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Gizmodo’s incredibly naive Jesus Diaz compares Apple’s corporate security to Nazi Gestapo

Gizmodo douche Jesus Diaz

Daniel Eran Dilger

According to Gizmodo, Apple’s rather routine internal efforts to secure its trade secrets and the details of its product development plans exposed to the employees who work for it are somehow comparable to the oppressive police state brutality carried out by the Nazi Gestapo and KGB secret police against citizens. He’s wrong to an egregious and irresponsible extent, here’s why.
Jesus Diaz certainly isn’t the sharpest knife in the pundit drawer and has a particular attraction to writing up rabidly sensationalized blather as a master link-baiter, but he also seems to be lacking a basic education in terms of recent history and high school level social studies.

Apple Gestapo: How Apple Hunts Down Leaks – Apple Worldwide Loyalty Team – Gizmodo

Citizens are not government employees

Outside of a very few insane places on earth, society in general recognizes that individuals living with a country have inalienable rights to freedoms of speech and movement and assembly and reasonable degrees of privacy. Unless, of course, an individual chooses to work for the government, particularly in a position involving state secrets. Once that happens, the employed person can’t divulge any information he might care to, for reasons that are obvious.

Any time an individual volunteers to be employed with a company, he similarly agrees to forgo certain freedoms in order to earn a paycheck. We call this “work.” Most people can’t expect to remained employed if they choose to spend their time at work idly watching porn, posting about how much they hate their boss on Facebook, or discussing their personal opinions on politics and religion to captive fellow employees.

Given the quality of the product that Gizmodo creates, it appears that Diaz’ basic freedoms aren’t inconvenienced very much in consideration for whatever he earns from Gawker Media. However, as an international corporation worth $175 billion, Apple maintains certain expectations of its employees, which it enforces with nondisclosure agreements and a variety of security procedures and policies that are familiar to anyone who does business for any company that manages valuable and sensitive information.

Leveraging inappropriate Nazi references is the height of asshat click whoredom

Diaz complains that Apple’s corporate security forbids the use of cameras on campus and reviews employees’ text messages and photos on the iPhones it issues to them while active investigations into information leaks are being conducted within a group working on sensitive projects, which he equates with the tactics of Nazi secret police that the global community subsequently described as crimes against humanity.

Unlike state police of any kind, Apple can’t even detain employees suspected of leaking information. If employees do not volunteer to comply with investigations into information leaks, the company can only send them packing to look for a new job. How Diaz comes to the conclusion that this is in any way similar to the brutal police interrogations, secret imprisonments, threats of death, torture and “harsh interrogation,” and frequent occurrences of mass murder conducted by the Gestapo and KGB is far beyond inappropriate.

The fact that Gizmodo’s audience didn’t immediately and unanimously condemn his childish and ridiculous rant, which would be no less absurd if it were directed at Microsoft or the Department of Defense or any other entity that secures access to the information accessible to the people it employs, says as much about the intelligence and sophistication of Gizmodo’s target audience as Diaz’ writing says about the legitimacy of his website.

Unwilling to slink off with just a unconscionable analogy between Apple’s commonplace level of corporate security and the police squads that supported the Nazi Holocaust, Diaz also implies that an Apple investigation was directly the cause of a suicide in China that is believed to have been related to efforts by iPhone contractor Foxconn to police its own security measures, which are alleged to have been conducted inappropriately, but of which even Gizmodo reported at the time, “It goes without saying that Apple can’t be held accountable for a tragic one-off event at a different company.”

Jesus Diaz, you are a complete douche.

26 comments

1 sprockkets { 12.15.09 at 8:11 pm }

Love the graphic.

2 Steve White { 12.15.09 at 8:19 pm }

Can a columnist such as Mr. Diaz violate Godwin’s Law or is that exclusive to comments sections?

3 bartfat { 12.15.09 at 9:10 pm }

Jesus, I didn’t know Diaz wrote complete crap ;) Then again, I generally steer clear of Gizmodo anyway, because their sources are less than trustworthy and their “tips” are usually either wrong or completely known to everyone but them it seems. There is one good writer that I liked.. Adam Pash. Unfortunately it seems he’s left Gizmodo for good to pursue other opportunities (probably left because of all the douches there). So nope, don’t really believe anything Gizmodo says, because they generally don’t have any original sources that are correct. BTW, since his name is Jesus, maybe a well-timed sentence like, “Jesus, how can you continue to turn out this pile of steaming— crap.” Of course, that would be completely out-of-character and unprofessional for you ;) Maybe a well-placed image of Jesus (this one) NOT giving his blessings to the Jesus Phone too :)

4 Digital Mercenary { 12.15.09 at 9:50 pm }

I can tell you that having worked for Apple for 17 years, now retired, the the engineers wouldn’t put up with that kind of environment.

Jesus should get a job at WAFM.

5 uberVU - social comments { 12.15.09 at 10:06 pm }

Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Twitter by DanielEran: New: Gizmodo’s incredibly naive Jesus Diaz compares Apple’s corporate security to Nazi Gestapo – http://tinyurl.com/ybxlh6q

6 gus2000 { 12.15.09 at 11:04 pm }

Total win on the graphic…I LOLed.

