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TACO SPERM CONTAINS 100% US RDA OF VITAMIN HIV (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677241)

bottoms up you flamers, FP

UTSA and other considerations (5, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677244)

Funny how almost no story or commentary about this ever mentions that current, in-force US laws may have been broken in the publication of this information:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A793 7-2005Jan13_2.html [washingtonpost.com]

But while lawsuits against online publications are rare, he said, the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, versions of which have been adopted by about 45 states, including California, prevents third parties from exposing information knowingly obtained from sources bound by confidentiality agreements.

"Just because you don't have a relationship with the company doesn't necessarily immunize you, if you publish what you reasonably should have known was a trade secret," [Andrew] Beckerman-Rodau[, who runs the intellectual property program at Boston's Suffolk University Law School] said. "The First Amendment has been asserted more and more against intellectual property rights, but it's not faring well. Most courts haven't accepted it."


Apple doesn't really care about these web sites. They care about finding out who within the company (or contractor, etc.) is continually leaking this extremely accurate information to web sites (such as Think Secret). And no, it's not information that's "known" elsewhere. Some of these sites have got very reliable moles, and Apple wants to know who they are. Hint: yes, these are people who definitely have binding confidentiality agreements with Apple.

Regardless of whether or not Apple "should" or "shouldn't" be doing this, whether it's good PR or not, etc., if you can't see that it's wrong, legally and ethically, for these people to be leaking this information, then, well, we have nothing further to discuss. Is it journalism and free speech when you violate laws to obtain information? Ignorance of the law is no excuse...

And remember, whether or not you fundamentally *agree* with the law is irrelevant. It's either illegal, or not. (Yes, yes, sure, there's gray areas, but that's not the point I'm making. And sure, maybe these sites "fighting it" in this way is one mechanism to examine the validity of these laws, and further, the role of an online journalist and his information gathering mechanisms, what can be construed as soliciting known confidential information, what constitutes a violation of these laws in this context, etc.)

If Apple's goal is to find out who leaked this information - indeed, if it considers that information critical to its business - and there is a legal mechanism for perhaps recovering that information, is it not within its rights to file suit seeking that information, especially when criminal and/or civil laws pertinent to that very information may have been violated? You might THINK they should hire a private detective. You might THINK any laws prohibiting these sites from revealing such information are incorrect, immoral, or unjust. But those are subjects not relevant to the case at hand, unless, of course, you believe the EFF challenge is a fundamental challenge of these laws.

I'm not talking philosophy here, or whether or not government officials can/should leak to the press. This is not about the Seymour Hershes of the world and the Pentagon Papers. I'm talking about the legality of this particular case, which involves a corporate entity, not issues of "throwing reporters in jail" to "reveal sources". Note that under some conditions, journalists HAVE, in fact, violated the law, and have, properly, been thrown in jail. The concept of not revealing confidential sources isn't some high and mighty ethical concept; in fact, it's a rather selfish one: at some level, it ensures them more sources in the future. It makes them more effective as a journalist. Whether they've got lofty ideals or what have you is again irrelevant. The point is, we either enforce rule of law as set by society in this country, or we don't. And yes, we can work to change law(s), protest against them, and use the legal system as a backdrop for that fight.

But that doesn't change the fact that the laws are in force in the interim, and that persons, corporations, and other entities within the system will use the law to their advantage.

Re:UTSA and other considerations (0, Troll)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677268)

When that "third party" is the Press, then the 1st Ammendment applies. Regardless of the nature of the organization whose confidentiality was breeched.

Re:UTSA and other considerations (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677338)

I guess it will be up to the courts to determine when, how, and to whom the provisions of the UTSA can be applied, then, eh?

Also, the "1st Amendment" applies generally to everyone. What is the basis for your claim that the press is afforded a privilege that may exempt it from laws preventing the disclosure of confidential information by third parties?

Re:UTSA and other considerations (5, Insightful)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677536)

Ammendment I:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press are two separate items. A fact that is quite frequently forgotten. I, for one, see six separate points in the above text.

The Press has its own freedom, outside the concept of "Freedom of Speech."

Re:UTSA and other considerations (1)

kitzilla (266382) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677367)

> When that "third party" is the Press, then the 1st Ammendment applies. Regardless of the nature of the organization whose confidentiality was breeched.

I'd like that to be true, but the author of the parent is correct. That the third party disseminates NDA-covered information to one person or through the mass media is currently irrelevant.

Re:UTSA and other considerations (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677374)

The constitution also explicitely allows for intellectual property law. And Apple are not concerned with suppressing the speech. They just want to find who brached their contract. This is not unreasonable. You can make an agreement with a private entity not to employ your freedom of speech.

Re:UTSA and other considerations (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677432)

When that "third party" is the Press, then the 1st Ammendment applies. Regardless of the nature of the organization whose confidentiality was breeched.

Your argument is spurious. Being a member of the press offers no specific protections in the constitution. Anyone can act as a reporter, just by reporting information. Let me pose an example for you. If a reporter yells "fire" in a crowded theater, when there is no fire, are they immune to prosecution?

Reporters are not protected when breaking the law, except in a few specific cases where whistle blower statutes protect reporters and sources when their is an overriding public interest or threat. I'm sure many mac fanatics would have died had the specs not been leaked, so in this case I'm sure the reporter in question will be protected.

Re:UTSA and other considerations (2, Interesting)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677270)

Violating an NDA isn't breaking a law. Because of this, the rest of your arguments are invalid.

Re:UTSA and other considerations (5, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677314)

Wow, um, did you like, read my post or anything?

