December 11, 2019

Article at The Inquirer

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An ex-Apple executive claims the company spied on his phone after he left

An ex-Apple executive claims the company spied on his phone after he left
Where the magic happens. Allegedly.

GIVEN APPLE GOES to great lengths to boast about its privacy chops, a current ongoing court case could well end up causing the company a whole heap of reputational trouble.

The case revolves around Gerard Williams III - the third in the long-running series of Gerard Williams. Once upon a time, he worked on mobile chips for Apple, but left after a decade, at which point he joined NuVia Inc - a company that makes processors for data centres.

Several other developers followed and in August Apple sued for breach of contract, which had the usual stipulations about not engaging in business activities with direct competitors.

The filing, seen by Engadget, puts it like this: "This case involves a worst-case scenario for an innovative company like Apple: A trusted senior director with years of experience, and years of access to Apple's most valuable information, secretly starts a competing company leveraging the very technology the director was working on, and the same teams he was working with, while still employed by Apple."

The trouble is that the filing makes it apparent that Apple had access to texts and phone records, and isn't afraid to share them. It includes one exchange with another Apple engineer from October 2015, and also documents the number and length of various calls Williams had with his new employer while still on Apple's dime.

For a company that claims to love privacy so much, this isn't a great look - even if this turns out to be a company phone. Unsurprisingly Williams calls it a "stunning and disquieting invasion of privacy," and while it's unlikely Apple has any interest if what consumers get up to with their handsets, it's still a bit worrisome that the company has both the ability and the lack of qualms about doing so.

The case is set for review in court on 21 January, so maybe we'll cover it again then. µ