Apple sacks iPhone X engineer after daughter posts hands-on video to YouTube

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  • Reply 81 of 286
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,629member
    Soli said:
    dewme said:
    i.e., the implications of unauthorized disclosure are not assessed based on the potential impact of the actual incident.
    That's what I said. You, on the other hand, said, "This guy put his coworker's and teammate's jobs at risk," which specifically indicated that he put others at risk, not that the NDA is in place to prevent the potential risk of putting the company (and individuals) at risk. Those are very different claims.
    No, I’m saying that it doesn’t matter what the actual or potential impact is for a specific incident. By definition, any violation of an NDA puts the company, employees, teams, and other stakeholders at greater risk. That’s why the NDA is in put place, to reduce the probability of loss, I.e., reduce risk) that may occur if unauthorized or unintended disclosure occurs. Even if no actual damage is found to have occurred after an NDA violation, the violation of the NDA inherently increases risk.
    baconstangStrangeDayspscooter63netmage
  • Reply 82 of 286
    hodar said:
    plankton said:
    This product was within days of release and EVERY rumor site in the world has published details weeks and months ago.  Some was undoubtedly leaked by Apple to create a buzz, some was by other NDA violators. So what is Apple to do? Cease all relations with sites like Daring Fireball, Rene Ritchie at iMore—who undoubtedly has an internal leaker violating NDA but gets invited to every press event nevertheless—and the rest of the enablers?
    It's not the firing that gets me, it's the Apple hypocrisy.
    The engineer was a fool to let his stupid daughter do what she did, but have a little empathy. There was nothing in the YouTube video millions of people did not already know.
    A severe scolding and a pay downgrade would have been appropriate but firing is a step too far IMO.


    Welcome to life.  Perhaps someday when you have a job, perhaps you MAY rise in position high enough to be trusted enough to sign an NDA.  Then you will be trusted to handle company confidential material like this fool was.  If you screw up, being fired is the MILDEST consequence you can hope for.  Apple could access financial damages from this early release and that could be millions; and guess WHO IS RESPONSIBLE.  In the real world, there are consequences.   Unlike Mom’s basement; the real world will follow through. 

    Being fired was being let off EASY. 
    Hodar,
    Don't make assumptions about posters here.  Someone having an opinion that differs from yours does not entitle you to attempt to belittle them with ageist remarks.
    But FYI, it's been at least five decades since I was in anyone's  basement, and I usually spend most of my days dealing with $10 million wireless testing equipment that would probably be a little too complex for you.  
    edited October 2017
  • Reply 83 of 286
    Soli said:

    There's literally no additional information to be had from this child's iPhone X video. Let's keep in mind that it was done the week of pre-orders and about 6 weeks after the device was already demoed in vivid detail by Apple. Based on the information presented I can't imagine firing this engineer over this one issue. If you had said, "Apple has a lot more information than we do and they felt it necessary to fire the engineer so who are we to say that they are wrong. It's their company and it's likely they didn't break any laws with letting the engineer go," that would be a very different response while still agreeing with Apple's firing of the employee. Instead you made a draconian implication that rules need to followed to the letter, that there's not room for gray areas or conscious consideration of the scope of an offense, and that punishments should be as brutal as possible in your initial comment. Maybe there were other circumstances, like other lapses I judgement which made this a final strike against him, but you made zero indication that this might simply be the final straw on the camel's back in your original comment. I can't agree with such despotic ways of thinking.
    As an employee of a private organization, you either stick to an agreement you had with your employer or you don't. There's noting 'despotic' about it. That's the nature of the beast, if you wish to work for large companies in the private sector where there's a lot riding on product and process secrets. People who don't understand that when they accept jobs and sign NDAs in places like Apple are, simply put, foolish. 

