The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is calling for court protection for three journalists targeted by Apple.
The three reporters work for online titles appleinsider and powerpage.org. In November they published stories about "Asteroid", a future Apple device for linking musical instruments to computers.
Apple is demanding they hand over documents which could identify the source of that information.
The EFF asked a California Superior Court for a protective order to stop Apple forcing the reporters to reveal their sources. The group argues that the three are protected by the same "reporter's privilege" that protects newspaper journalists. This legal protection is the same regardless who holds the actual records.
As well as going after the reporters directly Apple has sent subpoenas to their ISP, Nfox.com. The computer giant wants the ISP to hand over reporters' emails which will reveal the identity of their sources.
EFF attorney Kurt Opsahl explained: "Rather than confronting the issue of reporter's privilege head-on, Apple is going to this journalist's ISP for his emails. This undermines a fundamental, First Amendment right that protects all reporters. If the court lets Apple get away with this, and exposes the confidences gained by these reporters, potential confidential sources will be deterred from providing information to the media."
More details on the EFF website here. ®