I'll repeat, just in case:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A793 7-2005Jan13_2.html [washingtonpost.com]

But while lawsuits against online publications are rare, he said, the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, versions of which have been adopted by about 45 states, including California, prevents third parties from exposing information knowingly obtained from sources bound by confidentiality agreements. [i.e., an NDA]

"Just because you don't have a relationship with the company doesn't necessarily immunize you, if you publish what you reasonably should have known was a trade secret," [Andrew] Beckerman-Rodau[, who runs the intellectual property program at Boston's Suffolk University Law School] said. "The First Amendment has been asserted more and more against intellectual property rights, but it's not faring well. Most courts haven't accepted it."


Just because you don't agree with the UTSA doesn't make it disappear. It remains to be seen whether the UTSA can be legally asserted by Apple, as they haven't publicly commented on this case beyond saying "Apple's DNA is innovation", etc., but the fact of the matter is that a law may indeed have been broken in the publication of information reasonably known to have been protected by a confidentiality agreement, period.

Re:UTSA and other considerations (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677317)

Isn't contract law part of the law?

Re:UTSA and other considerations (3, Interesting)

MetaPhyzx (212830) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677366)

No, but you can be sued for breaking one. It isn't as though the information being revealed showed Apple violated some law, which in spite of a NDA, authorities may want to know. If that were the case, of course the first amendment would apply.

In this case, although I'd hope that Apple would realize that they benefit from this type of interest ('reporting) in the platform, Apple is fully within thier rights. But I will say, with such rumor sites to see what's coming down the pipe, I might have left the Mac platform to the wind.

Re:UTSA and other considerations (5, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677332)

Regardless of whether or not Apple "should" or "shouldn't" be doing this, whether it's good PR or not, etc., if you can't see that it's wrong, legally and ethically, for these people to be leaking this information, then, well, we have nothing further to discuss. Is it journalism and free speech when you violate laws to obtain information? Ignorance of the law is no excuse...

I don't see what this has to do with attempting to force the journalists into releasing their sources.

The sources are the ones that are breaking the confidentiality agreements and leaking the information to the media. The journalists are then doing their job and reporting the information to the world.

If Apple wants to stop the leaks then they need to crack down internally and stop the people from breaking the confidentiality agreements. Whether that means paying the people more money, hiring more trustworthy individuals, or doing some sort of INTERNAL investigations, I don't know. What I do know is that they should NOT be attempting to coerce (through legal means) journalists into handing them the culprits on a silver platter.

Journalists need the protections so that they can be trusted by sources to release information w/o revealing the persons behind that release. If Apple is able to deny this right of protection over something as silly as a new product design how are sources supposed to trust journalists over something important?

Re:UTSA and other considerations (4, Interesting)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677393)

So do you, or do you not, fundamentally agree with the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, which "prevents third parties from exposing information knowingly obtained from sources bound by confidentiality agreements"?

Also, what constitutes a "journalist"? Anyone who has a web site? How is that defined? And yes, this is a serious question.

Re:UTSA and other considerations (0, Troll)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677443)

wow... your dumb.

try reading over his post again because everything you spewed is exactly what he was arguing against.

all you did was retell the same argument... sorry but that a rebuttal does not make.

Re:UTSA and other considerations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677505)

Wow, you're dumb.

If you're going to claim someone is unintelligent I suggest, at a minimum, that you use proper punctuation, capitalization, and grammar. Your sentences should be complete and should make sense. Unfortunately for you your sentences don't meet these minimum requirements.

On to the real reply:

Dave, the dumbass himself, made absolutely no arguement above. He copy and pasted a URL, bolded some text, and then spewed a bunch of circular crap that really didn't narrow anything down.

What Bill's post above stated was that regardless of the moronic laws that people in our government have passed, we should be protecting the free speech rights of journalists and not forcing them to reveal their sources just because a corporation doesn't like it.

Re:UTSA and other considerations (3, Interesting)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677497)

How can you trust someone that works at your company that won't even keep a secret over something as trivial as a product design, to keep a bigger secret?

If you can't trust someone on the little secrets, how can you trust them on the big secrets? How do you find out who is trustworthy if you can't even find out who is breaking your trust?

Apple is going to these journalists (who are encouraging people to break the NDS) because it is about the only way to find out who is leaking the information and breaking the NDA. A private investigation won't reveal anything simply due to the number of ways people could send in the information. The only way is to get the journalists to reveal it. Although, there is getting to be a mighty thin line between what some of these journalists are doing and "industrial espionage". [answers.com]

Re:UTSA and other considerations (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677542)

If you can't trust someone on the little secrets, how can you trust them on the big secrets? How do you find out who is trustworthy if you can't even find out who is breaking your trust?

That's not the journalists' problem. That's Apple's problem and has NOTHING to do with the rights that journalists have regarding protection of sources.

Although, there is getting to be a mighty thin line between what some of these journalists are doing and "industrial espionage".

It's not the journalists that are doing any episonage. It's those that are leaking the information. Honestly, "industrial espionage" would be leaking information privately to another corporation for profit of those leaks... IOW, if the original source had not gone to the media and instead sold their information to another corporation, then it would be espionage. There's quite a difference there.

Re:UTSA and other considerations (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677370)

Why don't you just STFU? From your recent posts, it is pretty clear where you stand on any issue of $ vs. pretty much anything else. I would be surprised if you are not actively lobbying for the right to sell your mother into prostitution. Anything for a buck, right? I noticed that once again your army of fanboys have modded your pap up to 5. Disgraceful.

Re:UTSA and other considerations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677407)

prevents third parties from exposing information knowingly obtained from sources bound by confidentiality agreements.

The keywords here are "knowingly obtained". Did Thinksecret know that the information they were getting was from a person that had signed a confidentiality agreement? That seems to be a requirement of the law.

