Intel v. Hamidi Archive

Email Is Free Speech, Not Trespass

When former Intel employee Ken Hamidi sent email messages to Intel employees complaining about the company's allegedly unfair labor practices, Intel brought suit. The company won an injunction on a "trespass to chattels" theory, arguing that Hamidi's emails had harmed Intel's computers. EFF stepped in to protect Hamidi's First Amendment rights, arguing in a friend-of-the-court brief that there was no evidence to suggest that his email had threatened the integrity of Intel's systems. The California Supreme Court agreed, ruling that the tort of trespass to chattels does not encompass, and should not be extended to encompass, email communications.

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