Electronic Frontier Foundation on Monday filed a protective order with the California Superior Court in a move it hopes will stop subpoenas filed by Apple against online publications PowerPage and Apple Insider.
The subpoenas are part of Apple’s attempt to discover who has been leaking its trade secrets to online publications — in December, Apple filed subpoenas aimed at discovering the identities of twenty “John Does” that Apple alleges revealed information about upcoming products. EFF is representing representatives of the PowerPage and Apple Insider Web sites.
In a statement, EFF staff attorney Kurt Opsahl said that Apple subpoenaed PowerPage publisher Jason O’Grady’s Internet service provider (ISP) Nfox.com, to make them turn over e-mails sent to O’Grady. Opsahl contends that Apple’s action “undermines a fundamental, First Amendment right that protects all reporters.” What’s more, the EFF claims that Nfox.com, by revealing the contents of O’Grady’s e-mail, now stands in violation of the Stored Communications Act (SCA).
In its court request, the EFF contends that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and California’s own state constitution protect “a reporter’s sources and unpublished information regardless of location.” Accordingly, said the EFF, Apple and others can’t be allowed to subvert this body of law “simply by seeking a journalist’s records from a third-party entrusted with custody of them.”