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Apple Engineer Claims Company Made Him Build 'Top Secret' iPod For Federal Govt

Apple Engineer Claims Company Made Him Build 'Top Secret' iPod For Federal Govt

A former Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) software engineer, David Shayer, claims he took on a hush-hush assignment while he was at the company that involved building a “top secret” iPod for the United States Department of Energy, CNN reported Wednesday.

The Top Secret iPod: Shayer says an Apple superior asked him  to take on a “special assignment,” and assist two engineers from the Department of Energy’s contractor Bechtel Corporation in building a custom iPod.

The devices they would build would resemble any other iPod, but would contain custom hardware that could store data without being detected by a user. Only four people at Apple knew about the project, including the vice president of the iPod division and the senior vice president of hardware, both of which have since left the company, Shayer wrote in a blog post dated Aug. 17. 

A Custom Geiger Counter? Although Shayer claims he never found out what kind of hardware the two engineers added to the modified iPod, he theorized that the men were building a “stealth Geiger counter.”

The engineer wrote that such a device could be useful for scanning "smuggled or stolen uranium, for instance, or evidence of a dirty bomb development program—with no chance that the press or public would get wind of what was happening.”

Apple’s Deference Not Unusual: In January, reports emerged that Apple complied with, and was willing to aid government agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in the collection of private information.

This stands in contrast with the company’s public image, where it often defies attempts by law enforcement agencies that seek cooperation on criminal or national security matters. A notable case being Apple’s resistance in providing access to the two smartphones used by the Pensacola Naval Air Station shooter, a Saudi national, in January this year.

Price Action: Apple shares traded 0.4% lower at $461 in the pre-market session Thursday.



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