Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 20th Dec 2007 10:22 UTC
Legal As we say in Dutch, de kogel is door de kerk: Think Secret will cease all activities after reaching a settlement with Apple in a lawsuit Apple had filed against the website. In exchange for closing down Think Secret, Nick DePlume, its owner, will not have to reveal its sources to Apple. The press release on the Think Secret website reads: "Apple and Think Secret have settled their lawsuit, reaching an agreement that results in a positive solution for both sides. As part of the confidential settlement, no sources were revealed and Think Secret will no longer be published." My take: I have respect for the way DePlume protected his sources; very commendable. I have, however, little respect for Apple in this case (I have written, rather controversially, about it before), and it just scares the living daylights out of me that a company can exert this much power over independent websites.
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RE: As we say in X
by butters on Thu 20th Dec 2007 11:47 UTC in reply to "As we say in X"
butters
Member since:
2005-07-08

I could be wrong, but I don't think that Apple set out to silence ThinkSecret so much as get them to reveal their anonymous sources. Since the Shield Law doesn't seem to apply to bloggers for some reason, Apple succeeded, and it was only out of their "good will" that they allowed ThinkSecret to protect their sources in exchange for falling silent.

This is all part of the much bigger issue of how the rapid evolution of the content industry affects the legal interpretation of our expectation of privacy.

On one hand, you have members of the mainstream and new media that, for obvious reasons, must protect their sources' expectations of privacy in order to continue to deliver their content. Then you have the people on which they're reporting that have to protect certain aspects of their dealings in order to do their jobs effectively. And finally everyday people who want to be able to leave their homes without operating under the assumption that the cameras are rolling and that the videos are destined for YouTube.

It's not at all clear that we really want a society where we can access perfect information on everybody and everything at all times because of its implications on our own lives. This isn't just about journalists, politicians, celebrities, and executives anymore. This is about everybody. Our jobs, our hobbies, our families, our friends, and our occasional indiscretions. Our lives.

If we are not entitled to our privacy or anonymity when it is explicitly agreed upon as a condition of some relationship, then we have a major problem. Because for every time somebody behaves in a certain way because of such an explicit agreement, billions of other decisions are made under implicit expectations of privacy.

Just how badly are we overestimating our right to privacy? It's important that we confront these issues so that society isn't operating under false assumptions. If we don't understand the full implications of our behavior, or if we have various signficantly divergent understandings of our rights, then the social fabric will unravel.

Can you keep a secret? From the goverment, from the lawyers, from the journalists, from the bloggers, from the guy on the street with the camera phone? Will you screw me over if they come after you? Fine, then I can tell you about my weekend.

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