Apple Lockdown: Fact or Fiction?

UPDATED: I apologize for anyone offended by the initial headline. If you’ll read the Gizmodo article referenced in the first paragraph you’ll see where this headline came from. This article is a response to the absurdity of Gizmodo’s article that implies that Apple uses Nazi-like tactics. We unequivocally disagree with what Gizmodo is implying or its references to Nazi/Gestapo tactics. Again, please do read the Gizmodo article first to put this in context.

Breaking Godwin’s Law at a sub-atomic level, incendiary Gizmodo cites an anonymous source describing how security finds leakers at Apple (s aapl), not to mention creating a pervasive atmosphere of fear and dread, referencing “Nazi” tactics by the “Gestapo.” That is, if you believe it.

Reading like something by Fake Steve Jobs—only not nearly as entertaining—Jesus Diaz relays the experience of “Tom,” a supposed current or former employee of Apple. Tom alleges that Apple has “moles,” or informants, “working everywhere, especially in departments where leaks are suspected.” When a leak is strongly suspected, members of the Team Apple World Police “Apple Worldwide Loyalty” arrive and an “operation” takes place.

What’s described is effectively a lockdown. Employees are forced to remain at their desks. Their cellphones are collected, and anyone needing to contact the outside is monitored. Interviews are done. NDAs are signed. If security finds the suspected leaker, and “they usually do,” the person is fired after questioning. Of the questioning itself, “Tom” has no first-hand experience.

“There is a lot that goes behind doors that I don’t really know about. I do know, however, that they really interrogate people that are serious suspects, intimidating them by threatening to sue.”

Setting aside logical inconsistencies in the article like cameras being forbidden at Apple yet every employee having an iPhone, and legal questions such as confiscating personal cell phones, “Tom” asserts this type of corporate behavior is common at Apple. With 35,000 employees, it seems difficult to imagine that were such invasive tactics the norm, that it could be kept a secret, or at least made public by more than one guy through e-mail.

Looking at comments about Apple at, a website where employees can rate their employers, there’s not a lot of Nazi analogies…though from reading Gizmodo’s article you’d certainly think there should be. There are negative comments, but in aggregate the opinion is positive. In a recent survey, Apple scored 3.9 out of 5.0 for fifth place in the top 10 tech companies to work for. As CEO, Steve Jobs had an approval rating of 91 percent, highest on the list. In contrast, Dell was rated lowest among tech companies with a score of 2.8, while CEO Michael Dell’s approval rating was 28 percent.

If you are waiting for some purple prose about working Dell tech support hell in some warehouse outside of Mumbai, you’ll probably be disappointed. There’s no fame or fortune in stating the obvious.