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1/13/2005
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Apple Targets Harvard Student For Product 'Leaks'

Think Secret, a Web site popular with Apple enthusiasts, so successfully predicted the company's recent product introductions that it has filed a law suit against the 19-year-old Harvard student operating the site.

In the wake of Apple Computer's product announcement flurry this week, a Web site popular with Apple enthusiasts has evaluated its earlier predictions of the products and found it got much right--so much right that Apple has filed a law suit against the 19-year-old Harvard student who operates the Think Secret site.

Undergraduate Nicholas M. Ciarelli had disclosed some details about Apple's "headless iMac," the firm's under-$500 computer unveiled at Macworld this week. For that, and for other leaks on planned Apple product announcements, Ciarelli has incurred the wrath of Apple, which has filed the complaint in Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara.

Ciarelli, who has been running the Think Secret site since he was 13, is an editor at Harvard's student newspaper, The Crimson. "I employ the same legal newsgathering practices used by any other journalist," he told the Crimson. "I talk to sources of information, investigate tips, follow up on leads, and corroborate details. I believe these practices are reflected in Think Secret's track record."

Near the top of the Web site's home page, a note states: "Do you have insider news to share? Contact us."

Apple, or other, insiders might have contacted Think Secret, because the site has run many accurate predictions about Apple products over the years. Sometimes, though, the site misses, and, when it does, it admits its failings.

In its story, the Crimson said that Ciarelli and his company--called the dePlume Organization--were charged with soliciting insider material on future Apple products from anonymous sources, thus "inducing" Apple insiders to break their non-disclosure pacts with the company.

A meeting on the case has been scheduled to take place on May 3, according to court filings.

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