    I don't believe it's his call -- or anyone else's but Apple's -- to decide whether there was "no additional information to be had" or not. 
    magman1979SpamSandwichbaconstanglongpathradarthekatpscooter63netmage
  • Reply 84 of 286
    JFC_PAJFC_PA Posts: 857member
    smaffei said:
    Why is no one asking "How did she unlock the phone?" It's an employee phone, it is locked with facial recognition and a passcode. In order to use the phone she would need dad to use his face or give her the lock passcode. Dad knew this was going on. That is why he was fired.
    Her dad unlocked it and handed it over to her. He’s in the video. Leaving Apple no choice but to fire him. 
    magman1979SpamSandwichbaconstangradarthekatStrangeDayspscooter63netmage
  • Reply 85 of 286
    Most people support Apple's decision, but they don't stand a chance when this engineer realizes he has to take it to court (because he may not work again, at least at the same level). The reason is that double-edged sword that Apple uniquely wields in controlling the technology, not to mention that facility. A reasonable person might ask how much it would have really cost Apple to ensure that phones could not film without first obtaining a code number or other authorization and what precautions were taken to assist employees with authorized visitors in complying with the security policies. The answer to these questions probably mean this girl will have her education paid for while she stars in her own cable show.
    Nope! Nope nope nope nope nope. It's impossible to do proper testing if you build in all kinds of fake conditional stuff about "code numbers" and "authorization". If you do that, you are no longer testing the hardware and software properly in the conditions that actual users will see—and that of course makes the testing useless. You're wrong on every single point, here. This engineer fucked up really badly, and his daughter fucked up really badly. I don't take any pleasure in the punishment, but it is just.
    Well of course Apple was sued for not implementing its DND while driving patent and correct me if I'm wrong but Apple also holds THE patent on blocking video at certain venues, such as their own g'dmned food court.
  • Reply 86 of 286
    tommikele said:
    Most people support Apple's decision, but they don't stand a chance when this engineer realizes he has to take it to court (because he may not work again, at least at the same level). The reason is that double-edged sword that Apple uniquely wields in controlling the technology, not to mention that facility. A reasonable person might ask how much it would have really cost Apple to ensure that phones could not film without first obtaining a code number or other authorization and what precautions were taken to assist employees with authorized visitors in complying with the security policies. The answer to these questions probably mean this girl will have her education paid for while she stars in her own cable show.
    Not even a remote chance your theory would come to reality. The NDA and all instances covered by it are ironclad and have stood up to every legal challenge. The idea Apple somehow bears responsibility because they didn't build in some security feature you dreamed up is laughable. A more likely scenario is the daughter slaves away at McDonalds to pay for community college because she destroyed her father's career and because her father failed to live up to his responsibility. Your entire line of reasoning is really sad and doesn't say too much for how you approach responsibility and legal commitments. Sad, very sad. With that kind of questionable integrity, you wouldn't last five minutes at our firm.
    I'm unimpressed with the challenges made before the advent of Mobile Device Management and you should be too.
  • Reply 87 of 286
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,033member
    Soli said:

    There's literally no additional information to be had from this child's iPhone X video. Let's keep in mind that it was done the week of pre-orders and about 6 weeks after the device was already demoed in vivid detail by Apple. Based on the information presented I can't imagine firing this engineer over this one issue. If you had said, "Apple has a lot more information than we do and they felt it necessary to fire the engineer so who are we to say that they are wrong. It's their company and it's likely they didn't break any laws with letting the engineer go," that would be a very different response while still agreeing with Apple's firing of the employee. Instead you made a draconian implication that rules need to followed to the letter, that there's not room for gray areas or conscious consideration of the scope of an offense, and that punishments should be as brutal as possible in your initial comment. Maybe there were other circumstances, like other lapses I judgement which made this a final strike against him, but you made zero indication that this might simply be the final straw on the camel's back in your original comment. I can't agree with such despotic ways of thinking.
    As an employee of a private organization, you either stick to an agreement you had with your employer or you don't. There's noting 'despotic' about it. That's the nature of the beast, if you wish to work for large companies in the private sector where there's a lot riding on product and process secrets. People who don't understand that when they accept jobs and sign NDAs in places like Apple are, simply put, foolish. 

