*

 

4.26.2010

authorities seize gizmodo blogger's equipment

By now, you've heard about the next-gen iPhone prototype that was lost by an Apple engineer, and eventually find its way into the hands of editors of the popular gadget blog Gizmodo: This Is Apple's Next iPhone.

Blogger Jason Chen's posts with photos and a description of the new iPhone became one of the site's most popular ever. Awesome scoop! The fact that Apple asked for the device back only confirmed that it was indeed the real thing. Gizmodo returned it, and everybody was excited.

But it doesn't end there: Lost iPhone Investigation: Gizmodo Editor Jason Chen's Home Searched And Computers Seized. Chen says the San Mateo County sheriff's deputies broke into his home Friday night with a search warrant and seized two dozens pieces of equipment -- computers, digital cameras, a cell phone and other items.
A computer-crime task force made up of multiple law enforcement agencies searched Gizmodo editor and blogger Jason Chen's house and car in Fremont, Calif., on Friday, according to a statement and search warrant documents provided by Gizmodo. The warrant, issued by a Superior Court judge in San Mateo County, said the computers and other devices may have been used to commit a felony. Steve Wagstaffe, spokesman for the San Mateo County District Attorney's office, confirmed the warrant's authenticity. Members of the Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team took several computers, hard drives, digital cameras, cell phones and other gadgets, plus Chen's American Express bill and copies of his checks.
Gizmodo's got all the documentation of the authorities' seizure of Chen's equipment: Police Seize Jason Chen's Computers. Gawker Media, which owns Gizmodo, says California's shield law, which protects journalists from having to turn over anonymous sources or unpublished material to law enforcement during a search, should apply to Chen's property.

The raid apparently came at the behest of a special multi-agency task force that was commissioned to work with the computer industry to tackle high-tech crimes... and Apple Inc. just happens to sit on the task force's steering committee. I suppose it was really naive for anyone to believe that Apple would just let this happen and move on. Nope. Steve Jobs doesn't play.