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Three jailed in China for leaking iPad 2 information

iPad 2 information leaked

While you were getting excited about the magic of getting your iPad 2 and dreaming of when you could sit in front of Apple with a folding chair to be first, corporate espionage was taking place that has resulted in fines and jail time for three people in China. An iPad 2 case was being designed and a Chinese company wanted first shot at releasing a case to get a competitive advantage, and it has ended in prison terms.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “The court announced the decision Tuesday in statements on its official account at Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like microblogging service in China. It said that Xiao Chengsong, general manager of Shenzhen MacTop Electronics Co., had offered 20,000 yuan, or about $3,000, plus discounts on MacTop products to a former Hon Hai employee named Hou Pengna, for information about the iPad 2. The court said Ms. Hou then paid Lin Kecheng, a Hon Hai research-and-development employee, to get digital images of the device’s back cover from last September, six months before the iPad 2 was publicly announced.”

They were sentenced to prison terms from a year to 18 months and owe fines from $4,500 to roughly $23,000. Cases appeared on the Chines supply sites four months before the official iPad 2 unveiling and the three were arrested soon after with little fanfare until the court officially sentenced them.

According to MacRumors.com, “The employees cited in that report had been claimed to be Foxconn employees and are presumed to be the same ones sentenced to prison in the new report, although only two of them were actually Foxconn employees while the the third was manager of the case manufacturing company that solicited the information.”

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It seems a little extreme to jail people over something like an iPad 2 case cover, but corporate espionage is punished no matter what country you are in. So tonight, when you’re cuddling your iPad 2 to sleep, consider the case you’ve purchased and if it is a MacTop cover that you got before you got your iPad 2 because if it is, you can thank these three for your ability to buy a proper case before the iPad 2 hit the market. In all seriousness, this is a pretty heavy charge these three have been convicted of and not the first (or last) time that Apple has had to contend with leaks, but frequently, the leaks come from within and sometimes analysts question if leaks of the PR kind are intentional or not.

The WSJ also reminded readers of the gravity of leaks. “In July 2009, a 25-year-old Hon Hai worker in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen committed suicide after being questioned by a Hon Hai security official. Local-media reports, which weren’t confirmed, said the questioning involved the disappearance of a prototype iPhone. Hon Hai expressed regret over the worker’s death and agreed to compensate his family. Apple also said it was saddened by the worker’s death. “We require that our suppliers treat all workers with dignity and respect,” a spokesman for Apple said at the time.”

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