Law could mean IT news blackout

A proposed Californian law threatens a blackout of computer industry information.

A November 5 ballot vote will decide whether to approve Proposition 211, a proposed law that is intended to provide shareholders with better protection from securities fraud, according to supporters. Already spokesmen for Intel and AMD have said they had to decline speculation on forthcoming products, citing the ballot. Sun's Web site has detailed data about 211 with links for visitors to register their disapproval. The rule could mean that listed IT companies will draw down the shutters on details of future projects for fear of being sued.

Gail Hall, public relations manger at Intel UK, said that the law would be negative for all parties. "It would reverse a lot of the work that's been done in the last few years against frivolous suits," she said. "It will reduce our ability to communicate with shareholders, staff and media and put directors' jobs in jeopardy because they could be forced to resign rather than be sued by shareholders. The worrying thing is that even if it is defeated on November 5 another state might take it up."