Tuesday, March 08, 2005
The frightening possibility
Many are saying that the litigation against Think Secret is providing for a frightening possibility that online bloggers will not be considered journalists and therefore not given the protections of freedom of speech.
Listen, newspaper journalists can't libel or slander anyone. They can't break in to businesses and steal information or private documents. They also can NOT report the information if was obtained illegally.
One of the things the "court / criminal prosecution shows" like Law & Order has taught me is that information that is obtained with improper procedure is inadmissable. The lawyers do not have the freedom of speech to report to the jury - even if the facts are substantial and could win the case - they must obtain evidence by procedure and obtain it ETHICALLY. They also have to be VERY careful not to put any informants at risk.
Think Secret has put many Apple Employees/Contract Employees at risk of losing their jobs. Think Secret has ENTICED AND SOLICITED for them to divulge trade secrets - which is against the Uniform Trade Secret Act.
Whether I'm considered a journalist or not. I report.
I report with integrity though. I do not do it at the expense of others, rather I report consumer related scams as they relate to the Mac Community. I don't solicit for trade secrets. I research by phone, email correspondence, google, online searches, library. I'm sure Think Secret researches too. Nick is a much better writer than I am, but he also has a LOT more advertisers than I do.
If I had ANY feeling this would affect ME as a webmaster and my freedom of speech I would hold my tongue.
This litigation will (hopefully) reinforce the UTSA and send a message to corporate employees that NDA's are serious and the people you reveal these "business plans" to - will be forced to divulge your identity - so don't do it!
Is a writer a journalist?