    I don't believe it's his call -- or anyone else's but Apple's -- to decide whether there was "no additional information to be had" or not. 
    Sure there is, which is why companies have been successfully sued and settled out of court for trying to enforce contracts that were deemed unlawful.
  • Reply 88 of 286
    jd_in_sb said:
    A reasonable person might ask how much it would have really cost Apple to ensure that phones could not film without first obtaining a code number or other authorization.
    Huh? The iPhone X being used to film something is not the issue. It being the subject of a film is the controversy here. Codes and authorization built into the pre-release iPhone X to prevent it from filming would not stop the girl from pulling out her personal iPhone and filming the screen of the pre-release iPhone X. 
    In other words, assuming the girl used an Apple device at an Apple controlled facility to make unauthorized recordings, it is reasonable for a jury to ask if Apple could have and should have prevented the recordings from ever having been made. To answer the "could have" question, one need only look to see that Apple holds patents for disabling videos at live events, it could have a feature in iOS to enable automatic MDM enrollment of visitor devices or custom iOS controls --maybe just a single line of code that checks the GPS coordinates vs. the developer-status of a device before allowing recordings. (Hmm, what's that in the Timezone dialog? Oh, Cupertino, I see.) The fact they don't do this is pretty stupid regardless of this case. The answer to the "should have" question is not for you or me to decide, but you can bet the attorney for the poor bastard they just fired will likely have a few ideas: was it too much of a financial burden, was it reasonable to expect this to happen, etc. Again, not our call.
    edited October 2017
  • Reply 89 of 286
    Soli said:
    Soli said:
    Soli said:
    Did the person who lost an iPhone 4 at a bar months before it was to be unveiled get fired?
    I’m not sure why you’re equating the accidental loss of a device intended to be removed from the office for outside testing with the intentional violation of your NDA by letting your kid record a video of an unreleased product inside of Apple’s HQ where any filming isn’t allowed anyway and then publishing it YouTube. Obviously they are not the same. One is an accident. One was willful and demonstrates insanely poor judgement.
    He may have accidentally forgotten the device but do you think when he was issued the device for testing outside of campus that he wasn't given a disclosure agreement to sign that stated that he's not to leave it anywhere, allow anyone else to use it, and/or not to talk about the device he has in a special case to obfuscate its appearance? I'd think that's pretty standard boiler plate for any company with a modicum of security and probably barely scratching the surface when it comes to what Apple likely had him sign. If I were in charge of this issue at Apple I'd even put in there that the employee should not imbibe if they wish to be part of this testing program because of the greater chance of having a lapse in judgement. Accident or not, the comments here are mostly very adamant about any violation of an agreement being a fireable offense—"no exceptions!," hence my mention of the iPhone 4 incident.
    The biggest difference in these two incidents may be time--before a change in policy vs after a change in policy.  The iPhone 4 incident may very well have caused that change in policy.  This is all speculation, but the iPhone 4 engineer may have used the one "get out of jail free card" for the entire company.  After that, Apple may well have decided that any violation is a fireable offense.  I don't claim to know.
    Speculation is perfectly fine and useful or conversation, so I appreciate the wording of your statement.

    I'd also proffer that other factors are at play. For example, if, say, Angela Ahrendt or Jony Ive had filmed the iPhone X in the wild last week without permission that they wouldn't have been fired because of their importance to the company.

    Now, many will read those names and think, "I can't imagine them ever doing that," and whilst that's not the point I can certainly use that thought for a rebuttal. IOW, it's not improbable that an employee that makes this egregious (albeit an unharmful to iPhone X sales) mistake has likely made other mistakes at Apple. Again I'll mention the "final straw" analogy.
    I don't know that Ahrendt and Ive are the best examples, simply because I don't think they would have the same NDA with the same penalties.  I'm not overlooking their importance to the company as a factor even if they did.  They would not be fired for doing this. 

    I agree in principle, but I would soften the statement to say that other factors could be at play.  Favoritism could be a factor.  He may have done a poor job of choosing enemies, and it caught up with him.  The flip-side of importance and value to the company is risk posed.  He would certainly have to add a lot of value to overcome the risk factor on display. 

    This was definitely the final straw.  The cavalier demeanor he exhibited in only a few seconds of video certainly does leave me with the impression that this may not have been the only straw.
    radarthekatnetmage
  • Reply 90 of 286
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,033member
    dewme said:
    Soli said:
    dewme said:
    i.e., the implications of unauthorized disclosure are not assessed based on the potential impact of the actual incident.
    That's what I said. You, on the other hand, said, "This guy put his coworker's and teammate's jobs at risk," which specifically indicated that he put others at risk, not that the NDA is in place to prevent the potential risk of putting the company (and individuals) at risk. Those are very different claims.
    No, I’m saying that it doesn’t matter what the actual or potential impact is for a specific incident. By definition, any violation of an NDA puts the company, employees, teams, and other stakeholders at greater risk. That’s why the NDA is in put place, to reduce the probability of loss, I.e., reduce risk) that may occur if unauthorized or unintended disclosure occurs. Even if no actual damage is found to have occurred after an NDA violation, the violation of the NDA inherently increases risk.
    Again, no. Violating the NDA could put various parties at risk but violating it doesn't necessarily put them at risk. As you later correctly state to "reduce the probability of loss," but you keep interjecting absolute statement that violating an NDA has absolutely put parties at risk.
    edited October 2017
  • Reply 91 of 286
    First of all I do feel sorry for the Dad and I am sure things will work out for him (most likely back at Apple) Though, I feel the daughter appeared to be older and I think she is stupid to post it. I also feel Dad should also have warned his daughter who was video taped it. Though, I do feel Apple has gone little mild on the secrecy side. Just couple of weeks ago at one of the public event I saw this guy next to me was using Apple iPhone X (it is hard not to miss) Most likely he much have been an Apple employee as this event was in San Jose, not too far from Cupertino. I could have easily captured a video of the guy with iPhone X and we might also would have been in same situation as this girl's father.

