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Iphone Security Apple

Punishing Security Breaches 151

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the it-has-to-happen dept.
Schneier has a story on his blog this morning about punishing security breaches. This one is in response to the tale of Gray Powell, the Apple engineer who left an important bit of technology in a bar recently. You might have heard of it. You also might have been on either the breacher or the corporate side. I'd hate to be in either position myself.
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Punishing Security Breaches

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @11:10AM (#31984604) Journal
    I caught a an article on NY Times [nytimes.com] that outlines the San Mateo police's options for prosecuting Gizmodo for purchasing the leaked iPhone. From the article:

    California law prohibits the sale of stolen goods and states that a person who uses someone else’s lost property without permission may be guilty of theft.

    And since it's over $950, it's a felony. Even if they didn't know it was stolen, they could face a lesser charge of "misappropriation of lost property" which is a crime but not theft. Charges haven't been pressed yet but the police say they're investigating the options.

    • by Thanshin (1188877) on Monday April 26, 2010 @11:15AM (#31984692)

      And since it's over $950, it's a felony.

      $950? That's nothing. Was there any song in the IPhone?

      • by Yvan256 (722131) on Monday April 26, 2010 @11:37AM (#31984940) Homepage Journal

        Yes there was! Over 9000!

        And according to the RIAA, 9000 songs at 0.99$ each equals 5 billions in damages and 3000 years of prison!

        • by BrokenHalo (565198)
          We could pursue the DRM issue forever, but there's a completely unrelated lesson Apple could learn from this debacle if they cared to. If the offending phone was indeed left on a barstool, a question arises (in my mind at least): If Apple are so damned clever, why can't they make their phones small enough to fit in a pocket of your jeans?

          Then nobody would have to leave the device out in plain view for anyone to pinch.
        • by Culture20 (968837)

          And according to the RIAA, 9000 songs at 0.99$ each equals 5 billions in damages and 3000 years of prison!

          Of course, distribution is the key there. so gizmodo is off the hook, but the Apple employee and the guy who sold are going to be hit with $5B each due to potential electronic spread.

      • by ccguy (1116865)

        And since it's over $950, it's a felony.

        What's the reference price, the one you buy it for to the thief, the price the original owner would need to pay to have it replaced, the price the original owner paid...?

        • by stonewallred (1465497) on Monday April 26, 2010 @12:20PM (#31985504)
          Which ever one that allows the DA to charge you with a felony. Unless of course you are connected, then it is which ever one that allows the DA to charge you with a misdemeanor which he'll drop under a prayer for judgment. The amount of leeway a DA has is what makes the US legal system appear to be so uncorrupted when compared to the rest of the world. But the corruption lies within the system, at the level of discretion the DA and judges have.
          • by nanoakron (234907) on Monday April 26, 2010 @03:46PM (#31988210)

            Uncorrupt?

            The amount of leeway a DA has in laying charges, and the fact that they are elected to office, are precisely the reasons why the US legal system appears more corrupt than our own here in the UK. Placing all that power and discretion in the hands of one individual is like playing with fire - if you commit a crime that belongs on their 'pet hate' list, they may level tougher charges than might otherwise seem appropriate.

            Moreover, plea bargaining is a despicable idea in a supposedly free society, particularly when it amounts to nothing more than bullying and intimidation to extract a 'confession' (the plea) - and we all know confessions obtained under duress are entirely untainted don't we...This is why plea bargaining is rare in almost every other civilised nation.

        • by Yvan256 (722131)

          Since it's a development unit, it would be interesting to see Gizmodo pay for the R&D costs of the next iPhone.

        • by Kitkoan (1719118)

          And since it's over $950, it's a felony.

          What's the reference price, the one you buy it for to the thief, the price the original owner would need to pay to have it replaced, the price the original owner paid...?

          The reference price is the one the lawyers can make up at the most highest price point, regardless of reality. This has been shown with the RIAA lawsuits.

    • by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday April 26, 2010 @11:18AM (#31984728) Homepage

      Beat me to it.

      [Gizmondo] "didn't know this was stolen when we bought it."

      Riiiight. The difference between "found" and "stolen" is entirely in the mind of the... "finder". Heck, you can "find" a bike in the street... if you jump on it quick enough. Hang around gas stations, and you may "find" a car with the keys still in the ignition.

