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ACLU: Intel ‘violating free speech’

That man Hamidi back to haunt Chipzilla again

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The American Civil Liberties Union is, according to NewsBytes, backing former Intel employee Kourosh Hamidi who was ordered to stop criticising Intel in internal emails. In a case of email as free speech, the ACLU has filed an Amici Curiae (Friend of the Court) brief in an appeal pending in the lawsuit brought against by Intel.

Over a two-year period, Hamidi is reported to have sent six emails to other Intel employees criticising the company's employment policy and the hiring of staff from outside the US. Intel asked Hamidi to desist, but he refused.

Now no longer with the chip behemoth, Hamidi runs the FaceIntel website with the aim of highlighting what he considers to be inappropriate corporate behaviour.

The ACLU says that Intel's subsequent legal actions were a heavy-handed attempt to silence a critic, not an effort to prevent overload to its email system.

"Email is the electronic version of a protestor's sign and leaflet," said a spokesman. "It has quickly become the preferred means of communication for millions of people across the country and around the world.

"The First Amendment protects Hamidi's right to use email to reach his intended audience at the place where that audience can best be found."

The California Court of Appeal is not expected to make a decision on the case until the end of the year. ®

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