|/* Written 10:42 PM Apr 21, 1999 by email@example.com in igc:labr.all */
/* ---------- "Labor Netter Hamidi Wins Email Ruli" ---------- */
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 99 18:37:09 -0000
From: Steve Zeltzer
Ex-Intel worker wins court round: He wants to resume flow of critical
By Eric Young
Bee Staff Writer
April 17, 1999
In a case with implications for free speech on the Internet, a judge
sided with a Citrus Heights man who is battling Intel Corp. over the
right to send Intel-bashing e-mail to thousands of employees at the
Friday's preliminary ruling by Superior Court Judge John R. Lewis
allows Ken Hamidi to file a motion or go to trial to overturn a ban on
his e-mail issued last December.
Prior to the ban, Hamidi had been sending up to 30,000 e-mails a day
to Intel workers alleging labor violations and other abuses by the
"I'm glad today," said Hamidi, a former Intel employee. "This was a
good decision and we go forward from here. . . . I want to send e-mails
as soon as possible."
An Intel spokeswoman said company lawyers will make oral arguments
Monday to try to persuade Lewis to change his mind. Lewis will then
issue a permanent ruling.
Hamidi's case -- which appears to mark the first time a judge has
barred an e-mailer from spreading personal opinions -- could help
dictate the level of freedom that Internet users have in directing
electronic mail to specific groups of people, accord ing to experts
following the case.
"Intel Corp. v. Hamidi is an important case . . . that could have a
long-term impact on the relationship between speech and property rights
in cyberspace," said Charles Nesson, a Harvard law professor and expert
on Internet law.
Intel said in court papers that Hamidi's electronic mail amounted to
trespassing on their computer system and was "uninvited, disruptive and
adversely affect(s) employee productivity."
The company said Hamidi's e-mail campaign stretched from December
1996 until September 1998.
Hamidi was an engineer at Intel's Folsom campus. In 1996 he was
involved in an auto accident and left the company on disability. He said
he was fired over a dispute concerning disability claims.
After leaving Intel, Hamidi set up a World Wide Web site, called FACE
Intel, that details Intel's alleged mistreatment of its employees.
Hamidi said Intel went to court to stop his e-mails because the
company disapproves of criticism. He maintains that his actions are
protected by the U.S. Constitution.
"I have never attempted to access Intel's intranet," Hamidi said,
referring to the firm's internal system linking Intel employees'
computers to each other.
"Intel's attempt to obtain a permanent injunction against me to stop
sending electronic mail is the equivalent of asking the government to
stop me from sending paper mail through the Postal Service," Hamidi
Intel said the company believes in freedom of speech. But the company
said it is trying to stop mass e-mailings that could upset workers and
disrupt the workday.