A preliminary ruling last week is now final, reports CNet.com.
According to the ruling by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge
James P. Kleinberg, Apple may subpoena email records from NFox.com,
email provider for PowerPage.org.
CNet reports the court did not answer the question of whether writers
for online 'enthusiast' sites are journalists. (The Electronic Frontier Foundation
suggested that as journalists writers for the sites should be able to
protect confidential sources). Instead, Kleinberg wrote that the
articles on PowerPage and other sites "are doing
nothing more than feeding the public's insatiable desire for
information" as opposed to doing something in the public interest, such
as blowing the whistle on a health or welfare matter.
Apple is not suing the websites; it's subpoenaing email records in an
attempt to determine (and sue) the source of the leak of documents
related to a planned Asteroid audio interface.
What this ruling means is now even more ambiguous: by basing the claim
on the lack of public interest, the ruling isn't just a warning to
'bloggers' — it means potentially a similar decision could affect any
technology journalist whose emails are suspected of containing
confidential technical information.