• Varun Reddy

Apple Lawsuit Highlights an Emphasis On Secrecy

Updated: Mar 19

Last Thursday, Apple sued a former employee in federal court for allegedly passing trade secrets to a member of the media. Simon Lancaster, a product design architect, was found passing along highly guarded information in return for favorable media coverage of companies he was affiliated with.

This lawsuit emphasizes the importance that Apple puts on building its products in complete secrecy. Most tech companies highly guard information regarding new products, but Apple is notorious for guarding that information to the fullest possible. Apple uses a system known as ‘disclosure’ where teams working on a project only know about the part they are working on. The rest of the project, whatever the size, is not known to the employees to prevent leaks.

According to the lawsuit, Lancaster reached out to a reporter as far back as 2018 attempting to make deals that would generate revenue for a company he is affiliated with. A statement from Apple claims, “We take very seriously this individual’s deliberate theft of our trade secrets” and Apple embodies that with this lawsuit.

Secret information only becomes available to Apple employees following the signature of a very strict contract. Further, any employee who is carrying secret information must attend scheduled security trainings. The extent to which Apple guard’s new product information is warranted, as they continue to ride at the top of the competitive tech industry.