By Dan Moren
June 30, 2017 5:51 PM PT
The Back Page: Leaked Transcript of Apple’s Plan to Stop Leaks
Good morning, and welcome to this important presentation. My name is Karen Redaakted–before you ask, it’s Dutch–and I’m the head of Product Security here at Apple. I’m here today to talk to you about a subject that’s near and dear to the hearts of all of us. Do you know what that is?
No. No you don’t. Because nobody has told you. And nobody has told you because the topic itself is a secret. After all, we wouldn’t want news of our secret briefings to get out into public–that would be terribly embarrassing.
But now that the hermetically sealed doors have been closed and we’ve activated the jamming field that we used to exclusively reserve for press liveblogging our events–not that I am confirming or denying that we ever used it–we can tell you exactly what we’re here to discuss today.
We’ve all got secrets. For example, most of you probably don’t know that Karl will eat any leftover cake in the breakroom refrigerator. Or that Janet plays Overwatch on her work iMac when nobody’s around. You probably wouldn’t want those secrets out in the press, right? Right, Karl? Of course not. Well, how much worse would you feel if it turned out that Karl was the iMac Pro. Or that Janet was that iOS 11 feature that turns your selfies into cartoon characters? You’d feel pretty bad, wouldn’t you?
So, we’re launching some new security initiatives to triple down on secrecy. Yes, triple–we’re not playing blackjack here, people.
Firstly, from now on, all unreleased products, both hardware and software, will be referred to exclusively by codename. And yes I know that we already have codenames for products, but here’s what we’re doing differently: each employee will be issued unique codenames for each individual product. That way, should a codename be leaked to the press, we will know exactly who did it.
You might be wondering how this will affect meetings. Good question. We will be issuing a specialized Siri-enabled iOS app to all employees. Simply put in your AirPods and launch the app at the beginning of any meeting, and it will automatically look up mentions of other employees’ codenames and instantaneously translate them; Siri will then speak the appropriate codename directly into your ears.
So if your code name for the Mac Pro is “Cardamom Clock” and you’re in a meeting with Karl Cakeeater–he’s of German descent, I believe–and he uses his Mac Pro codename “German Forest”, which is totally randomly generated, then you will hear Siri say “Cardamom Clock.”
That’s one precaution. The second precaution we are taking today is to replace all of your social networks with our new Apple-designed social network service, Friends. No longer will you need to go to sites like Facebook and Twitter to keep up with what “other people” are doing. Instead, you can view these specially curated feeds of what your co-workers think about the latest meme, political news, or cute puppy. That way, if you accidentally post something that violates our secrecy protocol, the only people who see it will be other Apple employees.
But even more importantly, the other posts in your timeline don’t come from actual Apple employees–we’ve used machine learning to mimic real social media posts. Each timeline is custom-generated for you. We are confident you’ll never even notice the difference.
Finally, the third leg of our privacy stool–which will soon be replacing all chairs throughout Apple Park–is perhaps the most drastic, but also the most effective. We will be raising an immense dome around the campus which will be both transparent and impermeable. You’ll barely even notice it’s there, at least as long as you don’t try to leave. But we’re not monsters: we will of course be issuing temporary permits for you to visit your families at least twice a week via our new telepresence robots. Those robots will be equipped with the same special iOS app to make sure there are no unauthorized leaks–anytime it detects you are saying a codename or any other confidential information, it will bleep out those words. We’re confident that, over time, this will simply become ingrained behavior.
So there you have it: our plan to improve secrecy at Apple so that we are second to none in this department. I appreciate all of your attention to this important matter, and need to, naturally, impress upon you the complete confidentiality of this very meeting. To ensure which, I will just need you all to look into this device and–bright white flash
[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Mastodon at @firstname.lastname@example.org or reach him by email at email@example.com. His latest novel, the supernatural detective story All Souls Lost, is now available for pre-order.]