Apple's 'Stopping Leakers - Keeping Confidential' Employee Seminar Leaks Online

New information about the lengths that Apple will go to in order to prevent and track down leaks has been shared online today by The Outline, which obtained a leaked recording of an internal briefing used by Apple to educate employees on the culture of leaks. Called "Stopping Leakers - Keeping Confidential at Apple," the presentation is said to last one hour and be led by a team of Apple's best security and communications experts including David Rice, Lee Freedman, and Jenny Hubbert.

The briefing was held for around 100 employees earlier this month and is believed to be the first of many such secretive events planned by the Cupertino company. The presentation included information on Apple's Global Security team, which employs an undisclosed number of investigators worldwide "to prevent information from reaching competitors, counterfeiters, and the press." The team is stacked by former members of the NSA, FBI, Secret Service, and U.S. military, and when leaks do occur, they hunt down sources to relay the information back to Apple headquarters.


Throughout the presentation, short videos were played that show Apple CEO Tim Cook presenting a new product on stage during one of the company's keynote addresses, reminding employees of the importance of its big reveals.

After the first video concludes, Hubbert addresses the room. “So you heard Tim say, ‘We have one more thing.’ So what is that one more thing?” she asks. “Surprise and delight. Surprise and delight when we announce a product to the world that hasn’t leaked. It’s incredibly impactful, in a really positive way. It’s our DNA. It’s our brand. But when leaks get out, that’s even more impactful. It’s a direct hit to all of us.”

Although former CEO Steve Jobs was well known for his intense secrecy, Tim Cook is continuing those efforts with force as well, according to Apple vice president of iPod, iPhone, and iOS product marketing Greg Joswiak.

“This has become a big deal for Tim,” Greg Joswiak, Apple’s Vice President of iPod, iPhone and iOS product marketing, says in one of the videos. “Matter of fact, it should be important to literally everybody at Apple that we can't tolerate this any longer.” Later, Joswiak adds that “I have faith deep in my soul that if we hire smart people they’re gonna think about this, they’re gonna understand this, and ultimately they’re gonna do the right thing, and that’s to keep their mouth shut.”

The briefing then looked into the "behind the scenes of leaks" that have happened from Apple's supply chain and in Cupertino itself, with Rice stating that Apple has so successfully reduced factory leaks last year that 2016 was the first year that Apple's campuses leaked more information than its supply chain. He even compared Apple's screening of its factory workers to be more intense than that of the TSA.

Although leaks from its own campuses have increased recently, Rice ensured the employees gathered that Apple does not have "a Big Brother culture" overseeing every move of every employee. Still, The Outline points out that the presentation didn't shy away from Apple's more intense mandates for preventing leaks, with Rice encouraging employees to be constantly vigilant about what they say in front of friends, families, and fellow employees.

“I go through a lot of trouble not to talk about what I work on with my wife, with my teenage kids… with my friends, my family,” an employee in one of the videos says. “I’m not telling you that you give up all relationships,” Rice says, “but that you have a built-in relationship monitor that you’re constantly using.” Apple employees are expected to be discrete in their own office. The hallway and the Apple lobby are referred to as “red zones,” which “aren’t places to talk,” Rice says. The fear of accidentally “breaking secrecy” may be why some newly hired Apple employees tend to delete their Twitter accounts.

During the confidential presentation, Apple assured workers that they could discuss the more normal aspects of the job with anyone they want, like how "crappy [their] boss is," their pay, or report to the authorities if they witness illegal activities. But, continuing the theme of the briefing, Joswiak said that he ultimately hopes all Apple employees "do the right thing, and that's to keep their mouth shut" regarding any unreleased hardware or software information.

Leaks and information surrounding the unreleased "iPhone 8" are suggested as a reason behind Apple's upping of anti-leak education among its employees in Cupertino. So far, we have a pretty good picture of what the smartphone will look like when it launches this fall, including the addition of an OLED screen that measures 5.8 inches, Touch ID integrated under the display, a dual-lens rear camera, and with support for wireless charging.

The Outline has a full report on "Stopping Leakers - Keeping Confidential at Apple" and it's well worth a read.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
43 months ago
A leaked news briefing about Apple telling its employees on not leaking, seems ironic :)
Score: 87 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
43 months ago
Given Tim's awesome pipe line of products, can't be that hard for employees to keep it secret. Tim has done a great job of keeping it secret from everyone for years.......
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
43 months ago
There are just too many jokes to be made about the irony of an anti-leak briefing leaking out.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
43 months ago
Pretty ballsy to leak a session on leaking when only 100 people are present.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
43 months ago
I wonder if we will see a leak about the meeting to discuss who leaked the details of the meeting about leaking secrets?
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
43 months ago
We didn't get Apple Watch leaks, HomePod leaks nor iMac Pro leaks, looks like they are doing a good job so far with leaks.

