Teen accused of leaking Apple secrets


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kylejn
BOSTON, Massachusetts (AP) -- A Web site that disclosed Apple's top-secret plans to bring out a $499 mini computer and a new bare-bones iPod -- prompting a lawsuit from the company -- turns out to be the brainchild of a 19-year-old Harvard University student.

Nicholas M. Ciarelli, who says he had been "an enthusiastic fan" of Apple for years, said Friday hopes to find free or low-cost legal help to defend the suit, arguing that he deserves First Amendment protection.

At the company's annual MacWorld conference Tuesday in San Francisco, Apple Computer Inc. chief executive Steve Jobs introduced a cut-rate computer the size of a paperback and a tiny iPod music player that starts at $99.

Citing "highly reliable sources," Ciarelli's Web site, www.thinksecret.com, had reported December 28 that the company would be bringing out a $499 Mac mini computer. On January 6, it predicted the $99 iPod, though it got some details wrong.

Ciarelli's identity as the site's editor and publisher was revealed on Wednesday in The Harvard Crimson, the student newspaper.

Apple sued Think Secret on January 4, contending the Web site violated trade secrets. Besides the site, it named as defendants unidentified sources who tipped off the online publication about the launch.

Think Secret "solicited information about unreleased Apple products from these individuals, who violated their confidentiality agreements with Apple by providing details that were later posted on the Internet," said Apple in a statement.

But Ciarelli said his articles were protected by the First Amendment and that information was gathered using proper newsgathering techniques.

"A lot of lawyers are interested in my case, but few are able to do it for free or low cost," Ciarelli, of Cazenovia, New York, said in an e-mail interview. "I'm seeking representation."

Ciarelli has been editing and publishing the site under the pen name "Nick dePlume" since age 13. The site, which accepts advertising, is popular with enthusiasts of the company's products and industry analysts.

Apple declined to answer questions Friday about whether it would now sue Ciarelli himself.

Source: cnn.com

Hmm, interesting. What do y'all think? Should Ciarelli and Think Secret be sued, or have they done nothing wrong?

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Dazzla

If it was nothing but the truth then he should be protected. But when he posts things that aren't announced, that can damage Apple in terms of share price.

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gigapixels

ThinkSecret isn't the culprit... It's the sources that he got the info from. They broke their confidentiality agreements, they should be punished. He was "just the messenger."

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aristotle-dude

I think Ciarelli should give up who his sources are. He's not a "real" journalist. He's also 19 year old and therefore no longer a minor and most people would not call a 19 year old a "teen". He should have known better. This would not be the first time he's done this and I think Apple are going after him this time because he's no longer a minor and because these leaks this time could have been financially damaging.

He's going to Harvard and he lacks common sense? Sound's like a rich kid who got his daddy to pay for his Ivy league education. Someone there on a scholarship would have enough sense to not do something like this repeatedly.

Journalists are supposed to follow a certain code of conduct and they should not involve themselves in industrial espionage nor should they encourage people to divulge confidential information. This is not a matter of public interest or safety. His sources are not whistle-blowers but rather people who cannot keep their mouth shut.

I don't think Apple wants anything more than information about who is leaking this stuff to TS.

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suicide_pact

I think if he made money by releasing those secrets, then he shouldn't be protected. By money, I mean more money than he would make from ads to his site, Just my opinion though.

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aristotle-dude
ThinkSecret isn't the culprit... It's the sources that he got the info from. They broke their confidentiality agreements, they should be punished. He was "just the messenger."

585307251[/snapback]

Journalists are supposed to follow a code of ethics and act responsibly. They should not release information which is confidential if it is not a matter of public interest or safety. Industrial trade secrets of this type are not something the public must know about.

I believe in the freedom of the press but I do not believe that freedom can be without limits or responsibilities.

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gigapixels
Journalists are supposed to follow a code of ethics and act responsibly. They should not release information which is confidential if it is not a matter of public interest or safety. Industrial trade secrets of this type are not something the public must know about.

I believe in the freedom of the press but I do not believe that freedom can be without limits or responsibilities.

585307300[/snapback]

I can guarantee that any other internet journalist with such sources as his would have put the same information on his/her website.

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Larney

This is like Neowin's News. Shall we post news about unreleased Microsoft beta products or not? It's a thin line when it comes down to it to be honest.

