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The iPhone saga gets even more interesting...

It looks as though Gizmodo and Gawker Media has just landed themselves in hot water. Last week's scoop on the fourth generation iPhone brought the site massive page views and coverage on CNN, the Today Show, and even The View.

However, as we noted last last week, law enforcement in the Silicon Valley area are investigating the details surrounding how the iPhone was lost and Gizmodo's $5,000 transaction to retrieve said phone. Today, Gizmodo snuck in a tiny headline on its frontpage that shows that editor Jason Chen had a few visitors to his home on Friday night:

Last Friday night, California's Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team entered editor Jason Chen's home without him present, seizing four computers and two servers. They did so using a warrant by Judge of Superior Court of San Mateo. According to Gaby Darbyshire, COO of Gawker Media LLC, the search warrant to remove these computers was invalid under section 1524(g) of the California Penal Code.

According to Chen's account of the events, the police bashed down his door while he was out. By the time he arrived at home, the police had already been there for a few hours and were well into cataloging his electronic possessions. In total, the task force seized 19 items from Chen's home including his MacBook, a ThinkPad laptop, MediaSmart server, a few external hard drives, two USB thumb drives, digital cameras, and an iPod.

The Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team is looking for email communications, call records, contact lists, text messages, and any other material relating to the sale of the iPhone 4G.

While the fourth generation iPhone saga has been detailed here on DailyTech in a few articles, you can see Gizmodo's coverage here. The full subpoena along with Gizmodo's response can be seen here.

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By inighthawki on 4/26/2010 6:04:44 PM , Rating: 5
Talk about an overkill reaction for purchasing supposedly stolen hardware. Damn they act like the guy murdered someone. I don't see why any action beyond giving the device back and maybe a small fine was in order.

RE: Overkill
By ekv on 4/26/2010 6:08:42 PM , Rating: 2
Black boots and helicopters right around the corner...? Amazing.

RE: Overkill
By chagrinnin on 4/26/2010 10:42:34 PM , Rating: 5
The Gestapple are coming! The Gestapple are coming! :0

RE: Overkill
By PandaBear on 4/26/2010 6:09:22 PM , Rating: 5
What a waste of my tax dollar. Get the cops to write red light tickets or catching thugs should be the priority rather than protecting Steve's bragging right.

RE: Overkill
By DM0407 on 4/26/2010 6:13:32 PM , Rating: 5
Very true. This comes out of the pockets of everyone here in 'Amer-ka'.

Have we broke down the doors of the CEO's at Goldman Sachs?

RE: Overkill
By thepalinator on 4/26/10, Rating: 0
RE: Overkill
By ekv on 4/26/2010 6:47:20 PM , Rating: 4
Has the White House returned Goldman Sachs million dollar campaign contributions?

It'd be nice if law enforcement agencies would do just that, enforce the law, instead of viewing porn and getting by with a slap on the wrist.

Or bust the muslim punk from Houston that "honor" killed his daughter and fled jurisdiction.

The special task force is nice to have, but perhaps they ought to focus more on nailing the asses of Internet kiddie porn-types, than doing the DEA-style number on Gizmodo. Simply serving the subpoena would've been sufficient.

RE: Overkill
By jconan on 4/27/2010 11:49:05 PM , Rating: 2
Would this be considered malfeasance then? The Supreme Court and the police are enacting the improper code. Knowingly it wasn't even reported stolen. 2nd it's not even trade secret as Apple had stated that it was Japanese fake unfortunately it couldn't be recorded on the phone without breaking consent to record. All this sounds quite dubious and a strong hand of malfeasance.

RE: Overkill
By Tony Swash on 4/26/2010 7:36:56 PM , Rating: 2
What a waste of my tax dollar. Get the cops to write red light tickets or catching thugs should be the priority rather than protecting Steve's bragging right.

Do you think that journalists should be able to buy stolen industrial secrets and then publish them for gain with no legal redress? Doesn't sound like a some thing we should tolerate to me.

If it was a Microsoft's industrial secret that had been stolen I would have been amused but I would also have perfectly understood the need for legal action to deal with the situation. Just because I don't like a company doesn't mean I thinks its OK to commit crimes against them.

RE: Overkill
By inighthawki on 4/26/2010 9:09:20 PM , Rating: 2
Oh gee, what a huge secret, a brand new iphone, complete with almost the same specs as every other iphone with a few features tossed in to make people think it's worth paying an additional $500. Let's be honest here, industry or not and secret or not, it's just a piece of hardware and it really isn't special. Should he be punished? Yes. Should they be going through this extreme? No.

I could be making the new latest and greatest gadget in my basement but if I lose it in a bar and someone prints the details of it, the police would likely laugh at me if I asked to do anything more than sue them for damages. Hardly grounds for raiding someone's house and taking tons of personal data in an effort to see if he ever mentions the new iphone...

RE: Overkill
By screamlordbyron on 4/26/2010 9:33:10 PM , Rating: 3
Actually, the fact that Apple let this phone out into the wild probably, on its face defeats most expectation of trade secret protection.

Also, the phone was not stolen, it was lost or abandoned. Thus it is unlikely that there is a prosecutable conspiracy.

Also, the search warrant which was executed appears to have been contrary to California law.

Finally, there have, as of yet been no charges brought against Mr. Chen of Gawker Media. It is very possible that there is not intent to bring charges against them related to their possession of the phone, unless perhaps it appears that they did something further, such as retained a coned copy of the firmware, etc.

In short, the rhetoric is more than a bit overblown here.

RE: Overkill
By porkpie on 4/26/2010 9:46:37 PM , Rating: 2
"Apple let this phone out into the wild probably..."

Giving your software engineers the product to test is not "letting it out in the wild", even if they take it off premises.

"the phone was not stolen, it was lost or abandoned."

It was not abandoned. And lost property is still the property of the owner, except in certain cases where that owner cannot be determined.

"Also, the search warrant which was executed appears to have been contrary to California law."

Possibly. However, that only affects the evidence that was seized. It's not a universal "get out of jail free card" for Gizmodo, or the person who sold them the phone.

RE: Overkill
By samspqr on 4/27/2010 6:26:16 AM , Rating: 2
lost property is NOT still property of the owner if you offer to give it back and get dismissed

which is what happened

RE: Overkill
By Chocobollz on 4/26/2010 8:46:06 PM , Rating: 2
Hint: don't screw with Apple if you don't want to lose your Jobs! ;-)

RE: Overkill
By michal1980 on 4/26/2010 11:36:28 PM , Rating: 2
on the other hand how much 'work' are these cops doing?

Its not like they had to look to find who ended up with the phone.

Giz told the world they had 'stolen' property.

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh

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