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A former Apple employee leaked details about products he didn’t like from his work iPhone, lawsuit says

Apple has filed a lawsuit against a former employee for allegedly leaking confidential information, including details about products he disliked, from his work-issued iPhone. According to the complaint filed on March 18 in a California court, Andrew Aude, a former software engineer hired in 2016, shared information about projects such as Apple’s Journal app and the Vision Pro with media outlets and employees at other tech companies over a five-year period.

Apple accused Aude of breaching its confidentiality agreement and violating labor laws. The lawsuit, initially reported by MacRumors, stated that Apple discovered the leaks in late 2023. When confronted, Aude allegedly denied his involvement, but then proceeded to delete significant amounts of evidence from his device, including the Signal app used for communications.

Despite Aude’s attempts to delete evidence, Apple was able to retrieve screenshots of his communications saved on his work iPhone. The analysis of Aude’s work iPhone revealed over 1,400 encrypted communications with a Wall Street Journal journalist over four months, as well as over 10,000 text messages sent to a journalist at The Information.

Aude’s screenshots, attached to the lawsuit, reportedly showed his anticipation of the chaos that would follow the publication of leaked information. Apple stated that Aude had characterized the leaks to colleagues as a “necessary evil” and admitted to violating his obligations to Apple to “kill” products and features he disagreed with.

Apple claimed that Aude’s leaks led to the publication of multiple news reports and hindered the company’s ability to surprise and delight customers with its new offerings. Despite Aude’s termination, Apple considered him an ongoing threat due to his knowledge of confidential information and history of unauthorized disclosures.

In its lawsuit, Apple sought a jury trial, damages, and an order preventing Aude from disclosing the company’s confidential information to third parties without consent. Apple also requested that Aude forfeit his discretionary bonuses and restricted stock units.

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