside Apple’s Fight Against Leaks

The last time anyone wrote about Apple’s “plumbers”, that I can recall, was in 2009, when Gizmodo’s Jesus Diaz called them the “Gestapo” in his usual tone of moderation and subtlety.

Today, though, William Turton of the Outline has the big scoop:

A recording of an internal briefing at Apple earlier this month obtained by The Outline sheds new light on how far the most valuable company in the world will go to prevent leaks about new products.

The briefing, titled “Stopping Leakers – Keeping Confidential at Apple,” was led by Director of Global Security David Rice, Director of Worldwide Investigations Lee Freedman, and Jenny Hubbert, who works on the Global Security communications and training team.

I can’t wait for Thurton to have leaked to him the audio from the investigation into this leaked anti-leaking audio. Got that? Good.

If you’ve been following Apple for any length of time, you might have noticed how little leaked for WWDC this year, as compared to previous years. Specific details — seven tweeters and a woofer, a Mac Pro-esque design, and so on — of the HomePod were known beforehand, but that sort of thing tends to come from the supply chain. In recent years, though, the balance between supply chain leaks and corporate leaks has apparently changed:

However, Rice says, Apple has cracked down on leaks from its factories so successfully that more breaches are now happening on Apple’s campuses in California than its factories abroad. “Last year was the first year that Apple [campuses] leaked more than the supply chain,” Rice tells the room. “More stuff came out of Apple [campuses] last year than all of our supply chain combined.”

I wonder if Apple is including in this the prerelease peek of the black Milanese Loop band, the prerelease ads for the iPhone 7, and the framework leak of the TouchBar-equipped MacBook Pros. Other than those secrecy blunders, it still seems like the vast majority of leaks originate on the assembly line, even recently.