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Apple iPhone X engineer fired after daughter’s hands-on video went viral

Oct 29, 20173 mins

It's like a double cautionary tale about NDAs and losing control of content once you post it online.

iphone x pre order
Credit: Apple

You’re fired! That’s what Apple decided was the right course of action after the daughter of an engineer at Apple posted a hands-on video of his iPhone X and it went viral. It doesn’t matter that there were other more detailed hands-on video reviews out there or that the daughter took down the video as soon as Apple requested it. The incident plays out like a cautionary tale about NDAs.

In a follow-up video posted on Saturday, YouTuber Brooke Peterson, the daughter of an iPhone X engineer, said her dad was fired due to her original video.

Should Apple have fired her dad? Some people don’t think so. After all, hands on videos such as the one by reviewer Marques Brownlee had been around since September 12, the day of Apple’s iPhone X event.

Patently Apple, for example, sees it this way:

Some legal Nazi at Apple went by the letter of the law and fired Mr. Peterson for breaking a non-disclosure rule. His daughter’s video wasn’t released days before the event to have spoiled the surprise. In the big picture, it was a family day video with mother and daughter shopping in California with a brief segment of the Peterson family having pizza at the Apple cafeteria. In that brief segment Brooke shows off the iPhone X for the briefest of time and for that, Apple legal forced Brooke to take down her video and then went on to fire Mr. Peterson.

Yet it should be noted that Apple strictly prohibits the documenting of unreleased hardware; Peterson’s brief segment covering the iPhone X was filmed at Caffè Macs, an employee restaurant on Apple’s campus; unauthorized filming on Apple’s grounds is also a big no-no.

Besides violating both of those rules, The Verge explained that the “innocent hands-on” video also included “footage of an iPhone X with special employee-only QR codes. A notes app was also shown on the iPhone X in the video, which appeared to include codenames of unreleased Apple products.”

“Apple let him go,” Peterson confirmed on Saturday. She and her father are reportedly not mad at Apple, but in her tearful follow-up video, she said, “At the end of the day, when you work for Apple, it doesn’t matter how good of a person you are, if you break a rule they just have no tolerance.”

Having reportedly worked for Apple for about four years, helping to build the iPhone RF and wireless circuit design, the former Apple engineer is likely qualified for any number of new jobs. It would seem like he will have no trouble finding another job unless, of course, the hiring company can’t see beyond the NDA violation.

His daughter claims she had no subscribers before the hands-on video went viral. Despite her taking down the video per Apple’s request, many copies exist elsewhere – just another reminder that once you post something online, you lose control of it.

Here you can see a reposted version of Patterson’s original video – at least until it too is taken down.

ms smith

Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.