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: Pardon?
by JonathanBThompson on Thu 20th Dec 2007 12:43 UTC in reply to "Pardon?"
JonathanBThompson
Member since:
2006-05-26

Being that I've worked in the industry personally for my career, and I fully understand what's at stake, I can fully understand and agree with what you're saying. To copy a post above, "An interested public != public interest" and this is much akin to someone trying to say "But it's my freedom of speech/press to publish someone's social security number and all of their other financial/personal information that allows identity theft, because people want to know!" and the key thing that makes this not a legitimate "freedom of the press" issue is the equivalent of the reporter's right to swing their fist (report the item) ends before it touches the face (harms the associated party(ies) ) when nothing they're reporting is remotely related to the public's interest at large, in that there's not a crime perpetrated by the party having their privacy violated. If it were the case where someone was reporting what a whistle blower reported to them about what they knew about illegal activities (such as illegal accounting practices) then freedom of the press has currency in stating "we can cover that" since that's a lot of what freedom of the press is supposed to be: something to keep people/legal entities/illegal entities from profiting under the shield of dark places, by opening up the blinds of publicity and letting the sunshine in on the truth.

What Apple was protecting is trade secrets, which is their right to do, as far as their trade secrets don't involve illegal activities in their business practices/trade secrets. An overzealous fanbase may think otherwise, that all information about the innards of a company or that of a person (say, celebrity versus the obnoxious paparazzi) but you start down a slippery slope if you start stating that companies and certain people are exempt from having people respecting their privacy, because eventually, that violated privacy may be yours, and the privacy may relate to things you do/are that may cause you harm if made known, for one reason or another, be it financial harm or otherwise.

By argument on the side of the entity/person in Apple's position, they have a right to know which people they're dealing with are breaking the law by violating their rights of privacy, especially since such people undoubtedly are under NDA/contract to keep such legal trade secrets/practices/material information of that entity private. Since what's being reported by the sources of Think Secret is not in the valid public interest category, by rights Think Secret should not be publishing this information at all, because if the tables were turned, and it was Apple revealing all the personal/private information on the workers/business partners involved, people would be crying foul, that that's illegal, etc. but yet, I see a lot of people not seeing the hypocrisy of this situation where they whine that Apple shouldn't get upset about their privacy. Well, what about this? If you're interested in "the public good" keep in mind the large number of people Apple employs, and all the jobs for people raising families, paying taxes from that income, etc. and consider how much harm it could cause if outsiders (namely, in this case, Apple's competitors, currently known and ones that spring up out of the background) have rightfully deduced that the insider information (another thing to keep in mind is SEC laws regarding insider information: by having this information getting out, Apple could very well be placed at risk of SEC violations if it can be traced back to them: at least the one revealing the information can be charged with such violations if they're caught) is accurate, or even close. After all, the reality is that a lot of companies do suddenly drop plans for releasing some product or service, and it often doesn't matter how much time/energy/resources they've invested in it before they do it: I've fallen victim to such corporate realities myself in terms of employment more than once.

So, Kaiwai, I modded you up, because frankly, nobody can state that you were off-topic, using inappropriate language, personal attacks, and all they can say is that they hate your viewpoint.

Oh, edited to add this last bit: I agree that Apple has entered into a perfectly reasonable agreement in this case, however much it may upset bloggers/press people/etc. in that it addresses Apple's needs to asserting their rights without involving jail time (mostly a worthless thing in this case, most people would agree) for the press/bloggers and the employees/business associates involved, and no overly long court cases. And no, there's no reasonable way with anything as complex and involved as the design/manufacture/planning of such things as a tech company sells to keep the people that know something of meaning down to a small, easily controlled group that won't reveal things by way of security: once again, in order to do that, Apple would have to be overly invasive of the rights of their workers in order to have nearly perfect internal privacy.

Edited 2007-12-20 12:48

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