found drama

get oblique

yet another slippery slope.

by Rob Friesel

Via tuaw: re: EFF’s lawsuits against Apple against blogger-spoilers

/sigh

The thing that strikes me as holier-than-thou and self-righteous is how the EFF goes straight for the throat and likens the situation to Deep Throat. A more suitable comparison could have been found, I’m sure. Nothing springs instantly to mind but let’s be honest here, Apple’s spilled secrets aren’t exactly toppling regimes here.

There is (naturally?) a compelling argument for the EFF’s combat against Apple’s subpoenas. If anything, it is important to vote early and often in the discourse of online journalism re: it being a legit news forum. If nothing else, it’s about taking every opportunity to symbolically stand up for the rights of those informants (read “sources”) regardless of if they’re leaking to WaPo or to ThinkSecret.

But as much as I love what EFF stands (up) for, I think they’re really missing the point on this one. Apple isn’t going after ThinkSecret or Apple Insider really — they’re going after those “reliable sources” that are almost certainly Apple employees, contractors, and/or vendors that signed NDAs or otherwise have it in their contracts to keep their big mouths shut. I don’t think you sign a deal w/ Apple w/o the “you know, Steve has a huge ego and well-developed sense of showmanship and if you damage the former and/or spoil the latter, you’re in for a world of hurt” clause. This sort of thing seems pretty standard in just about any/every industry and Apple is just trying to take those folks to task.

Again, we’re not talking about corrupt governments here. Keeping your products a secret until their grand unveiling is neither illegal nor unethical. The only ones doing anything reprehensible here are (surprise!) the folks behind the leakage — the ladies and/or gents that rather unethically breached their contracts.

So, I’m glad EFF is standing up for these creeps. Better to set the standard that we need to defend these guys as if they’re toppling regimes or bringing in hardcore polluters. However, I also hope that the EFF goes on to lose this fight. While we don’t want to set a precedent that the online media are any less legitimate and that anyone can call out their sources at the drop of a hat, let’s also have the presence of mind to distinguish between what underlies the need to protect and the need to prosecute.

Unless, of course anyone else can think of a way to identify and nail these folks w/o having their names come out of this whole blog-spoiler debacle.

About Rob Friesel

Software engineer by day, science fiction writer by night. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →

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