Re:UTSA and other considerations (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677480)

so Apple is supposed to ask the kid? that is why you bring the law suit!!!.

it is a requirement for liability, not for brining the suit.

so tell me... is Apple with in their rights to prove liability in a court of law or not?

Yes - But it is totally irrelevant (1, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677417)

Yes it is wrong that whoever is leaking this information is doing it. Yes, if caught they should be punished according to the law.

NO the press should not be forced to give up the name of said individual. If the press is forced to name names, then in the future people will be discouraged from going forward, and you would then never hear about the more important scandals, the kinds of things involving corruption, government, the environment, and the usbverting of laws.

Freedom of the press is one of the most important freedoms there is.Don't try to tak eit away to protect some company's bottom line.

Re:Yes - But it is totally irrelevant (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677510)

so if a journalist gets information that reveals the location of a murder and he then reports on the murder but does not reveal who told him he is immune from prosecution?

sorry but journalists break laws just like normal people and they are liable for them just like normal people.

Re:Yes - But it is totally irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677516)

then in the future people will be discouraged from going forward, and you would then never hear about the more important scandals, the kinds of things involving corruption, government, the environment, and the usbverting of laws.

Well, I suspect this would be A-OK with daveschroeder. After all, the revelation of corporate scandals would cut into corporate PROFIT. Similarly, who cares about the environment, since cleaning it up costs MONEY that could better be used for the CEO's vacation to the Bahamas. Corporations can't subvert the law because the laws are being redesigned to insure the corporate money-making machine has no restrictions.

It's all good, buddy.

Re:UTSA and other considerations (2, Interesting)

Twanfox (185252) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677418)

I know I personally have a problem with being manipulated by corporations. Because of that, and their often manipulative Marketing Machine, I frankly just don't care whether or not their precious product release information was released early or not. As the article you quoted even includes (and I agree with), "Sites like [ThinkSecret.com] are beneficial because they inspire interest in the products." It's free f'king advertising! Unless it's got some literal "Trade Secret" such as "this is how we made the processors 20% faster", it's not a trade secret, it's just information that they didn't want us to have at this present time.

Apple already lost me a long time ago because they were not more forthcoming and open concerning their hardware. You buy their products, you buy their accessories, parts, etc, and noone else's. They can be secretive all they like, but that obsession with secrets is, in my opinion, a big reason why Apple's products got shut out of the market so many years ago. Who wants a computer that, when it detects a problem, displays a sad icon and won't let you do anything until you call it's 'parents'? (Yes, I realize it doesn't do this anymore, but this was how Macs used to report errors)

Re:UTSA and other considerations (2, Insightful)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677532)

have you looked in an Apple box lately?

IDE hard drives... ATAPI optical drives... ATI AGP video cards ( I have a GeForce 3 in mine BTW)

so who's accessories and parts am I buying?

Re:UTSA and other considerations (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677534)

Who wants a computer that, when it detects a problem, displays a sad icon and won't let you do anything until you call it's 'parents'?

Most people, I think, want this kind of computer. Think of cars: when your car's o2 sensor fails, or when the emissions detectors find exhaust is filled with too many biproducts, a little light comes on asking you to take the car to its 'parents'. People don't want to know how to fix their cars, they want the dealership to repair them. People want appliances which 'just work', and when they fail to work, people want someone else to handle it, for the most part. Geeks are a rare breed in that we would rather see the entire contents of a memory dump in order that we may spend hours upon hours hacking a failure until it is resolved.

Re:UTSA and other considerations (2, Insightful)

miu (626917) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677423)

The concept of not revealing confidential sources isn't some high and mighty ethical concept; in fact, it's a rather selfish one: at some level, it ensures them more sources in the future. It makes them more effective as a journalist.

The basic premise of capitalism is that selfishness is the most effective means of encouraging an activity. Since a free and informed press is viewed as a public good, the confidentiality of sources becomes just as "high and mighty" a concept as property rights or due process.

I am an Apple fan but... (4, Insightful)

EaterOfDog (759681) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677426)

Sometimes the Apple users need to remember that Apple is just a corporation. We tend to think of Apple as being "different", so folks tend to be appalled when Apple ACTS like a corporation. Face it, they are out to make a buck like everyone else.

Re:UTSA and other considerations (2, Informative)

alex_guy_CA (748887) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677429)

"Regardless of whether or not Apple "should" or "shouldn't" be doing this, whether it's good PR or not, etc., if you can't see that it's wrong, legally and ethically, for these people to be leaking this information, then, well, we have nothing further to discuss. Is it journalism and free speech when you violate laws to obtain information? Ignorance of the law is no excuse..."

I guess we have nothing to discuss, except I might call you a pompous fool who should take the stick out of your ass.

Just because something is a law, doesn't make it write. There is a long history in this country of civil disobedience against unjust, unconstitutional, or wrongheaded laws. Just because corporate interest have the power to get laws like this passed, this does not make it right or constitutional.

Re:UTSA and other considerations (0, Redundant)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677491)

Just because something is a law, doesn't make it write.

Indeed.

...

There is a long history in this country of civil disobedience against unjust, unconstitutional, or wrongheaded laws. Just because corporate interest have the power to get laws like this passed, this does not make it right or constitutional.

I believe I made several references to that in my post, which you apparently glossed over or otherwise ignored. The point I was trying to make was that, regardless, the actions MAY BE ILLEGAL. Now, if you want to consider this civil disobedience to test laws you believe are unjust, fine. But the point is that there is a law, currently, that may have been broken by a third party (A "journalist"? So can anyone with a web site claim to be a "journalist"?) disclosing known-confidential information.

