Court Says MuckRock Must Take Down Smart Grid Company's Documents Because Judge Has 'No Time' To Review Case Properly
from the ain't-nobody-got-time-to-consider-free-speech-implications dept
Last week, we covered a multinational corporation's attempt to force MuckRock to take down documents supplied by the city of Seattle to Phil Mocek. Landis+Gyr, which was awarded the contract to supply the city with "smart meters" in conjunction with the publicly-owned utility, claimed the documents released -- along with documents the city was planning to release -- would be a boon to competitors and terrorists, although it didn't specify which of these it was more worried about.
The company also demanded MuckRock turn over information on site users who may have seen or downloaded the documents. It also (hilariously) demanded MuckRock assist it in the "retrieval" of disseminated documents.
The company's request for an injunction against MuckRock and the city of Seattle went before a judge on Thursday. It has been (partially) granted. Ansel Herz of The Stranger says, after speaking to Landis+Gyr reps, that the judge granted its request -- not on its merits but because there just aren't enough hours in the day.
At a King County court hearing yesterday, Commissioner Carlos Velategui granted the companies' request for a temporary restraining order, lawyers for the companies told me. "There's no way that I can spend the time to look at all this," Velategui said. Neither Mocek nor the city showed up to defend themselves.
The request was filed on the 23rd and granted on the 26th. That's an impressive turn radius for government machinery. This compressed timeframe likely explains the court's harried decision, as well as the lack of defendants in the courtroom.
MuckRock will be fighting the order, but it will now have help. The EFF has stepped in to represent MuckRock and Mocek against Landis+Gyr. The documents MuckRock is currently unable to provide to the public can be found here: L+G Managed Services Report and L+G Security Overview (in case you want a copy).
Landis+Gyr may have achieved the first step in its plan to herd its PDF cats back into the bag, but its complaint should have been limited to the government organization that released the documents it claims are sensitive, rather than the FOIA requester and clearinghouse that received them. And, trade secrets or not, the company is working in conjunction with a city government to install devices with possible privacy implications on every home -- so more transparency, not less, is exactly what's needed.