It’s seems like Apple has a few bad apples in their ranks. Just the other day, a blow to the freedom of speech was forced upon a few bloggers that was given some unrevealed information from an inside source from within Apple. The information they got was for an up and coming product from Apple, and of course, Apple was not to happy about this. Instead of actually trying to pin down the source on their own, making a minimal fuzz to finding their own rotten apple, they instead opted for the option to go into court and have the courts flush him/her out. Of course, this process doesn’t really cost a multi billion dollar corporation like Apple much, for them this is a mere case of lunch money. But what about Joe Average? Joe Average doesn’t have as deep pockets as Apple.
But this is really not what concerns me, what worries me is the fact that it limits our right to freedom of speech. Granted, I do not live in the United States, but in Norway where I live we have the same right to freedom of speech. It’s a right that not everyone has, unfortunately, but given the fact that we are blessed with this privilege one should cherish it and make use of it whenever possible. As any journalist or blogger would say, if they were given a chance to a big scoop on the terms that their sources would have to remain anonymous, both parties would agree to this. It’s all based on the freedom of speech. But what Apple has done here, is to take away that right. And that scares me.
Ok, I can admit as much as this. If I was Apple, or any other company no matter the size, I would also be angry at the fact that someone leaked information about an up and coming product. It’s like a game of poker, you give away some aspects of your game, but you never give away everything. A good poker player doesn’t only know how to count cards, but a good poker player also knows to do a good bluff and to get away with it. This is pretty much the same when you are working in product development, you look at the market and give out indicators of what you might and might not develop, but you never reveal everything. When someone leaks information of this sort, that does damage of various degrees. And I perfectly understand Apple for wanting to find this source. But what I do not understand is their method of finding this source.
I do not approve of leaking disclosed information to the public, but I do not approve of people/corporations trying to limit anyone’s ability to perform our right of freedom of speech either. I feel like it’s taking steps backwards in evolution. It is entirely up to corporations to have good internal routines for the handling of confidential material, and to make sure that their employees know the consequences of mishandling of confidential material. There are many ways with today’s technology to ensure this, and a high tech company such as Apple should be able to implement such features. The question of whether or not these bloggers made the right call to publish this material is for me, not really an issue in this case. They just exercised their right to freedom of speech.
As a result of this, we might end up with people not coming to the media with information. Information that you would not be able to do anything with on your own, but would have a much higher impact given to the media that knows how to work it. How many political scandals would never have seen the light of day if it wasn’t for freedom of speech, and the ability to remain anonymous. What Apple has done with its crusade to find their own sinner, their own rotten apple, is to scare off future ’squealers’ from approaching the media in the fear that their own identity might be revealed and thus their own safety be jeopardized.
And that my friends is what freedom is all about, freedom to be who you are, to do what you want, and to say what you want. As a wise man once said;
A free society is a place where it is safe to be unpopular