updated 12:40 am EST, Tue January 11, 2005
EFF fights Apple subpoenas
: The New York Times writes: "As part of a lawsuit filed by Apple in Santa Clara County Superior Court on Dec. 13, the company obtained a court order allowing it to issue subpoenas...The three Web sites published or linked to information on what they said was a future Apple audio device that was code-named 'Asteroid.' The subpoenas are aimed at getting the operators of those sites to disclose the sources of the information that was reportedly leaked. An attorney representing AppleInsider and PowerPage asserted that bloggers ought to be extended the same protections as mainstream journalists, who have traditionally been given some latitude by the courts in protecting the identities of confidential sources."
On December 13, Apple filed suit against "John 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 "John Does", defendents whom Apple says it will name once it is able to identify them. Apple claims that these "Does" allegedly leaked the information in question. The 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."