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Apple sues former iOS engineer for allegedly leaking Vision Pro and Journal app details

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Apple is suing a former employee for leaking confidential information, including unknown details about the Apple Journal app, the development of the VisionOS headset, and more, to journalists and employees of other companies. The lawsuit, filed ten days ago in California state court (24CV433319, pdf), says Andrew Aude also disclosed regulatory compliance strategies, staffing levels and other material characteristics of the products.

As previously reported MacRumorsIn at least one post, the company claims Aude claimed it leaked information “so it could ‘kill’ products and features it disagreed with.”

Apple referenced numerous communications in the lawsuit:

Between June and September 2023 alone, Mr. Aude connected more than 1,400 times with a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reporter, whom Mr. Aude named “Homeboy,” using a messaging app encrypted. Mr. Aude also read “Homeboy,” a final list of features for an unannounced Apple product, over the phone. Mr. Aude sent another journalist to Information over 10,000 text messages and traveled across the continent to meet her.

The following screenshot of an encrypted message exchange on the Signal app between Aude and a WSJ reporter appears in the complaint, as Apple says: “Mr. Aude often took and saved screenshots of his communications on his professional iPhone provided by Apple in order to preserve them for posterity.

Apple accuses Aude of having leaked a list of finalized features for the Apple Journal application during a phone call in April 2023 to the same journalist. A story about the app’s new features appeared the same month in The Wall Street Journal.

Aude joined Apple in 2016 as an iOS engineer focused on battery performance optimization. Apple’s lawyers write that the nature of this role allowed Aude access to “information regarding dozens of Apple’s most sensitive products.”

The leaks were not discovered until the end of 2023, the company said. When Apple representatives first met with Aude in November 2023, he reportedly denied his involvement in the leaks and lied about having his Apple-issued iPhone with him. Then, they claim, he faked the need to go to the bathroom, “pulled his iPhone out of his pocket during break, and permanently deleted significant amounts of evidence from his device,” including the Signal app.

Then, at a second meeting on December 12, the complaint says: “Mr. Aude admitted to disclosing information about Apple’s strategies regarding regulatory compliance, unannounced products, development policies and hardware specifications of certain products marketed to at least two journalists. He was fired three days later. Apple’s filing says the company is seeking a jury trial, damages, “disgorgement and/or disgorgement” of bonuses and stock options, and an “order directing Mr. Aude not to disclose Apple’s confidential and proprietary information to third parties without its written consent. .”

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