Digital free speech and democracy campaigning group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has stepped up to represent the Mac Web in defence against Apple's recent attention-grabbing lawsuit against the Mac rumour site.

Apple is threatening legal action against Think Secret, AppleInsider and PowerPage, sites which claimed Apple to be readying a new audio add-on for GarageBand users. The computer company is also attempting to force the sites to reveal their sources - begging the question of what it is that constitutes a journalist.

EFF is defending the publishers against these subpoenas, arguing that the anonymity of bloggers' sources is protected by the same laws that protect sources providing information to journalists.

"Bloggers break the news, just like journalists do. They must be able to promise confidentiality in order to maintain the free flow of information," said EFF staff attorney Kurt Opsahl.

"Without legal protection, informants will refuse to talk to reporters, diminishing the power of the open press that is the cornerstone of a free society."

"I am very disappointed by Apple's behaviour and its new policy of issuing legal threats to its best customers," added Jason O'Grady, publisher of PowerPage. "Is corporate paranoia really more important than the First Amendment?"