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Apple sues former employee for leaking Journal app for iPhone and more

Joe Rossignol

Apple sued former employee Andrew Oda in California state court this month, alleging he violated the company's confidentiality agreement and labor laws by leaking confidential information to the media and employees of other technology companies. Apple has requested a jury trial and is seeking damages in excess of $25,000.


Aude joined Apple as an iOS software engineer in 2016, shortly after graduating from college. According to the complaint, he worked on optimizing battery performance, which gave him “access to information about dozens of Apple's most sensitive projects.”

Leaks

The lawsuit alleges that Over the course of five years, Aude used his Apple-issued work iPhone to leak information about more than a half-dozen Apple products and policies, including its then-unannounced Journal app and Vision Pro headset, product development policies, and regulatory compliance strategies. , number of employees and much more.

For example, in April 2023, Apple alleges that Aude passed on a list of completed features for the Journal iPhone app to a reporter for The Wall Street Journal during a phone call. That same month, Aaron Tilley of The Wall Street Journal published a report titled “Apple Plans to Use iPhone Journaling App to Expand Health Initiatives.”

Using Encrypted Messaging App Reportedly Signal Od sent “over 1,400 messages.” messages to the same journalist, whom Aud called “the housekeeper.” He is also accused of sending “more than 10,000 text messages” to another journalist for The Information website and allegedly traveled “across the continent” to meet her.

Screenshot included in lawsuit
Other leaks concern Vision Pro and other equipment:

As another example, a screenshot of Mr. Oda's Apple-issued work iPhone in October 2020 shows that he disclosed information about Apple's development of products in the spatial computing space to a non-Apple employee. Mr. Od made this statement despite Apple's development efforts being confidential and not publicly known. Over the following months, Mr. Od disclosed additional confidential information to Apple, including information about unannounced products and hardware information.

Apple believes Od's actions were “broad and targeted” , with Aud allegedly admitting that he leaked the information to “kill” products and features he had problems with. The company alleges that his improper disclosures resulted in at least five news articles discussing the company's confidential and proprietary information. Apple says the public revelations have prevented it from “surprising and delighting” with its newest products.

Apple finds out

Apple said it learned of Odom's improper disclosures in late 2023, and the company fired him in December of that year for the alleged misconduct.

In a November 2023 interview, Apple claims Odom denied leaking confidential information. information to anyone. . However, during this interview, Apple claims that Ode went to the bathroom and deleted a “significant amount of evidence” from his work iPhone, including the Signal app, which he used to communicate with “Homeboy.”

During the interview, B In a subsequent interview in December 2023, Apple claims that Ode admitted to some of his improper disclosures, but claims that he provided only “narrow admissions limited to information that he was unable to destroy.”

Apple has attempted to resolve this the matter is out of court, but the company said Od refuses to cooperate:

Apple does not easily file a lawsuit against its former employees. However, as a result of Mr. Odom's deliberate destruction of evidence, Apple cannot know what he disclosed, to whom, or when. Before filing the lawsuit, Apple asked Mr. Od to ​​resolve the issue. Over a month ago, Apple contacted Mr. Odom to understand the full extent of his leaks and to ask for his full cooperation in resolving the matter without litigation. However, Mr. Ode did not agree to cooperate.

Aude also allegedly refused to sell restricted shares of Apple that he received as part of his compensation package.

Apple said that Od poses an “ongoing threat” to the company due to his “long and extensive history of disclosing [confidential information] to third parties intentionally and without authorization, his ongoing relationships with people at other technology companies and journalists.” and his attempts to cover up his misconduct.”

Apple is seeking both compensatory and punitive damages in an amount to be determined at trial, and is also seeking other relief.

Full the text of the complaint can be viewed in this PDF file.

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