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Apple Forces Leaker to “Snitch” on Sources, or Be Reported to the Police

Timmy is NOT playing…

According to a new report from Vice, Tim Cook and the gang have sent a cease and desist letter to a Chinese leaker account who “advertised stolen iPhone prototypes on social media”.

We’ve talked before about how Apple was targeting leak accounts. In fact, I made a whole video about it here:

The difference in this case is that the Chinese citizen who ran the Twitter account in question, was quite literally in possession of stolen prototypes.

The user and exact Twitter account has not been identified in this report.

To be fair, in most cases, the “leaker” is not the person posting the information on social media. The “leaker” is the employee who is leaking information to the press, or… a Twitter user, who then simply reports or posts on the information they obtained. Leaking is illegal, but the act of reporting on the leak is not, especially here in the U.S.

The issue with this Twitter user, in particular, is that they weren’t just tweeting images of prototypes. They seemed to be in physical possession of these stolen prototypes… which is where the waters get very murky.

Vice previously investigated and reported that there’s a black market of stolen Apple device prototypes, where employees from Foxconn and other suppliers smuggle devices out of factories in an effort to sell them.

Accounts like JinStore, Mr. White, and others in possession of these smuggled devices, then use social media, like Twitter, to post images of the devices.

Screenshot of a tweet from Jin Store

Through investigation, Apple has obtained relevant evidence about your unauthorized disclosure of Apple’s unreleased and rumored products. Your intentional infringement is specifically manifested as: publishing unpublished information about Apple’s new products through social media platforms, including but not limited to the design and performance of these new products.

– Apple’s Law Firm, Fangda Partners

Apple’s letter demanded that the user stop acquiring, advertising, and selling leaked Apple devices, and further requested that the user hand over a list of anyone who provided them with the prototypes.

At the time of the request, Apple gave them 14 days to comply or risk being reported to the police.

By now, you know my stance on this: Apple should try to fight the battle from the inside out. There isn’t much they can do, legally, to accounts that are simply reporting or publishing information obtained from sources.

But, in this instance, Apple is totally in the right to go after someone who has physically obtained stolen property, and if I were this person, I would feel fairly lucky that Apple didn’t go straight to the police in the first place.

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