Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Ben Uher, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Derek Weeks, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Agile Computing

Agile Computing: Article

Bloggers = Journalists, Says California Court; Apple Loses

California Shield Laws Protect Bloggers from Apple Computer

The very specific California Shield Law came to the rescue of bloggers who were caught in legal crosshairs by Apple, in a decision by a three-judge panel from the state Court of Appeal in San Jose. The bloggers, most prominently Jason O'Gradey and his PowerPage, were vindicated by a decision that addressed whether bloggers have the same protections afforded traditional journalists in their use of confidential sources to reveal confidential, leaked information.

The case at hand involved revelations of a project code-named "Asteroid" that is being developed by Apple Computer in the digital musice space. In this case, Apple had tried to subpoena the bloggers ISP so that it could find e-mail between the bloggers and the confidential source or sources. An initial ruling by the Santa Clara County Superior Court had ruled in Apple's favor.

But the Court of Appeal said Californai's Shield Law "is intended to protect the gathering and dissemination of news, and that is what the (bloggers) did here." The Electronic Frontier Fondation had advocated on the bloggers' behalf. The Foundation invoked the name of Walter Cronkite to back the bloggers, noting that the Most Trusted Man in America has blogged for The Huffington Post, and asking whether he has "stopped being a journalist" because he is now a blogger.

Apple's concern in this issue seemed to be focused on the reality that the Worldwide Web makes it easy for increasing numbers of people to reveal confidential information, especially information that companies consider to be trade secrets.

The case, known officially as O'Grady vs. Santa Clara Superior Court, docket number H028579, can be found at the Court of Appeals website.

In the traditional journalism world, precedents over the past 30 years have been set in everything from the Pentagon Papers and Watergate to Barry Bonds' dietary supplement regimen that possession of things such as classified information, trade secrets, or grand jury testimony is not illegal, even if revealing this information is.

Journalists routinely invoke their First Amendment rights to publish information, and in many states, have the additional protection of shield laws to protect them from revealing confidential sources, on the theory that lack of such protection siginificantly stifles a free flow of information and harms the public good.

However, prosecutors in criminal cases often continue to demand, especially in states lacking shield laws, that journalists reveal sources and unpublished information from their notes. Journalists occasionally go to jail defending their sources, a recent example being in the matter of leaked information about CIA operative Valerie Plame.

The Apple Asteroid issue has not yet heated up to the point of threatening anyone with jail, yet no one would underestimate the seriousness with which companies protect their trade secrets and the potential criminality involved in revealing them.

SYS-CON Media has been an aggressive promoter of blogging activity in recent months, with more than a dozen prominent bloggers routinely featured on the company's home page and thousands of other bloggers registered to blog within the company's various i-technology publications.

This policy has seemed to enable a very open and free flow of information and opinion about all aspects of the emerging Web 2.0 age, whether the bloggers are talking about overarching issues such as Open Source, trends such as SOA, languages such as Java and the Three Ps, tools and frameworks such as JSON and Struts, or even personal asides on the quality of specific trade shows or company announcements.

As West Coast Bureau Chief for SYS-CON, and a person who grew up in a newspaper family, I have been involved in numerous discussions with numerous bloggers, traditional journalists, and traditional journalists who are also bloggers. My personal view sides with the bloggers, that they do, in fact, have the same rights as any journalist.

Those who argue against this say that bloggers typically don't have the fact-checking discipline or multi-source tradition that is ingrained in traditional journalists, that they feel that they can say whatever they want to say without having to pass muster with the editors or specific policies found in traditional news organizations.

But we have been on a slippery slope since TV journalism added a glibness and sloppy aggressiveness to reporting that horrifies most print journalists. Looking back even further, one finds major news organizations such as, say, Time Inc. and the Los Angeles Times bringing brutally biased viewpoints to their so-called reporting during the first half of the 20th century. Looking back even further, one can hardly call the viciously political and personal scandal sheets common to the days of the Founding Fathers as anything resembling the "objective" journalism that people often call for today.

(I won't tackle the "objective" issue in this column, as this is a big issue that presupposes that human beings have some sort of widely shared, identical ability to interpret what they see and hear. )

So it seems to me that bloggers have the same rights as anyone to report on a story, using whatever source material they see fit. The readersphere will determine their place in the blogosphere. There are no educational or license requirements to become a journalist. In fact, traditional newsrooms of the immediate post-WWII era were routinely filled with high school graduates who could gather information, write about it clearly, and withstand the heat that inevitably came.

Today, bloggers are probably more educated and more opinionated than the traditional journalists of yore. They are probably less thorough and certainly less restricted than traditional journalists of today in what they can cover--remember, traditional journalists work for The Man, and usually have very specific story assignments and parameters within which they must work (or be out of a job and seek their next meal from, say, a blog).

