One Small Step For Bloggers, One Giant Step For Journalism - InformationWeek
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Infrastructure // PC & Servers
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7/13/2006
11:34 AM
David  DeJean
David DeJean
Commentary
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One Small Step For Bloggers, One Giant Step For Journalism

The San Francisco Chronicle reports this morning that Apple won't continue to bully bloggers for the name of the internal source who leaked secret company information to them last year. An appeals court ruled May 26 that Apple could not force the bloggers to reveal the identity of the person. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which had challenged the Apple lawsuit, told The Chronicle the decision means that bloggers and other online journalists have the same right to protect their sources as t

The San Francisco Chronicle reports this morning that Apple won't continue to bully bloggers for the name of the internal source who leaked secret company information to them last year. An appeals court ruled May 26 that Apple could not force the bloggers to reveal the identity of the person. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which had challenged the Apple lawsuit, told The Chronicle the decision means that bloggers and other online journalists have the same right to protect their sources as traditional reporters. I extend my sympathy to Steve Jobs, who must be struggling with the news that he's only human, for the damage this vendetta must have done to Apple's once-vaunted corporate culture.It's nice to see the bloggers get some protection. It's even better to see the place of journalism in a democratic society reconfirmed by a court, at least partly because it also confirms that we're still a democratic society.

It's also reassuring to see that Apple's underhanded tactics have been specifically quashed by the appeals court. Apple had tried to get the leaker's name by subpoenaing the Internet service providers used by the bloggers. The appeals court said Apple did not have the right to use the bloggers to get the name of the source, said the Chronicle, without first deploying other means, such as interviewing its employees under oath. I guess Apple wasn't ready to do that. I'm glad. Maybe there's hope for the company. After all, it's hard to say things like lie-detector tests and phone taps are part of the employee-benefit plan and keep a straight face.

Going after the ISPs is a tactic that's been tried before, notably by the music industry. It is always an attempt at censorship, and it is reprehensible because a free Internet is just as important as a free press. I'm glad to see the courts continue to slap it down.

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