Thursday, January 27, 2005

Publius Revisited

I read an article in the Financial Times yesterday regarding blogging. I can't link to the article because the Financial Times believes their journalism should not be available to those who aren't paying good money to witness it. However, if you find yesterday's Financial Times, you will see the article. Anyway. The article was about a blogger that has been giving away release dates and inside secrets about Apple computer products. Apple has sued him, saying he is giving away trade secrets. The boy-cum-man (he was 13 when he started his site, and is now 19 and attending Harvard) and his lawyer claim as long as he is obtaining the information lawfully, he is doing nothing wrong. The long and short of the article is whether or not blogging speech needs to be regulated - read: legislated. What I found particularly amusing is that Apple is bring this case against this guy and calling him a "journalist." Really? I could have sworn we were hopeless conspiracy-theorizing bachelors listening to ham radio, overnight talk shows, and attached to our computers with the devotion of Adelie Penguins. Can you imagine a world where we are now regulating what someone is writing? I thought book-banning was a thing of the past? Fahrenheit 454 is suddenly on our doorstep. Yet I've not seen any outrage - perhaps I'm not looking the right places. If Apple wants its "trade secrets" to remain secrets, then they should keep a better tap on their information. (The irony is that this blogger they are going after is actually a huge Apple fan, and is releasing this information to hype up other Apple users to buy Apple products.) If they can prove he is doing something illegal to obtain the information, then by all means, prosecute the little bug. But should that lead to "regulation" of bloggers? What bloggers write is their own. That we publish it on an internet site is our prerogative. Unless we are advertising kiddie porn or selling drugs via our posts, leave us the hell alone. Can you imagine if they are able to tell us what we can and can't say? What will that do to authors? What about our freedom to have an opinion? Why is it up to the government to dictate our speech, when we have a constitution that guarantees us the right to free speech? Note: I found the link to the article on the UK side of the FT website.