Why rumors of Apple seeking to silence iPhone leakers are unsettling

Sections: Apple Business, Features, iPhone, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, Opinions and Editorials

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An unusual amount of leaks have been coming from Apple’s Chinese supply chain in the lead up to the company’s announcement of the iPhone 6. Apple, of course, has always preferred to be as secretive as possible when it comes to their new products, and the company hasn’t been known to intentionally leak information like some companies do. And so, as we covered earlier this week, it is hiring security officers and asking the Chinese government to help in the search for leakers, according to reports from Sonny Dickson.

Sonny Dickson—as you may recall—leaked photos of the iPhone 5 prior to its release. Now, he has posted two tweets explaining Apple’s plans.

First, Dickson says Apple has reached out to Chinese authorities to see if they can identify and find the people responsible for the leaks, since many of them are coming from the company’s Chinese supply chain.

Second, Dickson reports that Apple has also enlisted “about 200 security officers” who will help both Apple and the Chinese government find people who have been leaking information and pictures of iPhone 6 accessories.

Just this past week we have seen cases for the iPhone 6 leaked and even the phone’s back cover, both of which reveal information about Apple’s upcoming phone.

Though it makes sense for any tech company to try and limit leaks, asking for help from the Chinese government could be viewed as a little bit extreme. There are not many news stories about China arresting or dealing with technology bloggers in a harsh way, but the country’s force has been shown in other instances. During the past six months, dozens of news stories have come out showing how China arrests citizens who are simply writing about current events, so Apple giving that same country a reason to target another group of people just seems like it could end up badly.

It’s important to remember that supply chain leaks mean they are coming from factories like those owned by Foxconn. Working conditions are horrible in those factories and have lead to threats of suicide from workers, so having a crackdown on anyone leaking information could easily result in workers ending up in situation in which they do not deserve to be.

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  • Mark Nilsson

    Then they shouldn’t leak… information that is…

  • E.P. Scott

    Enforcing contractually prohibited information does not make Apple evil. If suppliers are leaking information, then Apple has every right to protect that information if it was legally agreed upon contract execution to NOT leak said information. What’s unsettling is this type of journalism which lacks any kind of proper analysis. If Apple had no legal claim in the form of an NDA or other legally binding measure then absolutely I could see how this could be considered heavy handed.

    But do you really think that Apple hasn’t protected itself with such legally binding agreements?

    Apple just wants to control and protect the brand so that customers don’t make bad decisions based on faulty information.

    These leaks can be damaging for multiple reasons. But it’s nothing new and other creatives have suffered from leaks unjustly. For example, the recent Quentin Tarrantino leaked script from the reading sessions forced him to abandon the project because it would no longer be a surprise. Why ruin the surprise?

    Having leaked information isn’t going to alter Apple in anyway or get that shiny new thing in your hand any faster. Christmas comes once a year, let us enjoy our Christmas Eve. Like Christmas, you know Apple has an annual refresh schedule for these phones…why can’t that info be enough?

    I will admit that I am a former Apple employee and will go back to them in the future because they are a great company with great people. So I am biased. Just keeping it honest.