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Iphone Security Apple

Apple Security Chief Steps Down After iPhone Gaffe 93

Posted by timothy
from the don't-go-to-bars-any-more dept.
Trailrunner7 writes "Apple's vice president of global security has reportedly stepped down, roughly two months after the surfacing of news reports that an iPhone prototype had gone missing for the second time in less than two years. John Theriault, who came to Apple from Pfizer and was a former FBI agent, has retired in the wake of controversy regarding the device's disappearance and the subsequent efforts to track it down. Apple did not return a request for comment. Nevertheless, Theriault's departure follows a public relations dustup that began when an Apple employee left the prototype at a bar in San Francisco."
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Apple Security Chief Steps Down After iPhone Gaffe

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  • Hmmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 06, 2011 @05:37PM (#37968278)

    he should have used Find my iPhone.

  • by Compaqt (1758360) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @05:38PM (#37968290) Homepage

    Kudos to him for taking responsibility, but:

    The one iPhone was lost at a bar.

    Is he saying that he should have had 2 security men following each Apple employee around during work and outside of work?

    I'm sure there was more than one person working on the next version of the iPhone at that point.

    And security can promulgate all the edicts they want, but people who "have work to do" either have them overturned or find a way a around them.

    Seriously, what more could he have done short of implementing a police state?

    • by MF4218 (1320441)

      Not have allowed sociable people test out the prototype? Evaluate each employee in terms of likelihood to leave something on a table? There's always a way to do things better.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @05:48PM (#37968366) Journal
      The better question might be "what less could he have done"?

      The 'controversy' over the handling of the lost iPhone includes the bit where Apple security flacks allegedly impersonated police officers in order to conduct an illicit search of somebody's house...

      For a company of Apple's stature, with extensive offshore manufacturing and significant interest from both highly-visible tech-rumor-bloggers and 3rd party accessory makers who want to have their tooling done before the competition, the leak level is pretty good. Getting the company embroiled in a potentially messy criminal case, though, is one of those 'career limiting' moves...
    • by obarthelemy (160321) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @05:48PM (#37968372)

      The issue is not so much that a prototype was lost, but how they handled the retrieval efforts, passing themselves off as police, making immigration threats...

      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @05:50PM (#37968384) Journal
        Arguably, if Apple wanted the investigation to have been conducted in accordance with US law, they wouldn't have hired an FBI agent...
        • Or maybe..dun dun dun...he was in on the leaks! [wikipedia.org]
        • We only have the word of the guy who "found" the phone (and then denied any knowledge of it when that was obviously not the truth) that these guys claimed to be cops.

          Certainly the Apple Recovery Team was aggressive and intimidating, but there is really no trustworthy evidence they broke the law.

          On the other hand we have a guy who "found" an expensive iPhone at a bar, took it home, failed to do anything to find the owner, and then disposed of it when it looked like the authorities were closing in. Not really

          • by flosofl (626809)
            He did in fact "lawyer up". His lawyer is currently in talks with Apple, and from a legal standpoint pushing the head of security out the door is going to look pretty bad for Apple.
            • ...and from a legal standpoint pushing the head of security out the door is going to look pretty bad for Apple.

              Nonsense.

              From a legal standpoint, it doesn't matter one way or the other if Apple fired the head security dude, and indeed what they fired him for is pure speculation. What matters are the facts . Not how the facts "look", but what the facts are.

              The Court does not care how the facts "look". the Court cares what the facts are .