      Go into Gizmondo's office late at night - "find" an open window - and wow, look at all the gear just ripe for "finding". After all if it's not grasped tightly in someone's hand at that very moment, it doesn't belong to anyone, right?

      They paid $5000 for something that they knew - by their own admission - did not belong to the seller. If that's not dealing in stolen goods, then I don't know what is. You don't even have to know the law to be sure - a child could tell you that it's unethical and wrong.

      • by Pharmboy (216950) on Monday April 26, 2010 @11:27AM (#31984836) Journal

        The question is: will they simply pay a fine, or will someone actually get to face a criminal charge? All too often (in the US) people get off free because the offense is blamed on the Corporation® and not the individual acting on behalf of the corporation. If this is knowingly purchasing stolen goods, then it should be treated like any other case of the same.

        • by Thanshin (1188877) on Monday April 26, 2010 @11:43AM (#31985030)

          All too often (in the US) people get off free because the offense is blamed on the Corporation® and not the individual acting on behalf of the corporation.

          Just for reference, this:

          Kaffee: Did you order the Code Red?
          Col. Jessep: I did the job I...
          Kaffee: *Did you order the Code Red?*
          Col. Jessep: *You're Goddamned right I did!*

          doesn't work in real life.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Sandbags (964742)

          I'm not an expert in CA's version of this law, but here, it;s only stolen property if its REPORTED stolen, or if the owner comes to claim it and wishes to prosecute. Apple admitted they're not interested in filing criminal charges against Gizmodo (they could not buy publicity like they got, even if they didn't want it on that day). Since there's noone to make the charge, the police can not act on their own. Cops can't bust you for unreported crimes unless they're under certain statuates.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            In California the police can arrest you for a misdemeanor if they have reason to believe that it has been committed. Any citizen can arrest you for a felony that they have reason to believe you have committed. They have to witness a misdemeanor, though. Citizens can also not issue citations, obviously. Is there anything stopping the DA from filing charges?

            • by Sandbags (964742)

              Arrest? yes. Be issued a warrant? no.

              Case in point, the CA DA has STOPPED further investigation until Chan's status as a journalist (which we all easily can agree he is) is confirmed, and if so, charges will be dropped and the case can not legally continue. Additionally, they have questioned the content of the warrant per CA law, and the existance at all of a crime.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by StikyPad (445176)

          Meh.. in most cases I would agree with you, but Gizmodo made it known that they had the property (after the finder himself tried to contact Apple), and returned it to the rightful owner when asked. Purchasing the property may have been an offense within the letter of the law, but it's a very weak chain of events for claiming damages when the property was promptly returned.

          The only real damage here was the loss of confidentiality. But if Apple didn't want the information in public, they (or Mr. Powell acti

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Bakkster (1529253)

            Meh.. in most cases I would agree with you, but Gizmodo made it known that they had the property (after the finder himself tried to contact Apple), and returned it to the rightful owner when asked.

            After disassembling it, and posting the disassembly photos on their website, earning a huge wad of cash from advertisers in the process.

            Purchasing the property may have been an offense within the letter of the law, but it's a very weak chain of events for claiming damages when the property was promptly returned.

            Actually, the letter of the law prohibits the user from any use (I believe the statute says 'realizing benefits from') of the solen property as well. If they purchased the iPhone in order to funnel it directly to Apple to preserve their confidentiality, you would be right. However, they made money off the prototype, putting them clearly in violation of the law.

            That said,

            • by vux984 (928602)

              As to it being stolen, until they had it they didn't KNOW it was an apple iphone prototype. It could have been some chinese knockoff. Indeed, odds are higher than not that "some random person trying to sell an lost iphone prototype" is passing a scam.

              Further they returned it.

              Actually, the letter of the law prohibits the user from any use (I believe the statute says 'realizing benefits from') of the solen property as well.

              All they did was purchase a phone, which might might have been lost, might have been st

              • by Bakkster (1529253)

                As to it being stolen, until they had it they didn't KNOW it was an apple iphone prototype. It could have been some chinese knockoff. Indeed, odds are higher than not that "some random person trying to sell an lost iphone prototype" is passing a scam.

                And once they knew it was an iPhone (they themselves pointed to its well-laid-out internals that it was almost certainly Apple), they lost that excuse. Note that they only broke the story after they were certain it was an iPhone. The courts would need to decide if they made a sufficient effort to return the phone at that point.

