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Gizmodo iPhone - update - police act

By Deadly Ernest ·
ZDNet article at:



Police raided the home of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen late Friday, busting down the door to serve a search warrant that suggests that the site?s role in obtaining an iPhone prototype is being investigated as a felony, according to a post and documents published on the Gizmodo website.

The search, which reeks of violating journalists? protections against such warrants, involved the seizure of four computers and two servers, among other things, from Chen?s home, which doubles as his workplace.

The warrant was approved by a judge in San Mateo County, home of the bar where Apple software engineer Gray Powell lost a prototype of Apple?s yet-to-be-revealed next iPhone. Cupertino, which is home to Apple HQ, is in neighboring Santa Clara County. Chen lives in Alameda County, which is just across the bay from San Mateo County.

The warrant alleges that the property seized was ?used as the means of committing a felony? and ?tends to show that a felony has been committed or that a particular person has committed a felony.? In addition, in a description of property to be seized, the warrants reads:

All records and data located and/or stored on any computers, hard drives, or memory storage devices, located at the listed location including digital photographs and/or video of the Apple prototype 4G iPhone, email communications pertaining to the sale of photographs of the prototype phone and/or the sale of the physical prototype 4G Apple iPhone, internet history, cache files, and/or Internet pages pertaining to searches and/or research conducted on Apple employee Gray Powell, call records, contact lists, text messages related to the sale of photographs of the prototype iPhone and/or physical prototype iPhone and indicia that identifies the owner and/or operators of the computer or electronic device.

But hold on just one second there.

Chen is a journalist - and that immediately puts the validity of the warrant into murky waters. In the legal response to the warrant issued by Gawker, the parent company of Gizmodo, the company is calling for immediate return of the items seized, saying that they fall into the protections granted to journalists.

end quote

There's more to it.

This is not about protecting a source, but about gathering the legal evidence, allowed under the law, about the commission of a crime. I'm glad they're doing this, as it's about time the media people realised they are NOT above the law. They commited a crime of buying stolen goods, and should be prosecuted for it. If the police and DA take this to the limit, we may see a reduction of the cases of the media paying people for stolen property to make a story, even stolen information.

However, we can expect the media to muddy the waters to try and crawl out of the light and back under their rocks.

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Journalist vs Thief

by GSG In reply to Gizmodo iPhone - update - ...

I agree with you D.E.

If he was just writing a story about this rumored iPhone then yes, I could see that this was a pure journalistic endeavor. However, the point is that the phone was stolen/sold in an illegal act (corporate espionage?).

If we take an analogy all out of proportion, if I were to murder someone, and then write a story about it, then am I a journalist who's protected, or a murderer who is really stupid?

I vote for stupid murderer, just like I vote for this guy to be an iDIOT iPHONE iTHIEF who deserves what he gets.

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by AnsuGisalas In reply to Journalist vs Thief

The whole thing.
Either the guy who lost the phone got detailed using inside information, or he was in on it.
Whoever took the phone seems to have known already what it was, and who to contact about it.
Obviously the paid amount is peanuts, so hurting apple must have played a role. Especially since a competitor would happily pay a lot more, with no disclosure and so less risk of getting caught. Cell phones get stolen all the time, and I guess not many of them are ever heard of again.
Who knows, maybe the target of the thing was the person contacted about returning the phone. Someone might have known that person would not admit to Apple making mistakes, and so give a very bad impression.

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Just a few facts

by Kenone In reply to Gizmodo iPhone - update - ...

I know people like you just despise them.
A. The phone in question was left behind in a bar and found by some else, NOT stolen.
B. The person who found the phone contacted Apple multiple times in an effort to return it. Was told by Apple employees that it was not theirs, that it was most probably a cheap Chinese knockoff, ie: counterfeit.
C. The phone was returned to Apple after they requested it back, this after denying that it was theirs on multiple occasions.
So, what do we now know about the above posters? EEww not very nice.

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It still doesn't matter...

by cmiller5400 In reply to Just a few facts

The phone was NOT the guy's property to sell to Gizmodo. Period. Doesn't matter if he attempted to contact Apple or not. He had no legal right to ownership of the phone.

A: Just because you found it doesn't mean that you OWN it.

