Industrial Espionage

Industrial Espionage Prevention

The following article from The NYT highlights Apple’s hyper-vigilant approach to R&D information protection.  Besides using effective protection strategy and even the old cloak-and-dagger operation, security awareness appears to be ingrained in the fabric of Apple’s culture.

Apple Obsessed With Secrecy on Products and Top Executives
New York Times (06/23/09) P. B1; Stone, Brad; Vance, Ashlee

Apple has implemented a number of security measures in an effort to tightly control information about its products. For example, the company requires employees who work on top-secret projects to pass through a number of security doors and enter a numeric code to get into their offices. In addition, Apple has installed security cameras in areas where employees are working on important projects. According to an employee who worked in such an area, workers in some product-testing rooms must cover up devices in black cloaks when they are working on them and turn on red warning lights when removing the cloaks. The red lights were installed to alert workers in the area to be more careful than they otherwise would be, the employee said. Another step Apple has taken to prevent the release of information about its products involves providing employees with incorrect details about a product in order to track down the source of news reports that contain the false information. Employees are sometimes fired for leaking information. According to Regis McKenna, a Silicon Valley marketing veteran who used to advise Apple on its media strategy, the culture of secrecy began to take shape in the wake of Apple’s launch of the first Macintosh. Apple was concerned because competitors knew about the Mac before it was introduced.


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