              At this point we really don't know all the facts, but there is really no particular reason to believe a guy who "found" an expensive piece of electronics and declined to do the hono

              • I have no reason to be impressed by the moral fiber of the "finder"; but we have SFPD's confirmation [cnet.com] that(just as the "finder" originally claimed, before any independent confirmation was available) that four of their people accompanied two of Apple's to the address given, that the two Apple people went inside to look, and that none of the SFPD did. We also know that the contact information allegedly provided by the Apple agent at the time matched those of an Apple agent on Linkedin, who promptly nuked his p
                • by arkenian (1560563)
                  I think it doesn't really matter whether what they did was legal or not... It really comes down to this. Even if we grant that Apple wasn't thrilled with the phone being lost... there is NO DAMN QUESTION that, being apple, if a phone is going to go missing, they want all the articles to be about how cool the phone is, not about them coming in the heavy during the retrieval.
                • No one has said the Apple Thugs didn't accompany the real cops and no one has said they didn't ask for and receive permission to search the apartment (which is certainly NOT something I would have ever allowed). Nothing you have said comes within 10 miles of supporting the contention that these Apple Thugs misrepresented themselves, we have only the word of someone who's honesty is already suspect.

    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @05:51PM (#37968394) Homepage

      This may have more to do with the second 'lost' iPhone which was handled very poorly by all reports.

      You don't impersonate police officers, by omission or commission. You don't pretend it is an episode of CSI or a rerun of 'Enemy of the State". Apple has never been forthcoming about what happened (if anything). Sounds like a screw up from the folks running the show.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You don't impersonate police officers, by omission or commission. You don't pretend it is an episode of CSI or a rerun of 'Enemy of the State".

        The guy was a former FBI agent. The FBI has been breaking the law with impunity for many years. Why should Apple be any different?

      • Actually they did not impersonate police officers. Two Apple security investigators were accompanied by four SFPD officers: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-09-02/tech/30127561_1_gizmodo-iphone-sf-weekly [businessinsider.com]

        UPDATE: The San Francisco Police department has changed its story -- it now says that 4 officers accompanied 2 Apple investigators. The officers stayed outside while the investigators searched CalderÃn's home, which is presumably why there was no paperwork filed.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nightfell (2480334)

      It wasn't the fact that the iPhones were lost. It's possible there were different policies he could have implemented, but the risk of loss is impossible to circumvent. I suspect this has to do with the way the losses were handled after the fact.

      Impersonating police officers (through deceptive statements and actions, even if never explicitly claiming to be a police officer or wearing a police uniform or badge, thus technically avoiding criminal misconduct) is certainly something Apple management is not comfo

      • by 404 Clue Not Found (763556) * on Sunday November 06, 2011 @08:22PM (#37969370)

        Impersonating police officers (through deceptive statements and actions, even if never explicitly claiming to be a police officer or wearing a police uniform or badge, thus technically avoiding criminal misconduct) is certainly something Apple management is not comfortable with. Given his past professional career, this seems like something ingrained into his security style, and wouldn't be a practice he would be able to sufficiently alter in the future.

        Frankly, although I'm sure he's good at what he does, it's good that he left Apple. The two just weren't a good fit.

        I hear the music industry's hiring...

    • by jbolden (176878)

      Make sure hardware doesn't leave the building. Lots of companies have protocols like security counts that are highly secure... banks, military...

    • by turbidostato (878842) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @06:27PM (#37968648)

      "Kudos to him for taking responsibility"

      How said he is taking responsibility (in the sense of "yes, it's my fault")?

      There are two kinds of responsibility-related resignations:
      1) As a way to say "I failed, I don't deserve this position".
      2) As a way to say "I tried to do my job but the higher ups don't allow me to do it properly: I won't continue under these circumnstances".

      No where in the article nor the links there's indication about what's the case here.

      • There's also "you screwed up so badly that you're going to quit and we'll be done with this or we'll fire you, possibly forcing us to explain why we fired you revealing the extent of your screwup - your choice."
    • by Anonymous Coward

      To my knowledge, at least 4 of the 4S's were lost.

      In addition, I know it took Apple security days to get back to the reporting person when they reported the phone lost immediately after the loss was noted.

      Apple has also been pretty arbitrary on whether or not it fires someone who loses a prototype. My expectation is that there is the strong possibility that if one of the people who was fired for the same thing another employee wasn't fired over, and the only difference was how fast Apple security reacted,

    • "Seriously, what more could he have done short of implementing a police state?"

