Apple Sues Ex-Employee For Leaking Sensitive Information, Deleting Evidence During Bathroom Breaks

Apple Sues Ex-Employee For Leaking Sensitive Information, Deleting Evidence During Bathroom Breaks
Cover Image Source: Apple | Pexels | Photo by Armand Valendez

Apple has filed a lawsuit against a former employee for disclosing proprietary information, which includes undisclosed details about Apple's Journal app and the development of the highly anticipated VisionOS headset. According to the lawsuit filed by the Cupertino-based tech giant against the former employee, the ex-Apple engineer, who was terminated for leaking confidential information to the media, allegedly utilized bathroom breaks to delete messages that might have contained evidence.



 

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"Feigning the need to visit the bathroom mid-interview, Mr. Aude then extracted his iPhone from his pocket during the break and permanently deleted significant amounts of evidence from his device," the lawsuit mentioned. 

Andrew Aude, who was associated with the company as a software engineer at the company’s iOS division, allegedly used his phone to send "thousands" of text messages to people in the Wall Street Journal, over five years.

Source: GettyImages | Scott Barbour  Staff
Source: Getty Images | Photo by Scott Barbour Staff

Aude allegedly utilized an encrypted messaging app to leak information to a reporter at The Wall Street Journal, whom he referred to as "Homeboy." Additionally, he maintained frequent communication with a reporter from The Information, a tech-focused news outlet trusted by venture capitalists.

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The lawsuit accuses the ex-employee of sending over 10,000 text messages to the reporter and alleges that he even traveled across the continent to meet her. Apple further alleges that the man engaged in these actions not only to undermine the company out of vanity but also because he enjoyed the media attention.

The lawsuit includes a screenshot where the accused purportedly wrote to "Homeboy," stating, "Can’t wait for the chaos to break out before Apple corporate people even wake up." Another excerpt from the lawsuit reveals a separate text message in which Aude allegedly wrote, "Love when I get to leak to my WSJ friend."

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 The Apple logo is imprinted on the window of an Apple store | Scott Olson
Image Source: The Apple logo is imprinted on the window of an Apple store | Getty Images | Photo by Scott Olson

Aude had been employed at the company since 2016 as an iOS engineer, with a primary focus on optimizing battery performance. According to the company's lawyers, his role granted him access to sensitive information concerning many of Apple’s most critical products.

The leaks remained undisclosed until late last year when suspicions arose within Aude's team regarding his communication with an external party. Following these suspicions, he was confronted but he repeatedly denied any involvement.



 

During a subsequent meeting on December 12, the ex-employee confessed to leaking information about Apple's strategies regarding regulatory compliance, undisclosed products, development policies, and hardware characteristics of certain released products to at least two journalists, as stated in the lawsuit.

Apple is currently seeking a jury trial, damages, restitution, and/or disgorgement of bonuses and stock options, as well as an order prohibiting Aude from disclosing Apple’s confidential and proprietary information to third parties without written consent, as mentioned in the lawsuit.

The company has also offered the accused the opportunity to avoid litigation by fully cooperating with the proceedings, though he has not committed to doing so, prompting Apple to take legal action.



 

In other news, Apple also faces a lawsuit from the Department of Justice for allegedly violating antitrust laws, accused of using its ecosystem to establish a monopoly, as reported by The Verge.

"This lawsuit threatens who we are and the principles that set Apple products apart in fiercely competitive markets," Apple spokesperson Fred Sainz said in response to the incident.

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