Also, from your attitude, it's clear that you feel that agreements employees make with employers in good faith are worthless and can be utterly ignored.

Re:UTSA and other considerations (2, Interesting)

fitten (521191) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677533)

Well... IANAL, but if you knew someone broke the law and were asked to reveal who that person breaking the law was, aren't you guilty of Aiding and Abetting?

As far as your arguments about "write" and just laws, that doesn't apply here at all other than for you to fuel your "outrage". NDA falls under contractual law. An employee of Apple broke that contract. The web site knows who that is but doesn't want to tell. There is nothing unconstitutional or unfair here, unless you want to say that contractual law is suddenly invalid, in which case every other contract ever written is suddenly invalid.

Re:UTSA and other considerations (2, Insightful)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677448)

Who ever signed the NDA and ignores it is subject to the penalties in the NDA.
An NDA is just a contract like any other.
No laws are broken but you can be sued using this contract.(FYI:IANAL)

In this case Think Secret is a 4th party and is NOT subject to the NDA.
This is an "Apple leaking info" problem.
Not a "Think Secret just so happen to receive Apple's info" problem.

If Apple wants to "out" the leaks they should create "special projects" and place their suspects in that project.
Then watch the Think Secret web site...

Re:UTSA and other considerations (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677463)

Holy smokes, check the moderation. It didn't take long for representatives of the Apple Corporation to hop on this one!

Re:UTSA and other considerations (5, Insightful)

YomikoReadman (678084) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677482)

As you pointed out, the UTSA prohibits a third party from releasing information from a source they know to be bound by an NDA. However, the issue that you seem to either ignore or skirt over is whether or not this kid knew that the people giving him information were bound by an NDA. He started running this site when he was what, 13? I didn't even know that the UTSA existed when I was 13, let alone know what an NDA was. Since that point in time, has he openly requested that apple employees break their NDAs? No, he hasn't. He put out an open call for any information from anyone who may or may not have it, and he released it online.

While the information in question was classified as a trade secret, without him knowing that it was coming from someone under NDA he's not in violation of the UTSA, which is what he's being sued under.

All that said, the UTSA is valid, but it's not that hard to get around. Simply not asking whether or not the source of information is bound by a NDA is more than enough to protect you from liability under the UTSA.

Bottom line, Apple is bringing it's weight to bear on someone in order to coerce the names of his sources, and those are protected by 1st amendment rights. I say good on the EFF for stepping up on this one.

The real question (0)

hrieke (126185) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677523)

How will this case be used in the future?

Here is my problem with NDAs and disclosing to the press. It also has a chilling effect on whistle blowers.

Here an example:
Let's say I work for a company that has just developed a new process for dealing with hazardous waste, except it doesn't really work. In fact it can't, but those in charge with much to lose rather push forward than deal with the fall out.
So the company drills a very deep hole into the ground and dumps a toxic slury down it. Right into the water table. People are going to have wells that draw on this water, drink it, and die in a very horrible way.

Of course I've signed NDAs and all the paper work reguarding this is marked 'Trade Secret' in nice big red bold letters. Now if I forward this stuff over to 60 Minutes or 20/20 or any other press member, now not only can a company go after the Washington Post, which it wouldn't because they have lawyers who aren't going to fully roll over, but after my ISP and short curret the whole process, find out who leaked, and either (1) set the person up as a fall guy, (2) completely discredit them, (3) ruin their life forever for doing the right thing.

Don't think this can happen? Go watch China Syndrom (a true story). Spoiler: They killed the whistle blower.

On the flip side of not revealing sources, see the 'Plunder Dome' case in Rhode Island- where one of the defendant's attorney leaked the video tapes of his client to TV as a way to posion the jurry pool.

But does the UTSA apply? (3, Insightful)

Otto (17870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677524)

It's at least debatable whether or not knowledge of a product Apple is putting out is indeed a "trade secret" under the UTSA.

The UTSA defines trade secret as follows:
"Trade secret" means information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program device, method, technique, or process, that: (i) derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from no being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by, other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use, and (ii) is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.

You can kinda shoehorn the existence of some product into there, but it doesn't really fit.

And in any case, nobody ever changed a bad law without breaking it in some fashion. It's at least arguable that the UTSA is a bad law to begin with, if it was indeed broken in this particular circumstance.

woop woop (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677247)

sutterpants rocks!

Considering it's been 30 years... (5, Insightful)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677254)

...and we still don't know who Deep Throat was, I have to admit surprise that modern corporations can muscle the media better than the federal government, particularly the Nixon administration.

Government?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677440)

>...and we still don't know who Deep Throat was,
>I have to admit surprise that modern
>corporations can muscle the media better than
>the federal government, particularly the Nixon
>administration.

And considering it's been 4 years since enron went bad, it seems your point is moot.

Re:Considering it's been 30 years... (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677511)

Woodward & Berstein have promised to reveal Deep Throat's identity after he's dead. Most bookies are laying odds on it being either Alexander Haig or Patrick Buchannan, in spite of strong denials from each.

However, there's a difference between protecting a whistle-blower in a corrupt presidential administration, and protecting the corportate espianage of people who sign and then violate NDA contracts.

That's easy (-1, Offtopic)

NowHabitor (855542) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677255)

Well that's an easy question. Apple is right. Apple is always right! Now if it was Microsoft... :-)

Re:That's easy (3, Insightful)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677401)

Well that's an easy question. Apple is right. Apple is always right! Now if it was Microsoft...

