Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Even the CEO Has Privacy Rights

Businessweek informs us,
Apple Inc. may already have told investors all it needs to about Steve Jobs’s health problems in its statement yesterday that he was granted a leave of absence, according to three securities law experts.

“They don’t have to say any more than the fact that he’s taking a leave, it’s indefinite, if that’s what it is,” James Cox, a Duke University law professor, said yesterday. “Then they can express lots of generalized optimism which is not going to get them into trouble because that’s the kind of expected puffery for which there’s no actionable claims to speak of.”
Don't get me wrong - I understand why investors want to know all the dirty details of Jobs' health, and why they were annoyed by past secrecy and statements that understated the severity of his medical condition. But obligations to the SEC aside, what makes Businessweek believe that Apple could disclose more about Jobs' medical condition without violating his privacy rights?

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