                All they did was purchase a phone, which might might have been lost, might have been stolen, or might have not been an iphone at all, and then reported on it, and returned the device to the owner once it had been confirmed genuine.

                If that were all they did, we also wouldn't be talking about it. They also blogged about finding it, even disassembling it and posting the internals. I think that loses them their

                • by StikyPad (445176)

                  The story existed without Gizmodo paying for it. They didn't pay the guy to lose his phone -- they just paid for exclusive information *about* the phone (and how it was lost).

                  • by Bakkster (1529253)

                    But it was complicated by exchanging money for possession of the phone. As they say, possession is 9/10ths of the law. If they only took possession the phone, or only paid the guy for a story they would probably be in the clear.

                    I'm not saying Gizmodo intended to be malicious, or that they caused grave harm to Apple. What I am saying is that it does appear that they likely committed a felony according to CA law.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Jawn98685 (687784)

          The question is: will they simply pay a fine, or will someone actually get to face a criminal charge? All too often (in the US) people get off free because the offense is blamed on the Corporation® and not the individual acting on behalf of the corporation. If this is knowingly purchasing stolen goods, then it should be treated like any other case of the same.

          You don't understand. The Supreme Court of the United States has determined that corporations (e.g. "big business") get to enjoy all the benefits of citizenship with none of those annoying responsibilities (paying taxes, obeying the law, etc.). If you think that''s wrong, you must be some kind of socialist.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by zero_out (1705074)

        You don't even have to know the law to be sure - a child could tell you that it's unethical and wrong.

        Call me cynical, but law doesn't often follow ethics. There are so many instances where something is "wrong," but not illegal, for me to even begin citing them. Okay, I'll give you one. Adultery. Sure, there are some places where it is outlawed, but what percentage of instances does it fall into the realm of the illegal? At any time, if I were to have improper relations with a neighbor, I would not be breaking a law. It would be about as unethical as any civilized society could imagine, but not illega

        • by Hatta (162192) on Monday April 26, 2010 @12:06PM (#31985344) Journal

          There are so many instances where something is "wrong," but not illegal, for me to even begin citing them.

          There are also many instances where something is illegal, but not wrong.

          • And, of course, there's quite a few things that are out there that are BOTH illegal *and* wrong.

            That is, of course, if you believe that there is such a thing as "wrong."
          • by Urkki (668283)

            There are also many instances where something is illegal, but not wrong.

            Not according to the law...

        • Back on the topic at hand, yes, it was unethical for Gizmodo to do this. Did they know it was illegal? Possibly, but not necessarily. Even if they did know, I'm sure they did a cost/benefit analysis, and determined that the benefit outweighed the punitive damages. What a wicked world we live in, where someone weighs the cost of doing something unethical, against the gains for doing it.

          Except in this case, there are laws written specifically for trafficking in goods where the ownership is questionable. In t

      • by Sandbags (964742) on Monday April 26, 2010 @11:44AM (#31985060) Journal

        They paid $5K for the STORY, as registered journalists, and only after discussing this with lawyers, and after both Giz and the device's finder BOTH contacted apple and apple DENIED the prototype being lost. Gizmodo acquired the device under the promise to return it to it's rightful owner should one come forward, and the person who gave them the device could not be blamed for handing it over to an organization with known internal ties at the company.

        Gizmodo never bought the phone, only the story. This has been upheld NUMEROUS times in local and federal courts. Thanks for playing...

        • by s73v3r (963317)
          Citation Please. They bought the prototype phone. They happened to get numerous stories out of it, which happened to drive traffic to their site and increase revenues, but they still bought the phone.
        • Gizmodo never bought the phone, only the story. This has been upheld NUMEROUS times in local and federal courts. Thanks for playing...

          Gizmodo might be trying to wrangle out of a charge here but does/did Gizmodo have POSSESSION of the phone? Possession means they bought the phone. Buying the story meant they paid $5K to interview the finder, take the phone apart, etc, then return it to the finder. That's paying for a story. Possession changes things.