But bloggers are as protected, in my opinion, as traditional journalists from corporations and governments that want to give them a second-class seat solely because they are bloggers.

The real fun will begin when bloggers are routinely hauled into court for libel because of something stupid or sloppy (or both), or perhaps plagiarized, that they may have unwittingly published, secure in the knowledge that as "real" journalists, they are now free to rant and rave as they see fit.

Because the flip side of this coin is that today's traditional journalism did not spring up overnight--the fact-checking disciplines and tacit limits on injecting too much opinion in a piece of reportage exist based on hard lessons learned. Although U.S. libel laws are less harsh than those found almost anywhere else in the world, it is a reality for traditional journalists that whenthey publish something, they had better get the story right and had better leave the personal observations about someone's mental health or family ancestry out of the story, or they may find themselves out of a job and into a court.

The Asteroid bloggers have apparently not bungled the job, and good for them. My guess is that not everyone in the blogosphere will be so careful.

Digg This!


More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

Comments (4) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
queZZtion 05/28/06 03:45:04 AM EDT

Is that other lawsuit, the one against ThinkSecret, still pending?

Juha Saarinen 05/28/06 03:38:16 AM EDT

This is of course great news for bloggers and online journalists in the USA. There is now a precedent set that says online journalism isn't "illegitimate news", which is very important indeed.

aNon 05/28/06 03:19:30 AM EDT

Blow to big business, boost to bloggers.

NoWay Jose 05/28/06 03:04:42 AM EDT

|| Journalists occasionally go to jail
|| defending their sources, a recent example
|| being in the matter of leaked information
|| about CIA operative Valerie Plame

So one day soon an ISP will go to jail to protect the integrity of a blogger. I DON'T THINK SO. The blogger = journalist analogy breaks down right there, sorry.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that SD Times | BZ Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BZ Media LLC is a high-tech media company that produces technical conferences and expositions, and publishes a magazine, newsletters and websites in the software development, SharePoint, mobile development and commercial UAV markets.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...
Now that the world has connected “things,” we need to build these devices as truly intelligent in order to create instantaneous and precise results. This means you have to do as much of the processing at the point of entry as you can: at the edge. The killer use cases for IoT are becoming manifest through AI engines on edge devices. An autonomous car has this dual edge/cloud analytics model, producing precise, real-time results. In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Crupi, Vice President and Eng...
There are 66 million network cameras capturing terabytes of data. How did factories in Japan improve physical security at the facilities and improve employee productivity? Edge Computing reduces possible kilobytes of data collected per second to only a few kilobytes of data transmitted to the public cloud every day. Data is aggregated and analyzed close to sensors so only intelligent results need to be transmitted to the cloud. Non-essential data is recycled to optimize storage.
"I think that everyone recognizes that for IoT to really realize its full potential and value that it is about creating ecosystems and marketplaces and that no single vendor is able to support what is required," explained Esmeralda Swartz, VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud at Ericsson, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
As businesses adopt functionalities in cloud computing, it’s imperative that IT operations consistently ensure cloud systems work correctly – all of the time, and to their best capabilities. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Bernd Harzog, CEO and founder of OpsDataStore, will present an industry answer to the common question, “Are you running IT operations as efficiently and as cost effectively as you need to?” He will expound on the industry issues he frequently came up against as an analyst, and...
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" ...
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor - all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
My team embarked on building a data lake for our sales and marketing data to better understand customer journeys. This required building a hybrid data pipeline to connect our cloud CRM with the new Hadoop Data Lake. One challenge is that IT was not in a position to provide support until we proved value and marketing did not have the experience, so we embarked on the journey ourselves within the product marketing team for our line of business within Progress. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Sum...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex softw...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
What sort of WebRTC based applications can we expect to see over the next year and beyond? One way to predict development trends is to see what sorts of applications startups are building. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arin Sime, founder of WebRTC.ventures, will discuss the current and likely future trends in WebRTC application development based on real requests for custom applications from real customers, as well as other public sources of information,
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Apache Hadoop is emerging as a distributed platform for handling large and fast incoming streams of data. Predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, and Internet-of-Things analysis are examples where Hadoop provides the scalable storage, processing, and analytics platform to gain meaningful insights from granular data that is typically only valuable from a large-scale, aggregate view. One architecture useful for capturing and analyzing streaming data is the Lambda Architecture, represent...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ocean9will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ocean9 provides cloud services for Backup, Disaster Recovery (DRaaS) and instant Innovation, and redefines enterprise infrastructure with its cloud native subscription offerings for mission critical SAP workloads.
With billions of sensors deployed worldwide, the amount of machine-generated data will soon exceed what our networks can handle. But consumers and businesses will expect seamless experiences and real-time responsiveness. What does this mean for IoT devices and the infrastructure that supports them? More of the data will need to be handled at - or closer to - the devices themselves.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...