The Financial Times today takes a look at Apple's suit against Think Secret, and asks if its the thin end of corporate control of the information flow.

"Will 2005 be the year when bloggers are tamed in court?" the report asks. It describes Apple's case against 19-year old Nick Ciarelli's Mac rumour Web site as: "A test of the freedom of the blogosphere".

"The case will test the limits of free speech in the digital era and the rights of companies to keep secrets in a world in which technology makes it harder to hide anything from public view," it observes.

Apple claims it is not attempting to limit US rights to press freedom, saying it's simply responding to Think Secret's online invitation to share information with the site.

Ciarelli's lawyer Terry Gross maintains his client has done nothing wrong, and has the right under the First Amendment to publish anything he learns lawfully - and as a journalist should not be forced to reveal his sources.

Who is a journalist in cyberspace?

"In a world where technology can make anyone a publisher, should every blogger qualify for constitutional protection under the first amendment to the US constitution that guarantees freedom of the press?" it asks.

The legal director of freedom of information lobby group Public Knowledge Mike Godwin told the FT: "When the first amendment was crafted, it was understood that freedom of the press just as much as freedom of speech belonged to everybody."

First amendment belongs to all

He describes bloggers as the modern equivalent of eighteenth and nineteenth century pamphlet publishers - a common means of expression at their time.

Think Secret has attracted extensive support in the case, with an online petition urging Apple to cease its action against the site attracting 4,900 signatures so far.