          • by Sandbags (964742)

            Well, considering Giz's legal team did some research BEFORE buying the phone (regardless of who wants to throw semantics into did they buy the phone vs did they buy the story), fact is, 1) the press has certain extended rights in this situation that have previously been upheld in court, 2) Apple did not choose to file charges after they were successfully contacted (which Giz continued to do for MANY days before finally posting the story), and 3) a 3rd party, not the state itself can file charges for this cr

            • You see two guys on a street corner. One gives the other money and a stereo is exchanged. That stereo turns out to be be stolen later. Both men claim that they were only looking for the owner of the stereo and not trafficking in stolen goods. Do you believe them? To me, if it looks like a duck, it's a duck. In this case Gizmodo admitted they paid money. They are desperately trying to work on semantics so that they get charged but they did pay for stolen property.
              • by Sandbags (964742)

                When a JOURNALIST is involved, laws are slightly altered. Further,there was an explicit contract, and lawyers were involved in that sale, and the owner of the stereo was already contacted and denied having lost it, and this was not only recorded, but both the guy and Gizmodo went to GREAT lengths to contact appropriate people, including using inside personnel not just customer service.

                For property to be stolen, it must actually be reported stolen. Apple admitted it was lost and thanked Gizmodo for returni

      • by SharpFang (651121) on Monday April 26, 2010 @11:50AM (#31985134) Homepage Journal

        The seller spent a pretty long time in the bar asking the patrons and the barman about the phone. He made it pretty certain this was a found item, not a stolen one and went to quite a bit of lengths to find the owner, and has a bunch of witnesses to confirm it.

        • by s73v3r (963317)
          Yeah, but the seller's innocence in the matter ended when he was willing to sell it to Giz for $5k. The proper thing to do would be to turn it in somewhere, either to the bar's lost & found, or to the police. Hell, since they were able to find out who the guy is that lost the phone, he could have contacted that guy directly, on Facebook or something, to return it.
        • by Rogerborg (306625)

          [citation needed] And no, Gizmondo is not a credible source, even if they were a primary one.

          From my passing acquiantance with law enforcement, I'd venture to suggest that people who "find" things also tend to get their lies in early and often. Not all dishonesty implies theft, but all theft implies dishonety. An assumption of innocence is for courts; us regular folk can apply the "What's more likely" test.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by xeoron (639412)
        I, Cringely [cringely.com], has a post saying it that this was a calculated Apple PR stunt. The only way to prove this would be if the engineer gets fired or Apple files charges against one or more parties.
      • by dj245 (732906) on Monday April 26, 2010 @12:43PM (#31985744) Homepage
        I refer you to the landmark case of Keepers v. Weepers.
    • by carvalhao (774969) on Monday April 26, 2010 @11:41AM (#31985004) Journal
      Well, since that model of iPhone hasn't been released yet, how can you prove that it's over $950?
      • Unreleased prototype of products usually have trade secrets in them and are worth more than the nominal value of the parts in them. Trade Secrets are worth a whole lot.
    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by Sandbags (964742)

      Sorry, they TRIED, as did the guy who sold it, to contact Apple. Apple actually DENIED the device was lost... Also, in the end, through MUCH trial and effort, the device WAS returned. Gizmodo did not buy the device, the device was handed over willingly and for free, gizmodo bought the STORY. The device was returned.

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Sorry, they TRIED, as did the guy who sold it, to contact Apple. Apple actually DENIED the device was lost... Also, in the end, through MUCH trial and effort, the device WAS returned. Gizmodo did not buy the device, the device was handed over willingly and for free, gizmodo bought the STORY. The device was returned.

        Apple customer support denied the device was missing. Which just means that customer support didn't know one was missing. And Apple customer support has stated that they get so many fake iphone p

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by QuantumRiff (120817)

      The device is not worth $950. The price is the value of the item stolen, not what some idiot is willing to pay for it. If someone pays $10,000 for a stolen car that has a bluebook value of $3,000, it is recorded as a $3000 theft.

      However, gizmodo said at the beginning that they had no intention of keeping the phone. In fact, the person that found it, and Gizmodo both tried to return it, many times. The finder cause it was the right thing to do, and Gizmodo, because then Apple would be acknowledging that i

      • The device is not worth $950. The price is the value of the item stolen, not what some idiot is willing to pay for it. If someone pays $10,000 for a stolen car that has a bluebook value of $3,000, it is recorded as a $3000 theft.

        The retail value of the device is worth less than $950 considering the parts; however, the device was a prototype, it is worth a lot more than the parts. Trade Secrets are worth a lot possibly tens of thousands of dollars.

        However, gizmodo said at the beginning that they had no inte

      • The value of an item is what people are willing to pay for it, not the retail cost or KBB value. Retail and blue book values are starting places, designed to reflect and perhaps control the market... But they are not the last absolute say on value.