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Pink Floyd
ThinkSecret isn't the culprit... It's the sources that he got the info from. They broke their confidentiality agreements, they should be punished. He was "just the messenger."

585307251[/snapback]

yeah the messenger maybe but the 2 guys that steal bank, the one who is the driver and waits in the car is also guilty

if this is all true, the he diserves he

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Hurmoth

Personally, I don't think Ciarelli should be sued, he doesn't work for Apple and is not covered by any NDAs or whatever... the people who should be sued are the ones who's leaking the information.

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icetohot

doesn't neowin run his articles on the main page also?

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XP_01

I think Apple is taking this thing way too far. If a 19 yo kid can acces that kind of information, Apple should do a better job securing it.

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Hurmoth
...Apple should do a better job securing it.

585308531[/snapback]

Exactly!

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ZZOOzzoo

I can understand why Apple is so angry.

There was no 'surprise' from the last Macworld because everything revealed there was already what rumor had been saying.

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empty

You seriously cant compare this to a getaway driver finalcut.

What did apple lose from this? the element of suprise. What do they gain? A lot of pre-macworld publicity and people preparing to buy ipodshuffles etc.

It really isnt this guys fault, hes an enthusiast with a great site that provides information to the fans (all 10 of them ;)) of apples. Like it was said earlier, if apple want to waste their money doing anything it should be plugging their leaks, not suing some 19 year old.

Poor show apple.

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Joseph B

Looks like lately Apple will sue anything that moves...

:whistle:

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Mx

I think he shouldn't be sued. Apple should be investigating those that supply him with the information, not sueing a guy who is just running a website to provide people with information.

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eminem213486

wtf ever happened to freedom of speech?

if i was him i would sooo dish out a bunch of secrets and sue APPLE for extortion. its only a matter of time before someone does. what apple does is just NOT right. ****in sue happy ****ers!!

dish out a bunch of secrets and then threaten to kill self if apple doesnt back off... then sue for extortion.. muahahha

losers..

should be their own fault they cant keep leaks from happening. no other company sues people for releasing upcoming products. even neowin wasnt sued my microsoft when it releases stages of where a product is or upcomin products, only thing i remember is that the neowin site was taken down...

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Hills420

Apple is just ****ed that thinksecret stole their "thunder" at MacWorld.

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Brandon
wtf ever happened to freedom of speech?

if i was him i would sooo dish out a bunch of secrets and sue APPLE for extortion. its only a matter of time before someone does. what apple does is just NOT right. ****in sue happy ****ers!!

dish out a bunch of secrets and then threaten to kill self if apple doesnt back off... then sue for extortion.. muahahha

losers..

should be their own fault they cant keep leaks from happening. no other company sues people for releasing upcoming products. even neowin wasnt sued my microsoft when it releases stages of where a product is or upcomin products, only thing i remember is that the neowin site was taken down...

585312368[/snapback]

sometimes theres too much freedom

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Andrew Lyle
I can understand why Apple is so angry.

There was no 'surprise' from the last Macworld because everything revealed there was already what rumor had been saying.

585308572[/snapback]

they wanted the element of surprise to help there low production. if apple releases something cheaper then the compition, then more people will switch over to Mac right? now if you dont have the element of surprise on the enemy, your a sitting duck.

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RangerLG

This is no different than AMD or Intel future releases being leaked to other news sites. You don't see them suing everyone. To me, it is only rumor and heresay until the official word.

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Diffused Mind
dish out a bunch of secrets and then threaten to kill self if apple doesnt back off... then sue for extortion.. muahahha

585312368[/snapback]

Your legal tactics are so impressive.

</sarcasm>

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DrunkenMaster
This is like Neowin's News. Shall we post news about unreleased Microsoft beta products or not? It's a thin line when it comes down to it to be honest.

585308322[/snapback]

If MS releases a Beta of the software without accompanying NDAs, this is all well and good. The information is available for the public consumption.

Ciarelli though obtained information, presumably, from people who had violated their NDAs with Apple (either Apple employees or 3rd party manufacturers). This goes over the line. If the product was unanounced and he reported it accuarately and predicted the launch was within coming weeks it might have hurt Apples' sales during the Christmas to Boxing Day season.

This is the reason newspapers don't report leaked information, other than perhaps stuff about governments and only if they confirm its true.

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