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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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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By screamlordbyron on 4/26/2010 9:40:59 PM , Rating: 3
Actually, it appears that perhaps you were the one to flunk civics, as well as "basic fact checking."

(1) The fact that Apple let this phone out into the wild probably, on its face defeats most expectation of trade secret protection.

(2) The phone was not stolen, it was lost or abandoned. Thus it is unlikely that there is a prosecutable conspiracy.

(3) The search warrant which was executed appears to have been contrary to California law, which excepts journalists from this type of search warrant.

(4) The police were aware the fact they improperly obtained a warrant against a journalist, as Gawker Media's COO and General Counsel had put the DA's office on notice earlier that day.

(5) 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.

While I'm not saying that Gizmodo was 100% above board here, most of this talk about criminal conspiracy, stolen trade secrets, etc. is way over the top. To the contrary, it appears that the police here knowingly violated California law in obtaining an improper warrant. The whole thing is one big ugly mess of bad (if not illegal) behavior on all sides.


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