        Consider the console market: In December of 2006, a Sony PS3 was worth $1200, despite the fact that the retail cost was $599 for the 60 GB version.

    • by hedwards (940851)
      And how exactly is this different from when the press uses leaked materials in general? Technically those are usually stolen as well, considering that the party that owns them would release the material if they wanted to. The press in general has relied upon that sort of thing for a really long time, strikes me as a bit odd to suggest that because the thing is a phone that belongs to Apple that suddenly things are different.
    • by harl (84412)

      So what? It's a corporation. They can't throw it in jail and $950 is laughable to them.

  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Monday April 26, 2010 @11:13AM (#31984648) Homepage Journal

    Gray Powell, the Apple engineer who left an important bit of technology in a bar recently. You might have heard of it.

    No I have not! What is this "Apple" you speak of?

    • by Thanshin (1188877) on Monday April 26, 2010 @11:21AM (#31984760)

      No I have not! What is this "Apple" you speak of?

      It's a fruit.

      You're welcome.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Some sort doctor repellent.

      • by Yvan256 (722131)

        From what I've heard you need to eat one every day. No wonder people say apples are expensive!

      • LOL at first I thought you were referring to Steve Jobs having tried alternative therapies for his liver (or whatever) problems before trying to get an implant, and only later did I realize you were referring to "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."

    • by Kenja (541830)
      Some record company started by the Beetles. No idea why its still relevant.
      • by Locke2005 (849178)
        The "Beetles"? Sounds like a cheap rip-off of The Beatles. They probably got sued by John, Paul, George, and Ringo for Trademark violation. Serves 'em right, too!
    • by tnk1 (899206)

      It's the music company that manages much of the Beatles' catalog.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @11:13AM (#31984650) Journal

    If someone wants to take something classified out of a top secret military compound, he might have to secrete it on his person and deliberately sneak it past a guard who searches briefcases and purses. He might be committing a crime by doing so ...

    Are you joking? Try losing their security clearance, being court marshaled and a probable investigation into 1) what motive you had removing classified material 2) where it was going and 3) how many other violations you knowingly committed.

    ... the corporate rules might have required him to pay attention to it at all times ...

    I've gotten a corporate laptop with semi-sensitive material on it about the company I work for. I was given it when I traveled to various states. The guidelines were very clear. From locking it in the safe when I left the hotel room to not leaving it in my car. While it's less likely that someone would show up at a bar with a laptop, this is outright out of the question. Regardless of how lax their security measures are you might misplace a phone while drinking so don't bring it drinking! If you want to or accidentally take it drinking, you're accepting the risks.

    It'd be hard for me to imagine that Apple -- the pseudosecretive company that it is -- wouldn't have stringent policies in place. Still, firing Powell would look less than heartless. I'd be shocked if any company as big as Apple didn't have such policies explicitly spelled out.

    • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Monday April 26, 2010 @11:30AM (#31984860) Journal

      Yeah, I would place him as a mail-room clerk until he proves he can handle sensative information without releasing it to the public.

      You know, we get the occaisonal user who manages to get a trojan or a worm on their computer at work. When we get the request ticket in, first thing we do is remotely check their Browser history and cache. Generally it boils down to a Russian or Korean website that was visitted. In some cases, it gets referred to by a rollover ad on a legitamit web page, so we don't punish them, but there are other times when you see them visitting some chinese news blogs about a hundred times a week. In this even, we walk over, unplug everything, and take the tower away, telling them we need to clean it ASAP and we don't want to risk spreading the infection. You or I would know this is highly unlikely, I've never encountered malware that has spread to a network drive, but I wouldn't put it past black hats to do such a thing if they wanted. Then we spend the next day or two cleaning the machine. Yeah, it usually only takes a few hours, slave it on our AV machine. But the idea is to teach them a lesson about visitting those websites. After they've been without their computer for a couple days, we tell them where they got the virus from, and warn them not to visit those sites.

      It appears to be working.

      The only other situation of security we've really come across was some guy in another department who clearly knew a bit about computers. He managed to tunnel into his own VPN to get past our firewall to run bittorrent and download movies, which he burned onto disc and was selling them apparently. When the IT manager, (My Boss) found out he went into quite a fit, launched a full IT investigation of the whole building, and in the end, so many people in that department were found to be visitting sites they shouldn't be, that half the department was canned.