I must sheepishly admit that I read (and occasionally post at) Gizmodo, but mostly for laughs. I can never get enough “Will it blend?” and “Will it play Crysis?” jokes.

Diaz’s pieces usually deserve a chuckle, although my estimation of his knowledge dropped precipitously when he called me out in his comment section as having no experience whatsoever in the subject at hand. I’ve been working for high-tech manufacturers my whole adult life, mostly doing testing. The subject of the blog post? Testing. Hmmm.

I can also attest that we all sign non-disclosures, and are periodically briefed on the protection of sensitive information. There are no cameras permitted (although cameraphones are ubiquitous), no hardware removed from buildings without a “property pass”, etc. I must daily authenticate though multiple internal firewalls to reach local servers, and have a laundry list of passwords that must be changed every 90 days. I must activate badge readers to enter the building, to hit the button on the elevator, and to get to my office. And I’m not even working in product development!

I must admit that I’d be a bit creeped out to think that somebody might be sitting in a dark room reading all my emails, as boring as they are. In my office we all restrict web/email to work issues as much as possible, since we assume that anything we do on work computers/phones is subject to inspection. If it’s personal, you grab your cell and head outside with the smokers. That’s just the way it works.

7 tundraboy { 12.15.09 at 11:18 pm }

Why is anyone so surprised? This is Gizmodo we’re talking about. Possibly the only tech website whose editorial board is eclusively populated by pimply-faced, Adam-Sandler-worshipping, thirteen-year-old social misfits.

8 MarkyMark { 12.15.09 at 11:35 pm }

I quit reading Gizmodo several years ago, it just doesn’t make the cut.

9 AdamC { 12.16.09 at 12:38 am }

Isn’t this the outfit whose bunch of pranksters which pulled off some immature stuff at the last CES.

10 frankeee { 12.16.09 at 1:48 am }

Daniel,

You gotta see: I am actually having gizmodo in my safari top sites – and for the fun of reading some of their articles and obviously for the sake that updates are happening rather frequently over the day I do admit that I’m kind of hooked with them.

There is two types of articles I believe – the Apple Fanboy and the Microsoft Fanboy. Regardless of what the article is about.

The casual gizmodo reader really is a M$ fanboy (see their comments).

But none of this matters to me a lot since I have advanced to Apple enthusiast.

This very article – and “I stand by my word – because I don’t like these people and never will” – given the characteristics of me being GERMAN and having worked for APPLE – was way off the hooks.
I left a comment on their site – which I do rarely and only when either appropriate (or when I’m drunk, dear).

Anyway, I thought I let you know – however, will still check the site – but Jes’ will be ‘watched’ ;-)

Franky

11 Jon T { 12.16.09 at 2:06 am }

One day in the future Gizmodo readers do grow up.

12 Brau { 12.16.09 at 2:30 am }

“…I’d be a bit creeped out to think that somebody might be sitting in a dark room reading all my emails..”

Having worked for a decade for a security company I can assure you there is sooo bloody much information coming and going at any given moment that nobody can afford to sit and simply read your emails or listen to your phone calls. It’s like a flooding river of data, but there’s one key thing to remember: They record content to protect *themselves* not you. They won’t go sifting through the information until they want something or something is wrong, and today they can find a needle in a haystack within seconds if they know where and when to look. If the needle they find makes *them* look bad it will magically disappear in a nanosecond, but if it makes *you* look bad, you’ll disappear just about as quick. So think twice about replying to an off-color joke or sending a risque photo, they can be pulled out of history like they happened today, in the moment someone wants to can your ass.

13 Rich { 12.16.09 at 3:22 am }

“Jesus Diaz [...] has a particular attraction to writing up rabidly sensationalized blather as a master link-baiter.”

Oh, the irony.

14 Berend Schotanus { 12.16.09 at 3:58 am }
15 nat { 12.16.09 at 7:21 am }

It always shocks me just how horrendous Gizmodo is at presenting a halfway rational portrayal of reality.

I’m a frequent reader of another Gawker Media site, Kotaku (their gaming blog), and they publish nothing even approaching this level of sensationalism. Their editors foster and nurture intelligent discussion and actually know what they’re talking about.

Gizmodo ought to stick to product reviews, that’s almost all they’re good at these days.

16 アップルゲシュタポ:アップルは情報リークをどうやって見つけるか « maclalala:link { 12.16.09 at 7:38 am }

[...] Gizmodo’s incredibly naive Jesus Diaz compares Apple’s corporate security to Nazi Gestap… | RoughlyDrafted Magazine 〈ギズモードがアップルセキュリティをナチスのゲシュタポに例えたのは単純過ぎ〉 [...]

