CNet: Apple suit foreshadows coming products. Apple on Tuesday sued the publisher of Mac enthusiast site Think Secret and other unnamed individuals, alleging that recent postings on the site contain Apple trade secrets, according to court documents seen by CNET News.com. The suit, filed Tuesday in the Superior Court of Santa Clara County, Calif., aims to identify who is leaking the information and to get an injunction preventing further release of trade secrets. However, in filing the suit, Apple identifies specific articles that contain trade secrets, indicating that at least parts of those reports are on the mark.
This is disturbing on many grounds. Apple claims (see the end of the story) that it's not trying to suppress free speech. Bull. That's precisely what the company is doing here, well beyond keeping internal secrets.
This reeks of corporate misbehavior. I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me that Apple's only legitimate legal beef is with its employees or contractors who are leaking the information to Think Secret and other rumor sites.
I'm fairly sure of this: If the party leaking information to Think Secret had sent it, say, to the San Jose Mercury News or New York Times, and had those publications run the news, Apple wouldn't be suing them. Both have deep enough pockets to defend themselves.
I hope the EFF or some other organization will defend Think Secret. I don't know if there's counter-suit potential for interfering with freedom of the press. But I do know that if citizen-based journalism is to have a prayer of making headway, we need to deter, not just counter, moves like Apple's.
If a company wants to control its own employees' activities, including by firing or suing workers who reveal secrets, that's a company's right. When it seeks to put a gag on the people who merely receive the information, that's going way too far.