      I think it was a little overboard, but I guess the message was very clearly sent and recieved, that building has had no problems ever since.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bing Tsher E (943915)

        Yeah, I would place him as a mail-room clerk until he proves he can handle sensative (sp.) information without releasing it to the public.

        That's sort of ironic, given that the job responsibility of a mail-room clerk is to handle sensitive information while releasing it to the public.

      • I think it was a little overboard, but I guess the message was very clearly sent and recieved

        Find a job elsewhere?

        I mean, I don't blame the investigation, I don't blame firing the dude who was torrenting, but canning half the department for visiting web pages? You could pay me enough to work in a place like that, but the amount we're talking about would have to allow me to retire within 1-3 paychecks.

        • The rational was that if they've been able to spend more 3 hours on Facebook a day they didn't have enough work to do.

          Our IT Department is small enough that we're practically immune from layoffs, there is only 4 of us so firing 1 is losing 25% of your staff. We're nearing 1000 users, so thats especially a bad idea.

          I don't really get involved with managers decisions. I am eyes and ears. They tell me to investigate, I look into it, report the findings. Its someone elses job to decide what happens to them.

          It's

    • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      It'd be hard for me to imagine that Apple -- the pseudosecretive company that it is -- wouldn't have stringent policies in place. Still, firing Powell would look less than heartless. I'd be shocked if any company as big as Apple didn't have such policies explicitly spelled out.

      The big question directly applicable to the case is what exactly those policies are and how they're enforced. From the article:

      On the other hand, if Apple doesn't have clear-cut rules, if Powell wasn't prohibited from taking the phone out of his office, if engineers routinely ignore or bypass security rules and -- as long as nothing bad happens -- no one complains, then Apple needs to understand that the system is more to blame than the individual. Most corporate security policies have this sort of problem

    • Maybe... But firing an employee for showing Steve Wozniak a product seems a little less defensible.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by c (8461)

      > Regardless of how lax their security measures are you might
      > misplace a phone while drinking so don't bring it drinking!
      > If you want to or accidentally take it drinking, you're
      > accepting the risks.

      Unless one of the reasons you have the thing is to test it under "realistic conditions".

      If that's the reason Apple let him off their campus with the iPhone prototype (and, given how they camouflaged it as a 3G, I's say it was meant to be used where random non-Apple people would see it) then I'd say

    • by Bakkster (1529253)

      If someone wants to take something classified out of a top secret military compound, he might have to secrete it on his person and deliberately sneak it past a guard who searches briefcases and purses. He might be committing a crime by doing so ...

      Are you joking? Try losing their security clearance, being court marshaled and a probable investigation into 1) what motive you had removing classified material 2) where it was going and 3) how many other violations you knowingly committed.

      Probable? Disseminating classified information is a felony, as well as a federal crime. If you sneak it out (and it's not likely one would 'accidentally' leave a site with classified info) you can be well assured that losing your security clearance is the least of your worries...

      Also, afaik, you can only be court martialed if you are an active service member. Not everyone with access to that kind of stuff is military (contractors, consultants, non-military agencies, politicians).

    • Try losing their security clearance, being court marshaled and a probable investigation into 1) what motive you had removing classified material 2) where it was going and 3) how many other violations you knowingly committed.

      In 1999, Dr. Wen Ho Lee was indicted for stealing nuclear secrets. He was kept in solitary confinement for nine months, and ultimately convicted of just one count of mishandling sensitive documents. Judge James A. Parker and President Clinton both apologized for his treatment by the pros

  • How can they? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Alexvthooft (1798010)
    A PR agent finally does what he is supposed to (for once in his life with great succes) and they punish him for it. Apple's 1997 slogan goes to waste here Think different? Yeah right!
  • I wonder if this was a way to let people know another one is on the way. The way the "Blogosphere" is intentionaly manipulated by corporation is obvious to me. This whole scenario seems unlikely to me.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @11:27AM (#31984834)

    Please stop these stupid articles about someone fucking up or planting a phone.

    Stop it.

    Stop advertising for them.

