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Thursday, January 13, 2005

Just As TCD Predicted! Apple Going After Bloggers' Confidential Sources

Yesterday, I encouraged the Blogosphere to recognize the importance of journalists protecting confidential sources because the day is coming when it will be bloggers who need to protect confidential sources.

Little did I know that day is here already, courtesy of Apple Computer, which is trying to force a couple of bloggers - AppleInsider and Powerpage - to reveal who told them details about the firm's upcoming Asteroid product release. Read the Newsday story by clicking on the headline above. And thanks to Instapundit for spotlighting this turn of events in the Apple odyssey.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is taking up the legal defense of the two bloggers. Here's how EFF sees the case:

"On December 13, Apple filed suit against "Does 1-20" in a Santa Clara court. The company obtained a court order that allows it to issue subpoenas to AppleInsider and PowerPage for the names of the "Does" who allegedly leaked the information in question.
"EFF is defending the publishers against these subpoenas, arguing that the anonymity of bloggers' sources is protected by the same laws that protect sources providing information to journalists.
"'Bloggers break the news, just like journalists do. They must be able to promise confidentiality in order to maintain the free flow of information,' said EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. 'Without legal protection, informants will refuse to talk to reporters, diminishing the power of the open press that is the cornerstone of a free society.'
"'I am very disappointed by Apple's behavior and its new policy of issuing legal threats to its best customers,' added Jason O'Grady, publisher of PowerPage. 'Is corporate paranoia really more important than the First Amendment?'"

I was unable to find a comment on Apple's web page, though I have to admit this was my first-ever occasion to visit that particular web site and it's quite possible I just didn't know where to look. If somebody knows the link to an official Apple response, please let me know.