06/11/11

Apple Security Chief Reportedly Leaves Company

Apple’s vice president of global security has reportedly stepped down roughly two months after the surface of news reports that an iPhone prototype had gone missing for the second time in less than two years.

According to reports, John Theriault, who came to Apple from Pfizer and was a former FBI agent, has retired in the wake of controversy regarding the device's disappearance and the subsequent efforts to track it down. Apple did not return a request for comment.

Nevertheless, Theriault’s departure follows a public relations dustup that began when an Apple employee left the prototype at a bar in San Francisco. The company's attempts to find the device led it to 22-year-old Sergio Calderon, who has said members of Apple's security team showed up at his home in San Francisco with police to search for the phone. According to Calderon, he only let the Apple investigators in because he thought they were police. However, the San Francisco Police Department - which initially denied involvement - has said that while there were officers at the scene, the search itself was conducted by the Apple employees.

The device, believed to have been a prototype of an iPhone 4S, was not found during the search. A lawyer for Calderon has reportedly threatened a lawsuit against Apple.

The latest case of the missing prototype echoes the disappearance of an iPhone 4 prototype in 2010. In that incident, an Apple employee left the phone at a bar called Gourmet Haus Staudt in Redwood City, Calif. When the phone was discovered, it was sold to the tech blog Gizmodo, which dissected the device and published pictures. This ultimately led investigators to raid the home of a Gizmodo editor. Two men were charged with selling the phone to Gizmodo and were sentenced to probation earlier this year. No one from Gizmodo was charged.

In the aftermath of the most recent incident, Apple was found to have posted job listings for a “product security manager” who would be responsible for “overseeing the protection of, and managing risks to, Apple’s unreleased products and related intellectual property.”

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