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Apple's Hounding of Bloggers Becomes a PR Disaster

Macro eye



Summary: Desperate attempts by Apple to control coverage of its products (by getting the police forces involved) leads to backlash and has the opposite effect of what was originally intended

APPLE continues to rely on a smoke screen to generate fake hype and police its image. Over the years, Apple has been shutting down rumour sites and as we pointed out the other day, Apple is even sending the police when the hype machine falters.



Gizmodo previously leaked some images of Apple's next hypePhone, only to be raided by cops for 'daring' to do so.

Gizmodo editor Jason Chen has been raided by Silicon Valley's computer crime force in hot pursuit of the case of the missing iPhone prototype. According to a bulletin published by Gizmodo today, they broke down the front door to gain entry, and departed some hours later with a truck containing Chen's computer equipment.


According to Gizmodo, one of their writers had his computers confiscated at the behest of Apple.

Last Friday night, California's Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team entered editor Jason Chen's home without him present, seizing four computers and two servers. They did so using a warrant by Judge of Superior Court of San Mateo. According to Gaby Darbyshire, COO of Gawker Media LLC, the search warrant to remove these computers was invalid under section 1524(g) of the California Penal Code.


Gizmodo has also leaked this borderline nastygram from Apple. Apple should really leave this guy alone, based on a new legal case which says he does not quality as a "journalist" and therefore he did nothing wrong.

While lots of attention was paid to the claims that the confiscation of Gizmodo reporter Jason Chen's computer's would "settle" whether bloggers are considered journalists, the details in that case suggest otherwise. However, a much more important case on that particular question was decided late last week. It's the case of Shellee Hale, which we've covered in the past. Basically, Hale posted some information claiming a security breach at another company. She revealed this information as a comment on another site -- and when she was sued, the company demanded she reveal where she got that information from. She claimed that her sources were protected, as she was a journalist.


What Apple decided to do after details about the phone had already been leaked only increased interest in the leak and therefore had the very opposite effect to that of censorship. Additionally, with new images like this one (labeling Apple and its customers "snobs"), it is clear that this whole police affair is becoming a PR disaster for Apple. Roughly Drafted, which is written by an Apple enthusiast (who attends confidential Apple meetings), is doing Apple's 'damage control' [1, 2].

Apple has become dangerously obsessive if this is how far it is willing to go to control coverage of its products (the hypePhone could be developed in a transparent process like some other phones). Speaking of controlling coverage, Microsoft and NBC recently took control of EveryBlock, which still makes the news on occasions. It is more common to control the news by becoming an advertiser, which both Microsoft and Apple do. An example of an Apple advertiser and booster would have to be IDG, which ironically enough Roughly Drafted accused of being an Apple basher. Roughly Drafted can never, ever criticise Apple.

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