The funny thing is that if Apple prevails, then Microsoft will be right as well! If Apple wins, then you can bet that Microsoft and others will start leaning on other posters of leaked information. An Apple win could only have a chilling effect on arguably all of journalism. Even idle speculation that just happens to be right could be subject to legal action. Hmmm, to quote the Stooges, I'd better find myself a cheap lawyer! ;-)

Which carries more weight? (3, Insightful)

Sorklin (88002) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677261)

"Which carries more weight: the right of Apple to protect their trade secrets or the rights of journalists to protect their sources?"

Journalists.

Next question.

Re:Which carries more weight? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677293)

OK, so you're in favour of industrial espionage so long as the person to whom the information is delivered decides to call themselves a journalist?
BTW, I'm a journalist.

Re:Which carries more weight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677345)

Seems reasonable, as long as the journalist acts like a journalist too, for example publishing their findings openly.

Re:Which carries more weight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677358)

Again, that's *not a finding*, that is trade secret information, transmitted from someone in breach of a confidentiality agreement.

Re:Which carries more weight? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677382)

No stupid, the journalist has never done any espionage. The information was leaked, this is the IMPORTANT difference (but you didn't RTFA of course).

Re:Which carries more weight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677380)

I'm sure that the erudite citizens of /. will disagree with me but it was my understanding that journalistic protection of sources was to prevent government from taking retribution on sources that revealed political corruption or wrong doing. This seems to have evolved into perception and practice that all journalistic sources are absolutely protected and confidential.

There's no "public good" attached to revealing Apple's trade secrets. Why should those sources be protected?

Tough decision (3, Insightful)

kawika (87069) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677276)

"Which carries more weight: the right of Apple to protect their trade secrets or the rights of journalists to protect their sources?"

Why not look and see which right is guaranteed by the Constitution? Hmmm, nothing about trade secrets there, but I do see something about free speech and freedom of the press in the First Amendment. So I would pick door number two.

Re:Tough decision (4, Insightful)

PornMaster (749461) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677359)

It also says nothing about the journalists not having to testify against sources.

The only person you have a right not to incriminate, constitutionally, is yourself. Of course, other exceptions (physician, priest, attorney) have become protected, as have in many cases journalists, but while they may have a fundamental right to publish the information, they don't have the right not to testify about a crime which was committed just because they have the right to publish.

Free Speech? Freedom of the Press? (4, Insightful)

Marc2k (221814) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677412)

Wait, wait, wait. The first amendment was included in the Constitution so that never would it be the case (as in England at the time), that journalists or publications would have their content censored or banned by the government for speaking ill of it, or its policy.

None of that is in question. Extend that to Apple. Apple is NOT suing so that the website gets shut down or their content restricted. Incorrect.

What IS happening, is Apple would like to know who the source of the information is, so that they can appropriately charge the person with breach of contract (which they ARE).

This has NOTHING AT ALL to do with the First Amendment, this has to do with legislation relating to journalists' sources. I'll admit freely that I don't know anything about legal precedent, BUT I can tell you that the case has NOTHING to do with the First Amendment.

The 1st protects you from the Government. (3, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677415)

It does not give you rights over another entity. If you signed a confidentiality agreement and violated it a company has the right to find out that you did. If someone else is making use of this information I feel the company has a right to compel them to reveal their source.

People do not readily understand the 1st, let alone the 2nd. The key thrust of the Consititution and Bill of Rights is to limit what the Government can do to us. It is not granting us rights it is protecting our rights.

As such it does not apply here.

Re:The 1st protects you from the Government. (1)

erturs (648661) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677544)

It's the government that makes all laws, including laws regulating trade secrets. The 1st amendment would apply to these, too. I believe the wording is "Congress shall make no law..." abridging various freedoms. Apple is, it appears, trying to use a law passed by Congress (or a state legislature, but that's also covered by the constitution) to force journalists to reveal sources. That should be a non starter.

The *contractual* issue between Apple and whoever leaked this stuff in the first place is another matter, of course, and Apple could properly pursue them for breach of contract.

Re:Tough decision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677422)

So if I called you a dirty rotten low-down closed-source Microsoft lover, that would be ok? Slander and libel are protected by the First Amendment?

Re:Tough decision (1)

FearTheFrail (666535) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677474)

Why does it seem like forcing the question of "Which carries more weight" nullifies the weight of the lesser side completely?

Let me go ahead and wave the flag, yes, freedom of the press is in the First Amendment, let's take a moment to celebrate the foresight of our forefathers in writing that down.

All done? All right. Now, this seems almost like intellectual tabloid reporting, in which the information is somewhat more accurate, but the "photographers" are still jumping the fence and getting onto the property in order to take the pictures that people want to see. Privacy isn't something that's constitutionally covered, either. It's just stuck under the catch-all "Unenumerated Rights" 9th Amendment that was supposed to handle everything that couldn't be thought of at the moment. Therefore, we can take any given privacy argument and toss it out as bunk, so long as we can show that the other side of the argument has some sort of constitutional backing to it. Right?

The geek public no doubt loved to have the information that it did available via hidden sources and online publications. But someone -is- spilling trade secrets. I'm really kind of surprised that Slashdotters are fighting this so hard, since it comes out of one of the relative underdog companies that so often are defended.

Anyhow, I digress. If the publishers of this info had really known that this information wasn't anywhere else, that it was as hot as they'd hoped, what do you think they were thinking? Do you think they never realized what they were doing, handling their publication in blissful ignorance? Or should any journalist just be able to say "screw trade secrets, the public needs to know!" in an effort to get a little more circulation? If they knew what they had was hot, they should have been ready for this sort of litigation.

Simple (4, Insightful)

Moby Cock (771358) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677290)

Which carries more weight: the right of Apple to protect their trade secrets or the rights of journalists to protect their sources?

