Apple has a message for its employees: if you're caught leaking confidential company information, you could lose your job and even face criminal charges.
In in internal memo obtained by Bloomberg, the Cupertino tech giant revealed it caught 29 leakers in 2017, including Apple employees, contractors and supply chain partners. Twelve of those leakers were arrested.
"Leakers do not simply lose their jobs at Apple," the memo states. "In some cases, they face jail time and massive fines for network intrusion and theft of trade secrets both classified as federal crimes."
One person was caught after sharing "a link to the gold master of iOS 11" with the press ahead of Apple's September iPhone X ($999 at Verizon Wireless) event, the memo indicates. Others were "feeding confidential details about new products including iPhone X, iPad Pro and AirPods" to 9to5Mac.
And, just last month, Apple caught and fired an employee responsible for leaking confidential details about the company's software roadmap. "Thousands" of people within the organization were privy to this information, but Apple's investigators identified the leaker, who said they shared it with a reporter.
"The impact of a leak goes beyond the people who work on a particular project -- it's felt throughout the company," the memo states. "Leaked information about a new product can negatively impact sales of the current model; give rival companies more time to begin on a competitive response; and lead to fewer sales of that new product when it arrives."
Whether the memo cuts down on leaks remains to be seen. The fact that a memo warning employees against leaking was itself leaked is not a good sign.