The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) told a San Jose, California appeals court Thursday that denying protections for confidential sources would deliver a dangerous blow to online journalism and independent media.
Apple Computer is suing several unnamed individuals, called "Does," who allegedly leaked information about an upcoming product to online news sites PowerPage and AppleInsider. As part of its investigation, Apple subpoenaed Nfox -- my email service provider -- for communications and unpublished materials obtained by me. A trial court upheld the subpoena.
In arguments before the 6th Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal, EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl told a panel of three judges that a subpoena to Nfox violated the federal Stored Communications Act, which requires direct subpoenas of account holders. Opsahl also argued that myself and other online journalists are entitled to protect their confidential source information under both the California constitution and the U.S. Constitution.
In addition to the parties in the case, attorneys for conservative blogging group The Bear Flag League and Intel Corp. spoke to the court, with Intel arguing in support of Apple. EFF worked with co-counsel Thomas Moore III and Richard Wiebe in this case. A ruling should be announced within 90 days.
More on Apple v. Does is available on the EFF Web site.