Also, Gurman did not report anything about iOS 11 but "an updated interface" which was vague af—not even him knew what's up.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Leaker: 'iPhone 12 mini' and iPhone 12 Storage Capacities Start at 64GB, Pro Models at 128GB

Tuesday September 29, 2020 2:31 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple's iPhone 12 launch event will be held on October 13, with the more affordable 5.4 and 6.1-inch devices set to ship out ahead of the more expensive 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch Pro devices, and this morning hit-and-miss leaker Jon Prosser has further committed to that date by providing alleged details on Apple's first shipment of finalized iPhone 12 units. Prosser claims the...

Hands-On With iOS 14.2's New Shazam Music Recognition Toggle in Control Center

Monday September 28, 2020 2:35 pm PDT by
Shortly after launching iOS 14, Apple introduced an upcoming iOS 14.2 update, which is now available to developers and public beta testers ahead of a public release that could come at some point in October. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The iOS 14.2 update mainly focuses on the Control Center, introducing a new Music Recognition toggle that deepens the Shazam...

Top Stories: iOS 14 Feature Tour, 'iPhone 12 mini' Rumors, Apple Watch Band Controversy

Saturday September 26, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
Things started to calm down a bit this week following last week's rush of media event, Apple Watch and iPad launches, and the release of iOS 14 and other operating updates. But that doesn't mean there wasn't still a lot of news, from digging deeper into iOS 14 to more iPhone 12 rumors to the uproar over trying to exchange band sizes on the new Apple Watch. On top of all of that, we heard...

DigiTimes: 12.9-inch Mini-LED iPad Pro Arriving Early 2021, Mini-LED MacBook Coming Later

Tuesday September 29, 2020 4:18 am PDT by
Apple will launch a 12.9-inch mini LED-backlit iPad Pro in early 2021 and a mini LED-backlit MacBook in the second-half of next year, according to DigiTimes. The Taiwan-based industry publication claims Epistar will supply the over-10,000 mini LEDs used in each iPad Pro tablet. Meanwhile, Apple is expected to recruit Osram Opto as another supplier of mini LEDs for use in a new "high-end"...

iPhone 12 May Launch Earlier Than Usual in South Korea

Monday September 28, 2020 5:24 am PDT by
The upcoming iPhone 12 lineup may launch earlier than usual in South Korea, reports The Korea Herald. South Korean telecoms firms speaking to The Korea Herald have said that the iPhone 12 lineup will launch ahead of its usual schedule. Normally, the release of new iPhones in South Korea comes about one month after launch in the United States. Last year, the iPhone 11 arrived in South Korea ...

iOS 14: 'Phoenix 2' Space Shooter Delivers Playable Demo via App Clips

Saturday September 26, 2020 2:08 pm PDT by
One of the new features that arrived in iOS 14 is called App Clips. App Clips is described by Apple to be a "small part of your app" that can be available to users at just the right moment.App Clips focus on finishing one task quickly. An ideal App Clip experience allows users to open and complete a task in seconds. Instead of requiring an App Store download, they can be loaded and run via...

Epic Games Unlikely to Win Injunction in Ongoing Fortnite Battle With Apple, Jury Trial Possible

Monday September 28, 2020 1:14 pm PDT by
The ongoing legal dispute between Apple and Epic Games continued on today, with a preliminary injunction hearing taking place this morning. We're still waiting to hear the judge's official ruling, but it looks like Epic is not going to be granted an injunction to allow Fortnite back into the App Store as the case unfolds. Many of the arguments that lawyers for Apple and Epic Games made were...

iPhone 12 Production Lines at Foxconn's Zhengzhou Factory in China Running '24 Hours a Day'

Tuesday September 29, 2020 3:38 am PDT by
Apple contract manufacturer Foxconn is running its massive Zhengzhou factory in China 24 hours a day to produce the new iPhone 12, according to Chinese media reports. Apple's main iPhone manufacturer in China is said to be cancelling workers' holidays and introducing mandatory overtime with additional bonuses for longer-serving staff, according to information garnered from employees,...

'iPhone 12 mini' Name Reappears in Leaked Apple iPhone 12 Case Stickers

Friday September 25, 2020 1:58 am PDT by
Earlier this week a proven leaker claimed that the iPhone 12 lineup would be named "iPhone 12 mini," "iPhone 12," "iPhone 12 Pro," and "iPhone 12 Pro Max," and today the same nomenclature has appeared again in a photo depicting alleged stickers from unreleased Silicone iPhone cases originating from Apple's international distribution center in Ireland. The photo shows three stickers with the...

Apple Releases iOS 14.0.1 With Fix for Bug That Resets Default Apps After Rebooting

Thursday September 24, 2020 10:12 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 14.0.1, the first update to the iOS 14 operating system that was released on September 16. Today's update is a bug fix update addressing issues that weren't able to be fixed in the initial iOS 14 launch. The iOS 14.0.1 update is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to Settings > General > Software Update. ...