17 Phildikian { 12.16.09 at 9:32 am }

Well done Daniel. I too laughed out loud when I saw the picture – perfect. I also liked the “MASTER-link-BATER” line – well done. I am glad you’re back in action and calling these idiots for what they are. I guess too may people love this kind of sensationalist media which is why Gizmodo will never give it up, but in the end it doesn’t really matter. There are enough people who value reality, we just have to put up with them until they wind up finalists for the Darwin award or something…

18 wich { 12.16.09 at 11:18 am }

I was flamed and then banned from Gizmodo after I called out Jason Chen for his douchebaggery :/
Did not regret it though :)

19 dallasmay { 12.16.09 at 1:52 pm }

Hey Dan, Remember this one?
http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2007/12/13/soviet-microsoft-how-resistance-to-free-markets-and-open-ideas-will-the-unravel-the-software-superpower/

“Microsoft’s ideological contempt for and resistance to free markets and the open expression and propagation of fresh ideas and technologies is a close parallel of the old USSR…”

I’m assuming this is SOOOOOO MUCH DIFFERENT than Apple being called Nazis. Because really, choosing a computer with Windows is exactly like honoring and supporting tyrannical leaders of a regime that murdered 10′s of millions of people.

To quote LOST: “You see this glass house your living in, Jack? How about I get you some stones.”

20 ObamaPacman { 12.16.09 at 8:24 pm }

Whoa Dan, you made the graphic using voice commands, or are you healing at wolverine speed? =p

From what I can tell, Diaz seems to like Apple in most of his articles (at least recently). For example, recently he wrote: “Top 5 Assclown iPhone Quotes in 2007″ which makes fun of pundits who dismissed iPhone without considering the merits.

Looks like this time his story is too sensational for his own good. The Nazi comparison is definitely inappropriate, but that’s probably because he never had a job in the corporate environment before.

Anyway, Apple’s security seems to be on par as any large corporation.

In contrast, Microsoft seems to be even more restricted than Apple.

MS even fired a guy who posted a photo showing a large shipment of Macs on MS campus. The guy thought the photo is ok to post because the photo contained no Microsoft confidential information, no building features, no security measures, and no Microsoft personnel. But Microsoft fired the guy anyway even when there is no intellectual property at risk.

21 nat { 12.16.09 at 9:37 pm }

@ dallasmay,

Except that nowhere did Dan say or imply that “choosing a computer with Windows is exactly like honoring and supporting tyrannical leaders of a regime that murdered 10’s of millions of people.”

Despite Microsoft’s pretty terrible ability to keep secrets—and its CEOs who like to brag about products that either evaporate as vaporware or materialize as compromised, uninspired, by-committee crap—their privacy policies are likely very similar to Apple’s…and Google’s, and just about every other major commercial company that’s ever existed.

22 TheMacAdvocate { 12.17.09 at 4:42 pm }

*sigh* Summer’s Eve was my idea!

http://themacadvocate.com/2009/05/04/douchebag-row-my-tribute-to-tech’s-finest/

I’m sure it’s a coincidence. :) If it isn’t, I’m flattered. Good stuff, Dan. Jesus is one temper tantrum away from total obscurity.

23 David Hupp { 12.17.09 at 5:00 pm }

@Dallasmay: Lol.

At least Apple doesn’t dispatch bicyclists to inflict motorcycle accidents on critical bloggers, like Gooogle does. Instead Apple just sues them.

Of course, FTA actually said that “some employees call them the Apple Gestapo”, or something like that… (I can’t easily and go double check, because the iPhone doesn’t support multitasking with NetNewsWire.)

But yes, the article is paraphrasing a third party source, one who obviously either has a sense of humor or is just disgruntled, one whom isn’t identified for obvious reasons.

Quoting sensitive sources? How… journalistic.

I personally think a tongue-in-cheek comparison to the absurd surveillance (sp?) practices of the East German Stasi, since people seem to have a much sense of humor about the Stasi than the Gestapo. (No Godwin’s Law, either.)

If the level of of surveillance described in the article actually exists, then yes, Apple is being excessive. Requiring (recommending, lol) employees turn over their personal cellphones brings to mind the big story early this year of the Bozeman, Monatana asking job applicants to hand over their Facebook credentials to the city. (Though, I’m sure neither has anything on the Department of Defense or the State Department, your mailman can pretty much say whatever the f*ck he wants. FOIA, anyone?)

While yes, Nazi comparisons are almost always shallow and juvenile, what’s really douche-y is spending an entire article harping about it.

24 David Hupp { 12.17.09 at 5:05 pm }

@ Nat,

Except that nowhere did Jesus Diaz say or imply that “choosing a Mac is exactly like honoring and supporting tyrannical leaders of a regime that murdered 10’s of millions of people.”

…snap!

25 nat { 12.20.09 at 2:37 pm }

@ David

I quoted you, not Jesus. ;)

26 gslusher { 01.01.10 at 4:39 pm }

Good article, Daniel, as usual. People who are “outraged” at Apple’s (or Microsoft’s) corporate security have a simple option to avoid it: don’t apply for a job there!

I wonder what Diaz would think of my former employer. I, too, had to agree to keep the employer’s secrets. However:
* I could be prosecuted and sent to prison if I did reveal secrets.
* I was under compulsion to not reveal secrets for life.
* If I were to ever write an article or book dealing with my time with the employer, I might have to get the employer’s permission to publish it.
* I couldn’t quit without the employer’s permission.
* I couldn’t participate in most political activities at all, not just at work. (Many First Amendment rights were abrogated–legally.)

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