Court Documents in Apple ‘Asteroid’ Case Unsealed

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Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has announced that last week it won the right to unseal court documents in the Apple v. Does case. According to EFF, the documents show that Apple tried to subpoena AppleInsider and PowerPageis anonymous sources rather than conduct a thorough internal investigation to find the original source of the leaks. Apple is required by the California Constitution and the First Amendment to exhaust all other avenues before launching such a legal action.

EFF said in a statement: "The unsealed documents allow the public to see that Apple failed to conduct an exhaustive investigation. It never took depositions, never issued subpoenas (other than to the journalists), and never asked for signed declarations or information under oath from its own employees."

EFF, with co-counsel Thomas Moore III and Richard Wiebe, is representing the AppleInsider and PowerPage Web sites, both of which published articles about an upcoming Apple device code-named "Asteroid." Apple said that such actions violated trade secret law and filed suit in December 2004 against the unknown parties responsible for the leaks.

Apple tried to keep the contents of the court documents secret, claiming that any internal investigation it conducted was also a trade secret, but a judge disagreed. EFF notes that the unsealed information "clearly shows that the only computer forensics conducted by Apple were a search of Appleis email servers and a rudimentary examination of a single file server.

"Apple did not examine employeesi individual work computers or other devices capable of storing or transmitting electronic information, examine any telephone records, look at copy machines, or otherwise investigate the possibility that information about iAsteroidi was transmitted by means other than email. Moreover, as public documents already showed, Apple did not even obtain sworn statements from employees who had access to the leaked iAsteroidi specs."

The unsealed documents are available for download from the EFF Web site. While major parts of them are blacked out to keep Apple employeesi identities -- as well as sensitive information about the companyis inner workings -- confidential, they do show that investigators simply interviewed everyone who had access to the Asteroid documents and took their word for it that they didnit share them with anyone outside the company.

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