The rights of Apple to protect their trade secrets is not really the case here, as I understand it. The breach of trade secrets was done by, I assume, someone from inside Apple. This is the culprit that Apple should seek. But they are taking the easy route and trying to bully a small time web site in the hopes that it will discourage similar reporting in the future. Not very upstanding behaviour. What they should be doing is a security audit to find where the leaks are coming from. However, that is much more difficult and complicated. Its easier to try and put the fear of litigation into everyone. *sigh*

Re:Simple (3, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677529)

...This is the culprit that Apple should seek. But they are taking the easy route and trying to bully a small time web site in the hopes that it will discourage similar reporting in the future

How is it bullying the web site to sue them for the name of their source? All they are doing is seeking the culprit. They are not even trying to get money from or an injunction against the web site operator. He made money by selling ads on his site, while breaking the law and conspiring with another person who dishonorably broke their agreements. Now if this was exposing some danger to the public, or government conspiracy, then whistle blower laws would protect them. This is nothing more than very petty corporate espionage, for profit, and Apple is not even trying for monetary compensation. All they have asked for is the name of the person who leaked the info, so they can fire them for espionage and violating their NDA. I think Apple has gone out of their way to be accommodating to the press and their fan sites here.

Freedom of Press (3, Insightful)

Naikrovek (667) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677298)

I think the freedom of press is more important, since it is a constitutional right. The Constitution does not say that a journalist has the right to keep his/her sources secret, but this has been upheld in court countless times... If you punish the press for being the mouth of someone else, you're not solving anything.

If you have trade secrets, you need to be very careful who you give them to, period. If a person you trust releases their secrets, its because you didn't do a good enough job of understanding that person.

If I were a journalist, I'd go to my grave with my sources, if they wanted to remain anonymous. Freedom of speech also includes the freedom to shut up. That goes for corporations and journalists.

Again, wrong. (1)

Marc2k (221814) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677496)

As I just mentioned before. Freedom of the Press, as defined by the Constitution, relates to the fact that the US government shall never restrict nor bar any article, based on content.

This case relates to the confidentiality between a journalist and his source. This has nothing to do with the First Amendment.

Please sit down. While I'm at it:

If you have trade secrets, you need to be very careful who you give them to, period. If a person you trust releases their secrets, its because you didn't do a good enough job of understanding that person.

Bullshit, I'm a partner in a small company, and when your company grows to larger than, say four people, this becomes impossible. Apple cannot simply "understand that person". Apple issues NDAs and whatever agreements they may to make sure that this legally does not happen.

Someone here is in clear and complete breach of agreement (as is dictated by the detail and clarity of the leaked information), obviously, you can see that is illegal. All Apple wants is for the website to tell them the source of the leak, so that they appropriately punish them.

Inevitable (2, Insightful)

mushupork (819735) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677300)

It's just a matter of time for a precedent-setting case to take this huge chunk out of the First Amendment. It's gonna happen. I would just hate for Apple to be the one opening the flood gates.

Re:Inevitable (0)

gammygator (820041) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677397)

http://www.cnn.com/2005/EDUCATION/01/31/students.a mendment.ap

It gives me cause for concern that our children *might* aid and abet the erosion of those rights. (Because they take them for granted or don't understand the implications. Not malicious intent).

*sigh* (4, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677302)

Which carries more weight: the right of Apple to protect their trade secrets or the rights of journalists to protect their sources?

That this is even a question is cause for concern. Originally, from what I gather from history, journalists held a very important role in our society. Arguably more important than politicians: They were the watch dogs. They were the ones keeping our elected representatives honest. They had to have free reign, unrestricted by those that held power, to do their jobs effectively.

Now of course, journalists are simply mouthpieces for which ever party they subscribe to. Maybe it's always been that way, who knows, I don't really glean that much off the history I've read.

Re:*sigh* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677424)

A journalism degree does not grant you rights above and beyond those of mortal men. NEither does operating a web site. Oh, and your rosy view of journalism of the past is the result of watching too many movies.

Re:*sigh* (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677539)

I think that's a fabulous point you're making and I wish the idealism you express were essentially true but it's pretty obvious where the press sides these days... well the TV news media anyway. (In my mind, when the press all but runs Clinton out of office for getting a blowjob and says very little when the truth comes out that the "weapons of mass distruction" didn't really have any evidence to begin with -- that hundreds of people have been killed and remain in harm's way over what amounts to a lie -- I'm inclined to believe the press is siding with a particular party.)

I don't trust journalism any longer. Not sure I ever did but it's certainly less than ever before. But it's pretty obvious that the press isn't the check or balance to those who are in political power. The sad thing is that before people are ever inclined to seek idealism again, things will have to get much much worse and I don't look forward to it at all. A peaceful revolution of enlightenment would be much better than the things history has shown us happening prior to revolutions.

Trade Secret (2, Interesting)

dfj225 (587560) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677334)

I haven't read much into this, but if the summary is right and Apple is trying to protect a trade secret, I was under the impression that it is the companies responsibility to protect this secret and that once it becomes open, there is nothing they can really do to stop it from spreading. For instance, you can't really copyright the ingredients to a cookie, so you keep the recepie secret. If this secret is leaked, or someone figures it out, there is nothing they can really do because it is not copyrighted or under protection.

Re:Trade Secret (1)

GauteL (29207) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677467)

IANAL but as far as I know you are right about Apple not being able to sue people using their former trade secrets.

They CAN however sue the people who made the secret public knowledge.

