Judge tells Apple off for secrecy

Apple has been told by a US judge that its cult of secrecy will not dictate the workings of the US justice system.

Apple has two types of truth. One is marketed truth, which is plugged into its reality distortion field and can convert gadgets into the saviours of mankind. Anything else is a secret truth which is never discussed outside Apple offices and even then the blinds have to be shut and you have to talk in whispers.

According to Bloomberg, Apple logically thought that the US justice system would work the same way so its briefs told Judge William Alsup that a court hearing into the Hackintosh cloning case should keep certain documents about its MacOS secret.

It was a little shocked when Alsup refused to accept Apple’s version of reality. He actually asked why.

Apple claimed that the documents it wanted kept secret were trade secrets and it would give its rivals an advantage if they were made public. But Alsup pointed out that the information was already public and could be downloaded from the internet. He also noted that Apple was not claiming that the information had been misappropriated.

He wondered why a court should routinely censor public documents because Apple pulled the trade secret card.

Apple’s argument was that since it was not the source of the information being on the internet, the documents were a trade secret and therefore should be protected by the court from a disclosure that had already happened.

For the record, this means that if you ever have a scoop on Apple which has not received the blessing from the press office, your story could be a considered a trade secret and you could be arrested for corporate spying.

Alsup was not buying it. He said that Apple was not allowed to have his court seal information merely to avoid confirmation that the publicly available sources got it right.

He said that information about the operating system is available on the website of a book about the software, the judge said. Apple’s decryption key haiku is available to any user who compiles and runs publicly available code on a MacBook Air laptop, he said.

Psystar was barred in 2009 by Alsup from selling copies of Apple’s operating system or products that circumvent technologies that control access to the software. His order covered a Psystar software product that allowed customers to run the Mac operating systems on non-Apple computers. The companies reached a $2.67 million partial settlement of the lawsuit in 2009.

A later federal appeals court in San Francisco upheld Alsup’s sales injunction in September and ordered some documents in the case unsealed and this is where Apple tried to get the decision reviewed.