    • I know right? What are the odds that someone who just happens to find an iphone at bar takes it home and opens it ups?
      Total BS. In the reall world the thing would simply be on ebay within the hour an no one would know that it was special.
      The odds that the phone was left in the bar and found a person who could not only identify it as a new prototype phone but also had the curitosity to open it up in the first place.... someone should be buying lottery tickets.
  • hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld&gmail,com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @11:35AM (#31984916) Homepage
    As much as everyone had been beating up on gizmodo for leaking this guy's name, I would not be surprised if the only reason he kept his job was because of the publicity.
  • This poster was displayed here and there around Apple back when I worked there in the mid-90s: "Many of our competitors dine in the same fine restaurants we do."

    This to advise one not to discuss trade secrets over lunch.

  • Come to think of it, as the lost iPhone was really already a 4th generation device, Apple probably wasn't seeking any sort of punitive measures against the guy, and the restrictions on personal use of prototype hardware was probably heavily reduced.

    After all, it's an iPhone. We've seen the 3 previous models already. And there isn't much new or innovative Apple could've put in.

    Hell, Apple doesn't make big announcements when they introduce new Macs (like they did a couple of weeks ago) - just a quiet little r

  • Shittiest example (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jim_v2000 (818799) on Monday April 26, 2010 @11:58AM (#31985246)
    of a security breach ever. A viral marketing campaign where someone "loses" a prototype phone at a bar does not count as a "security breach".
  • You also might have been on either the breacher or the corporate side. I'd hate to be in either position myself.

    It's not a problem if you handle it correctly. After we disemboweled the first guy, you'd have been surprised at how strong everyone's passwords became.

  • by ErichTheRed (39327) on Monday April 26, 2010 @12:38PM (#31985686)

    I know Apple is famous for "accidentally" leaking hints of upcoming technologies out to generate buzz, but this is strange. If I were in a highly-competitive market and wanted to not give the Chinese knockoff makers a head start on my design, the last thing I'd do is let it out of the building.

    I could see Apple anonmyously leaving photos or spec sheets around. Maybe they might even take a -mock-up- out in the wild like car companies do when they are track-testing a new model. (iPhone in a Samsung case? :-) ) But there's no real reason for them to "field-test" a device like that. Apple has a large corporate campus, and I guarantee they have the strongest ATT signal in the entire country. Plus, if you're testing stuff like GPS, you don't have to go across town, you just have to go across the building. Nah, this guy just had to show his buddies, and he lost it. That really sucks for him, because no matter what actually happened, he's never going to be trusted to work on secret products again. Even if Steve Jobs himself said, "Go take this phone for a spin." and he can prove it, there's always going to be the doubt that he has the self-control to keep quiet about what he's doing.

    I know people who work in high-security environments, where they design products in a race to be the first to the Patent Office. Most are absolutely forbidden from even talking about what they're working on. I highly doubt that Pfizer or Bristol-Myers allows their researchers to take their lab notebooks anywhere outside their labs. People desiging the next netbook or mobile phone are in a similar situation -- 10 seconds after a prototype gets out, it will be glommed up, reverse-engineered, and a cheaper faster version will be out a week before yours.

    Given all the draconian stuff I've heard about Apple being a wierd place to work, I'm sure they have an incredibly strict policy about secrecy...that is, they control the message, not the employee working on it.

    • Most cell phone companies distribute a number of new handsets (over 50) to employees for usability testing, a few months before general release. It's not about testing the hardware, which you are correct, can be tested in the lab. It's about testing how humans use the phone, if they like it, if they think the form factor and the UI work well in their everyday lives, etc. For Apple, the usability is more important than the technical performance, much more so than other companies, so it's not strange he had o
  • by zerofoo (262795) on Monday April 26, 2010 @01:34PM (#31986272)

    Long ago we decided that if anyone in our company breaches security by losing an access card, or sharing a password, we would not punish the person responsible if they came forward immediately.

    This policy encourages a quick resolution to the security breach. A lost security card or password can be disabled or reset thereby limiting the damage the mistake caused.

    Persecuting people that make mistakes only delays the notification process, and then delays the fix - putting more people/things at risk.

    People make mistakes, they happen, and there is nothing you can do to prevent them.

    -ted

  • If anything, the embarrassing thing about the leak is that the product isn't changing much. The corner bevel radius is changing. Big deal. Two cameras, one on front, one on back. That's new. Camera flash - yawn. Noise cancellation mic - finally. Those are all routine, minor product improvements, and they're all already available on competing products.

    That's what may scare Jobs - he makes a big announcement, and everybody yawns. Headlines read "Apple plays catch-up with Sony Ericsson". Jobs looks l

The first version always gets thrown away.

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