So while you can't sue companies using your cookie recipe once it becomes public knowledge, you CAN sue the newspaper that made it public knowledge. Whether or not you are successful depends on the specific case I guess.

no such thing (3, Interesting)

natedubbya (645990) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677349)

"...or the rights of journalists to protect their sources?" This supposed "right" is always heralded about by journalists and their closest friends. There is no such thing as a right of a journalist. Going to journalism school does not grant someone a certain level of rights that a normal citizen has. If I was to spread leaflets around town, accusing my city mayor of eating Soylent Green made in his basement without evidence, I'm committing a crime. Likewise, a journalist who defaces someone's character and then claims "the right of private sources" is also committing a crime.

When does other rights trump privacy/ (1)

Aeron65432 (805385) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677353)

The subject of a journalists ability to keep their sources secret has been going on for a while. The question is, when does a journalists right to keep their sources anonymous pass over other rights? How about the right to privacy? How about national security? This lawsuit reminds me of one last october, where a journalist was jailed for up to 1 1/2 years for refusing to release her sources on the CIA leak. (For those who don't know the story) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A147 77-2004Oct7.html/ [washingtonpost.com] On the other hand, companies go through a lot to protect their trade secrets, importantly so, because innovation is the lifeblood of business. The CIA's outlook report said that foreign nations, such as Russia's are no longer spying on our weapons, but on our companies. I personally had to sign a huge legal waiver just to visit my dad in his office at Xerox. So it's easy to see why Apple is pissed off. But should their anger jail someone?

I'll go with the bloggers/site owners (0, Troll)

Selecter (677480) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677355)

I love Apple. They innovate and do things that the PC industry really needs to be done, but they remind me of the RIAA going after these people who simply report on what they are told.

I think Apple would actually be better off having a few selected bitches, the secrecy is self defeating when applied across the board. There's a line that can be used by savvy marketeers between pimpin and paranoia.

The press must be allowed to conceal sources (0, Flamebait)

djtrialprice (602555) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677356)

Bloody Sunday [guardian.co.uk]

The first thing I thought of when I heard the Apple story is how trivial it is in comparison to the above link. These people were risking jailtime to protect their sources. There has to be a right to anonimity. Just look at what happened to Dr. David Kelly for another example.

The main problems come from when journalists hide behind this as an excuse to print whatever they want.

The question is "harm" (4, Interesting)

amichalo (132545) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677373)

I do not believe in petty lawsuits over cigarettes that kill or McDonald's coffee that was too hot when spilt into the lap while driving. What I do believe in is accountability for one's action and that is where the issue truly lies.

Journalists live and die by the "tips" they get.

The question is the "harm" they can cause by releasing the information.

If a journalist gets a tip that the police are looking for a suspect, releases said tip, and the suspect evades capture by getting the heads up, then the Journalist has, wittingly or not, obstructed justice.

In this instance, wittingly or not, the journalist has revealed trade secrets.

Another example? How about embedded reporters disclosing their whereabouts while in a military operation overseas (hypotethically, of course this would never happen). They endanger the lives of service men and women as well as the operation, but don't even need a source - they (or their GPS) are the source.

Being a "journalist" doesn't give one free reign to break laws.

My vote is that those who disclose confidential (NDA protected) information to a Journalist are breaking the law (civil law vs. criminal law - can be fined but not incarcerated) and the Journalist can choose to use that information if they are willing to also stand before a civil court for their actions.

If they did not know the information was priviledged, then they can just turn over the source, and have that source answer for their actions.

Re:The question is "harm" (2, Insightful)

Triumph The Insult C (586706) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677452)

that's great. really great

so instead, journalists should live in constant fear of what to report because it might cause someone else harm?

with that view, how long will it take for us, citizens of oceania, to expect an increase of our chocolate ration?

No, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677513)

"Being a "journalist" doesn't give one free reign to break laws"

Being "Apple" doesn't give them the right to trample constitutional rights.

Nobody's computers are that good.

merely cheap publicity for Apple Inc (2, Insightful)

PureCreditor (300490) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677378)

by suing a scapegoat, Apple can hype up the product anticipation before its launch simply by word-of-mouth. Afterwards, they'll probably settle out of court quietly for a very low price. slightly dirty tactics, but not that much real damage

Here on /. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677388)

Here on slashdot, there will be dozens of eager Apple fanbois mewing about how this hurt apple, apple is special, their business is special, how they hate these sites because they hate apple.

Its like scientology.

Get a grip.

Apple is a little too full of itself. I will enjoy them getting taken down about 7 notches.

Define "Journalists" (4, Interesting)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677392)

Pajamahadeen "working" for some obscure web site?

White House plant in the Press Corps?

Unemployed Columbia J-School graduate?

MSNBC Web Jockey given too much control over content?

Me, You, here, "blogging" our opinions on an extremely popular web site?

Senile "anchor" person who looked sexy twenty years ago and hasn't written a news story in his/her life?

A perky Fox News Info-Babe?

An ex-SNL comedy writer hosting a radio show on an avowedly anti-right wing network?

The producer/writer for the ex-comedy writer's show?

Jon Stewart? Jon Stewart's producer?

Jayson Blair?

The guys who covered up for Jayson Blair?

Rush Limbaugh (currently billing himself as "America's Anchorman")?

The diligent, dutiful Editor-in-Chief of the local High School Newspaper?

Some guy from Al-Jazeera whose cousin is in Gitmo?

Armed Forces Radio?

It's 2005. "Journalism" means everything and everything. Define "journalist" for me and I'll tell ya whether his sources should be protected, laughed at, or locked up...

Oh. That's easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677481)

A journalist is anyone reporting news to the public.

That could be by handbill, newspaper, broadside, web site, word of mouth, by scribbling on a piece of paper.

It should be as broad as possible. Spreading of information == good.

/. overload (3, Funny)

SpongeBobLinuxPants (840979) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677408)

eff = good
apple = good
rights = good

/. brain overload... can't decide... who to crack jokes at... need to read SCO article... fast!