      Oh, I dunno, don't let people take them to a bar?
    • Scott Forstall was the guy who convinced Jobs to let his engineers walk around with iPhone prototypes, and he just got a million-share carrot to stay with Apple until 2016.

  • He left the phone in a bar! Big mistake.
  • ... on "leaking" things to the world by leaving prototypes (or pre-release models) in bars and then stirring up an immense media circus.

    • Even after this article you still believe that?

      • by mjwx (966435)

        Even after this article you still believe that?

        Yes,

        Just because it went wrong does mean that it wasn't intentional.

        They had people who could impersonate police officers... available at short notice.

        • Just because it went wrong does mean that it wasn't intentional.

          Right... so... we're right back at zero.

          They had people who could impersonate police officers... available at short notice.

          ... and this couldn't have been for security?

          I expected a little more. Seriously. Something like: "Well the guy did have a box of donuts in the car, he was obviously off to a marketing meeting afterwards".

          My diagnosis? Slashdot headline poisoning.

      • by flosofl (626809)
        Facts are pesky things if they interfere in your world view. Just look at creationists or 9/11 "truthers" for an example.
        • by Gordonjcp (186804)

          Yeah, I mean can you believe that people think that you can't melt steel with jet fuel, and that Apple ever "lose" prototyps by accident?

  • So he went back to being an FBI agent?
  • Oh, this is rich. I think they mean, their head of MARKETING stepped down as a blatant MARKETING PLOY to sell more iPhones after his wildly successful STEALTH MARKETING campaign involving fake engineers accidentally-on-purpose forgetting their MARKETING iPhones in MARKETING bars. Well done, sir, well done.

    • by aiken_d (127097)

      Does anyone else even bother reading SHOUTING like this? Usually I skip over the screamers without reading or replying, but just this once I'm curious about anyone who might bother to read it. If you did read it, was in in spite of the screaming or because of it? Is that ever an effective way to communicate?

  • by mykos (1627575) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @07:06PM (#37968882)
    I would love to have Dial-A-SWAT at my disposal for losing a single cell phone like Apple does.
    • I would love to have Dial-A-SWAT at my disposal for losing a single cell phone like Apple does.

      Yeah? Well, here's how you do it:

      • Start an American technology company.
      • Create a highly successful line of cell phones. If you're at the success level that other companies are changing their designs to be like yours, you're a good chunk of the way there.
      • After three successful generations, do a complete redesign with tantalizing new features.
      • Set up your release schedule to be fairly routine so people know when to expect it. The more time overseas competition will have to deaden the impact of your new device,
  • They let this guy "step down". They should have fired his ass -- out of a cannon if necessary -- the day the news broke of his illegal involvement.
  • ... but his biggest problem might have been letting Apple security pose or misrepresent themselves as SF police when searching Calderon's apartment (hence the lawsuit). That's a major no-no in most jurisdictions. In some places, real police are available to moonlight for private security firms (with real badges and uniforms).

    The cop union is going to be pissed.

  • The real reason he resigned was that he let China steal 22 complete Apple "Stoers", including employees and no one noticed.
  • It's not like it would be all over TV or the papers (never mind that, someone's knocking on the door)

  • by MikeURL (890801)

    As a casual observer this takes something that was in my periphery and moves it front and center. Prior to this I was dismissing it all as a publicity stunt. Now I'm assuming they really did lose it, they really wanted it back and they really thought the best way to do that was send hired goons to the dude's house.

    Yikes.

    • Now I'm assuming ... they really thought the best way to do that was send hired goons to the dude's house.

      That is an assumption, and it may be true or not true, we don't know. However, it is a _fact_ that you now make this assumption, which isn't favorable for Apple. And as the chief of Apple's security, you have to try to act in a way so that people don't make that kind of assumption.

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