EFF Appeals Ruling in Apple Case
Asks Court to Reaffirm Freedom of the Press
Last week, a California Superior Court judge ruled that an online journalist's Internet service provider (ISP) can be required to reveal the identities of the reporter's confidential sources to Apple Computer, Inc. The court rejected EFF's request for an order to protect the identities of sources for the online news sites AppleInsider and PowerPage.
This landmark case was the first in which a court heard arguments that online reporters' confidential sources and unpublished materials are protected by both the reporter's shield in the California constitution and the reporter's privilege under the federal First Amendment. But the court did not restrict its ruling to online journalists, instead holding that all journalists could be required to reveal confidential sources when a claim of trade secret is raised.
In its request for an appeal, EFF argues that the First Amendment cannot be so easily waived. Many important news leaks, such as those revealing the dangers of cigarette smoking, can be claimed to be trade secrets by the companies seeking to stop them. Apple must also demonstrate that it has done an exhaustive search elsewhere for the information it seeks before targeting journalists with court orders. There is no evidence that Apple has done such an exhaustive search.
"The California courts have a long history of supporting and protecting the freedom of the press," said EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "The Court of Appeal will now get the opportunity to correct a ruling that endangers all journalists."
"The Superior Court