NDA (3, Interesting)

derbs (563933) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677409)

So this information was probably leaked in breach of an NDA... my question is to any lawyers out there, is it illegal for a newspaper (or whatever) to print information that has knowingly been obtained from someone in breach of an NDA?

The counter argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677458)

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances"

That's really hard to argue with.

Its funny. When that amendment was adopted, it was considered radical.

What's funnier...today, that amendment is still considered radical.

Most of you probably think the amendment goes too far. You make Thomas Jefferson roll over in his grave.

Apples and Oranges... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677411)

Brooklyn Writes:

"Which carries more weight: the right of Apple to protect their trade secrets or the rights of journalists to protect their sources?" "

They both are protected under federal laws. Go look it up.

Journalists should never reveal thier sources, IF they are not the perpertrators of a criminal activity OR accomplices to any criminal activity. They can only be "informants", passing on information they have witness or were privy to, but not involved in.

Apple has no obligation to tell you or I what thier "trade secrets" are, whatever that means. If you are talking about thier marketing strategies, they don't have to reveal that - I think everyone with one eye open can figure out who they are targeting with thier designs. And if you're talking about being audited, well, the Federal Government has that option so they could audit Apple whenever they feel like it.

But to compare business trade secrets with an individual journalist writing a story is to compare to dissimilar items, and doesn't warrant the type of discussion brought forth by this type of conjecture.

Brooklyn.

Freedom of the Press (1)

TooMuchEspressoGuy (763203) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677457)

The fact that juornalistic sources are not revealed allows for the free flow of information perhaps more than anything else in our society. If such standards were not in place, no one would ever reveal anything controvercial, for fear of retribution from individuals or groups.

For that reason, I'm siding with the EFF, et al. on this one. They are most definitely in the right here.

On another note, however, I will be interested to see how many Apple fanbois rush to the defense of their pet company despite the fact that if one replaced "Apple" with, say, "Microsoft," they would all be up in arms about it.

No longer a trade secret (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677460)

Didn't Ford lose a case some years ago where the judgement declared that once someone internal to the company leaked "trade secrets" and they were in the wild, that they were no longer trade secrets and people posting them weren't breaking any laws?

If the leak was from the inside, and not someone from the outside "stealing" them, I don't Apple has any ground to stand on.

Better ways of tracing a leak (1)

hazee (728152) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677471)

If Apple really want to find out who's leaking information from their company, then, when the next product is due to be announced, they should simply circulate slightly different specifications to different people in the company. From that you can trace where the leak came from. It's worked for intelligence agencies for centuries.

Better than the very grubby process of threatening journalists.

Fer cryin' out loud, people! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677479)

I wouldn't like Apple (or my own boss) trying to read my personal e-mail, sent and received on equipment that doesn't belong to them. However, I also know that the nature of the medium limits my right to object. C'mon, we're supposed to be tech savvy here, folks. Anyone who knows anything of the history of the internet or of how e-mail work should know:

E-mail is not private.

E-mail is not private.

E-mail is NOT PRIVATE!

Doesn't anyone remember "Don't put anything in e-mail you wouldn't put on a postcard."? If a journalist wants to "protect a source", he should start by telling the source not to send anything sensitive in e-mail.

Jeez!

Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677512)

I think the press was important back in the day because they help "report the truth" (hopefully). It was a means of getting to the bottom of things and reporting the truth to the people. This however is someone reporting "classified" information and it is almost slanderous (term used very very loosly). I mean this website wasnt being "the mouth" of someone who wanted to remain anonymous, They were being stupid and reporting specs of Apple products that they just couldnt wait to get their eyes/hands on. I think this is totally different from real reporting and this crosses the line of good reporting. Apple should be allowed to act.

Email is NOT confidential USE ENCRYPTION STUPID (1)

brainchill (611679) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677514)

Apple is talking to the ISP trying to get a copy of the emails sent. Most ISP user agreements specifically say that email is not confidential no matter how badly people want it to be. If these idiot reporters carried on non-encrypted conversations with their sources via email they deserve to be caught and found out. These poor fools will serve as an example or the poster children to make everyone use some kind of encryption in their communications.

The First Ammendment doesn't apply (1)

rockhome (97505) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677518)

The first Ammendment doesn't apply in this situation. Constitutional guarantees onyl apply to public forums and issues. Obtaining ostensibly confidential information and reporting it can only be reasonably defended under the first ammendment when the information is related to the public good.

In the case with Apple, as noted earlier, Apple has a right to maintain its trade secrets and can suffer significant harm in having those secrets revealed. The public is not served by revelations about Apple's secrets, and current laws protect Apple, not those doing the reporting.

The First Ammendment doesn't guarantee one's right to say anything, it merely guarantees the right to voice one's dissent with the government.

Where does it say taht (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677546)

You said:

"The First Ammendment doesn't guarantee one's right to say anything, it merely guarantees the right to voice one's dissent with the government."

But the contitution says...

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

A reading of the Bill of Rights doesn't really show you to be correct.

Let it go. Apple will survive. Apple is just wrong and gets wronger every day with this stupid lawsuit.

use the "overheard in the pub" excuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677522)

What if the source is someone who overheard it in the pub/bar/restaurant? Maybe Apple employees talking about their work at lunch, etc. Then the clause in the new trade secret act could not be valid, because how could it be confidential, they were talking about it in public!

What if the source is a relative of someone who works there?

(Yes, I know the source is most likely someone from within the company, and possibly high up because stories have been over a widespread amount of things that a lowly person shouldn't really know. I also think it is up to the company to police their employees when it comes to things like this)
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