    Apple, You really need to get more tighter on the secrecy part of your product announcements - The product announcements are no longer an events on edge as it used to be when Steve was around. I miss that.

  • Reply 92 of 286
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,033member
    First of all I do feel sorry for the Dad and I am sure things will work out for him (most likely back at Apple) Though, I feel the daughter appeared to be older and I think she is stupid to post it. I also feel Dad should also have warned his daughter who was video taped it. Though, I do feel Apple has gone little mild on the secrecy side. Just couple of weeks ago at one of the public event I saw this guy next to me was using Apple iPhone X (it is hard not to miss) Most likely he much have been an Apple employee as this event was in San Jose, not too far from Cupertino. I could have easily captured a video of the guy with iPhone X and we might also would have been in same situation as this girl's father.

    Apple, You really need to get more tighter on the secrecy part of your product announcements - The product announcements are no longer an events on edge as it used to be when Steve was around. I miss that.
    Are we sure the issue had to do with filming the well documented iPhone X and not filming inside of Apple's campus? I believe Caffè Macs is for employees only, and while it may be possible to sign in a visitor for lunch I'd think that filming would be off limits for a variety of reasons.

    edit: I just found this which states that this particular employee cafeteria is off limits to anyone that isn't an employee..
    Unlike Apple’s main employee cafeteria at their Infinite Loop complex, which visitors can enter if signed in by an Apple employee, this new cafeteria is off limits to anyone but Apple staff.
    edited October 2017
  • Reply 93 of 286
    Apple's decision to terminate him is completely appropriate.  He knows what an NDA is and he fully understood why he signed it. He also knows the consequences of breaking the agreement.  It was his duty and obligation to tell his daughter that under no circumstances should she publish that video on any social media sites or anywhere else for that matter until after the official release of the device and it was available for public consumption.  But even after the official release, they would still need to edit the video before posting because Apple would not likely appreciate some parts of the video - like when he seemed to imply that he is the creator of the technology behind ApplePay and that he was just testing it out at the cash register in the cafe. I'd also like to add that, I don't buy his daughter's claim that she had no idea how her video went viral. She is young and therefore by default, clearly understands the power and reach of social media. Therefore, filming the most anticipated device on the planet whilst on the company's campus at a time where everyone else on the planet is running internet searches - day and night - to glean any little bit of information they can about it, how could she not know the video would go viral?  She clearly knows about making videos and is quite familiar with all the concepts of social media and making contributions to it.  She HAD to know that her video would garner all kinds of attention and had viral potential.  She likely thought she would be perceived as an Apple insider (no pun intended) (by way of her father) by all who saw the video.  She knows that people absolutely WANT and CRAVE the inside scoop on all things Apple.  She had to have known that going into this because she is obviously not stupid.  The bottom line is, her impulse to be the cool girl on Apple's property, showing off the new unreleased iPhone made her impervious to the consequences  - the loss of her father's job.  The silver lining is there is a valuable teaching lesson in the experience - hopefully both father and daughter got it and learned from it.
    baconstangdewmeradarthekatpscooter63magman1979netmage
  • Reply 94 of 286
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,050member
    Apple, I Disagree with this decision. 

    Firing is extreme. 

    It is not correct.


    You’re fucking run Apple? I would fire him too for breaking the damn rule!
    edited October 2017 baconstangmagman1979
  • Reply 95 of 286
    dewme said:

    The "apology" video by the child is (yet another) example of how selfish individuals attempt to make everything about themselves rather than considering the consequences that their mistaken and selfish actions have on other people. Anti-empathy at its finest.
    I appreciated your entire post, but these last 2 lines really pinpoints the problem eloquently.
    magman1979baconstangradarthekatpscooter63
  • Reply 96 of 286
    I feel really bad about how this went down.  but that girl does seem like a veruca salt to me.
    magman1979baconstang
  • Reply 97 of 286
    jd_in_sb said:
    What did she show in the video that wasn't already shown in the keynote?
    That’s completely irrelevant. He signed an agreement to accept job termination if he should do what he ended up doing. If the same video has been shot with the iPhone X powered off he could still be terminated. 
    There may be other contractual violations but an NDA cannot be enforced against information already in the public domain.
    Soli
  • Reply 98 of 286
    While there is no doubt the employee did the wrong thing, If he was otherwise a valuable employee, maybe the option to resign quietly would have been a better way to save his otherwise reportedly unblemished career. With such a public firing ( yes it does send a loud message to others ) i feel his future career prospects are not much great than working alongside his daughter at McDonalds, as she now has to fund her own college aspirations. Everyone makes mistakes and hopefully he has learned, but his future tech career is not looking bright.
    Soli
  • Reply 99 of 286
    jungmark said:
    It’s unfortunate but he signed a NDA. He’ll find another job. 
    I hear Subway needs “sandwich artists.”

    But seriously, this guy may never work again in his field thanks to his foolish decision to allow his daughter to take any kind of video of an NDA’d product.
    edited October 2017 baconstangmagman1979radster360
  • Reply 100 of 286
    davidwdavidw Posts: 1,736member
    Soli said:
    dewme said:
    Soli said:
    dewme said:
    i.e., the implications of unauthorized disclosure are not assessed based on the potential impact of the actual incident.
    That's what I said. You, on the other hand, said, "This guy put his coworker's and teammate's jobs at risk," which specifically indicated that he put others at risk, not that the NDA is in place to prevent the potential risk of putting the company (and individuals) at risk. Those are very different claims.
    No, I’m saying that it doesn’t matter what the actual or potential impact is for a specific incident. By definition, any violation of an NDA puts the company, employees, teams, and other stakeholders at greater risk. That’s why the NDA is in put place, to reduce the probability of loss, I.e., reduce risk) that may occur if unauthorized or unintended disclosure occurs. Even if no actual damage is found to have occurred after an NDA violation, the violation of the NDA inherently increases risk.
    Again, no. Violating the NDA could put various parties at risk but violating it doesn't necessarily put them at risk. As you later correctly state to "reduce the probability of loss," but you keep interjecting absolute statement that violating an NDA has absolutely put parties at risk.
    If one violate the NDA they agree to when accepting the job, then one puts the company that hired them at risk when they violate that NDA. It doesn't mater how little damage was done when an employee violates their NDA, it puts the company at risk to have such an employee working for them. For one, other  co workers may no long trust the NDA violater with new research or ideas, thus valuable input from the violater may get reduced.

    Steve Jobs stated somewhere that the reason by the new Apple campus is designed in such a way, where employees has to do a lot of walking, to get from one place to another, is so that employees has a better chance of interacting with other employees, that they don't normally work with. This exchange with other employees may lead to ideas that one wouldn't normally get from employees working on the same project.

    Of course this exchange can only take place if one can trust the other employees. I would assume that all Apple employees signs an NDA in one form or another. Even contract employees contracted to clean the windows. Though I'm sure Apple employees are not going to purposely talk to the window cleaner about the project they're working on, but that doesn't mean that the window washer might not over hear a conversation between Apple employees or see a new device sittin on a desk. Thus window washers also has an NDA agreement to not talk about any information they might have heard or seen while working.

    Apple employees that violate the trust that Apple has in them are a liability to Apple, no matter how little damage was done when they violated their NDA. To Apple, violating the NDA was damage enough.

    If an employee were to be charged with insiders trading , the SEC would see to it that the employee is fined, any profit forfeited and bar from trading company stocks (and maybe all stocks) for a certain amount of time, even if the employee made only $100 with the insider trade. Or that there were already  rumors about the insider information the employee had. Even if the employee never traded at all, but others that he may have told traded. To the SEC, it was the insider trading or the revealing of insider information that matters, not the amount of money the employee or others may have made from trading on insiders info.

    When you think about it, the employee that lost the prototype iPhone did not violate his NDA as he was allowed to test the prototype outside in the public. Accidentally losing the phone is not the same as allowing someone else to use the prototype iPhone or allowing it to be photographed or him showing off Apple new iPhone to others. Of course he may no longer be allowed to take an unreleased iPhone out in the public again. Not because he violated his NDA, but because he's careless. 

    I'm sure that if this employee, in the iPhone X case, was at a wedding and there was video footage of him using his iPhone X taken by the wedding photographer and it made it into YouTube, he would not be in trouble as he did not violate his NDA. But the wedding photographer might be violating the privacy of his client by posting video of a private event he was hired to photograph. 
    baconstangdewmeradarthekatpscooter63magman1979netmage
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