B: Even after attempting to contact the owner, you still are required to report to the police that you found it, and they may even go so far to have you post a "found" ad in the local paper, and then you still have to wait a predetermined set of time before the property becomes yours.

C: So what if they "denied" that it was theirs; the right person apparently was not contacted.

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by dcolbert Contributor In reply to It still doesn't matter.. ...

If that *is* the case, it is unreasonable.

If I find your wallet in a bar, and try to hand it to you, and you slur back to me, "Tha' ain muhyyyy wallet... bhuuuuddy..."

And I show you your drivers license and you say, "I don't know what you're talking about, that isn't me..."

I shouldn't have any obligation to go out of my way to provide the wallet to the police and/or post a found ad for the wallet.

That is part of the problem. The law may *say* otherwise, but it is unreasonable and illogical. It caters to you being too incapable of accepting your own wallet back and protects the slowest animals in the herd.

If the guy called Apple and tried to make good and Apple refused to talk to him, and then he sold the item to Gawker, and Gawker returned the item immediately...

There is very little evidence of anything but the fact that it was Apple being a dumbass that caused this story to break.

Every problem here can be traced back, if you believe the stories, to Apple acting stupid. Letting a 4G prototype out of the lab and into a bar with an engineer who evidently can't handle his drink. Refusing to accept the item back as Apple property when it was attempted to be returned.

Where is Apple's culpability in this? They had ample chance, it looks like, at several points, to avoid this fiasco, but their OWN action and inaction led to the ultimate scenario where the story broke.

Seems to me Apple would have been better off to just quietly mop this up and let it quietly die, rather than to continue to drive it and keep in in the press. When you think about it, Apple looks pretty darned stupid after all the dust from this has settled.

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Wouldn't be a problem.

by cmiller5400 In reply to Unreasonable...

I don't drink; therefore I am never drunk. ]:)

I agree this thing has blown WAY out of hand. Time to let it die.

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Another fact

by GSG In reply to Just a few facts

Gizmodo admitted that they paid someone for the phone, which means that they knew what it was before they paid for it.

I don't buy the story that some poor guy "lost" the phone.

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by Kenone In reply to Another fact

if a media outlet "Pays" for photos then that means that they knew in advance that they were "Shopped"?

You're from Missouri? Do you watch TV? That "poor guy" has been on admitting that he left the phone.
Prolly gonna get canned too.

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Yep the "Show Me" State where our state animal is the Mule

by GSG In reply to So

Yes, I'm from Missouri. I just don't believe he lost the phone. Maybe someone stole the phone, but if he's an apple employee, and someone called and said they found his lost phone, and would he like it back, would he really tell them no?

Maybe I'm just cynical, but I think he sold the phone to Gizmodo, and is trying to cover himself by saying he lost it, or else someone stole it from him and sold it, and there are lies about whoever trying to return it.

As far as watching TV, I watch Cardinals baseball, Chuck, Mythbusters, and the science channel. Not once has this been mentioned during my TV time.

If he did lose it, and then refused its returned, he deserves to be canned. If it was stolen, then not so much unless he was not supposed to remove it from the Apple campus. If he sold it himself, then he deserves to be fired, and should have theft charges filed against him. All around, it just sounds like a cluster.

edited for bad spelling and bad punctuation

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So I found a Air Force

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to So

Nuclear Bomb and when I rang them they denied owning it. They said that it was probably a Fake put out there too cause alarm and fright. Not to mention that I was drunk at the time because I found it in a Bar and the girl on the other end of the phone who was the answering their general phone number didn't believe me. She went as far to threaten me that if I didn't stop calling she would report this to the police and have me arrested. Even then I didn't stop and the police after being told of the complaint didn't respond in the 3 nanoseconds that I allowed them to before hightailing it out of there. :0

So do I now have the right to sell it to Osama? I know that he wants one and so much the better if it's a US Nec. He can return it to one of your major cities and show them how it works.

The Company here paid $5,000.00 for a non working incomplete Mobile Phone which is far beyond the cost of any Mobile so they knew exactly what it was that they had bought, and they knew that the person that they bought it from had no right to sell it.

More importantly they never ran this Past Legal so they are getting exactly what it is that they deserve. If you do the crime you have to be prepared to do the time.


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