Inquiry Into Jobs' Health Puts SEC in New Territory

Agency may set precedent on executive privacy
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2009 3:33 PM CST
In this Oct. 14, 2008, file photo, Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs jokes about his health during a product announcement at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file)
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(Newser) – The Securities and Exchange Commission's inquiry into Apple’s disclosures on Steve Jobs’ health has the agency prying into perhaps the last remaining corner of executive privacy, Bloomberg reports. Securities law requires companies to reveal to shareholders information that could affect share price, but the health of executives has usually been left alone. Regulators are “delving into a sensitive area that’s very uncommon,” said one professor.

The SEC inquiry will likely center on Apple’s Jan. 5 and Jan. 14 announcements on Jobs’ health, which presented drastically different assessments despite being 9 days apart. To prove the earlier announcement wasn’t an understatement, investigators will be looking for evidence that Jobs learned something new about his health in the time between.