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April 26, 2010

Police seize computers from Gizmodo editor

Posted: 05:34 PM ET

The Gizmodo-iPhone saga continues.

Gizmodo, the technology blog that recently published details about Apple's next-generation iPhone after paying $5,000 to get its hands on the device, posted documents today showing that police raided one of its editor's homes.

A search warrant posted by Gizmodo says police on Friday seized computers, cameras, hard drives, business cards and computer servers from the home of Jason Chen, the site's editor who last week published details about Apple's unreleased smartphone.

The warrant, issued by a judge in California's San Mateo County, says police were able to raid Chen's home because they had reason to believe his computers were used to commit a felony. The warrant makes specific reference to the unreleased iPhone 4 and gives police the authority to look for e-mails and other documentation related to the gadget.

Gawker Media, which owns Gizmodo, published a statement saying the raid was unlawful because of journalistic protections. Chen works from home, so his house should be protected as newsrooms are, the statement says.

In an account posted on Gizmodo, Chen says he returned home from dinner to find police searching his house.

Chen, who apparently has not been arrested or charged with a crime, says his door was kicked down as part of the search.

For background, you can find Gizmodo's account of how the blog acquired the unreleased iPhone here.

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Filed under: Apple • iPhone


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KC   April 27th, 2010 11:03 am ET

@TechLaw:

That trade secrets statute states that you need to be employed by the principal or employer who owns the product. Gizmodo doesn't work for Apple. Also that would still be only a misdemeanor and the search warrant was for a felony charge.


TechLaw   April 27th, 2010 11:04 am ET

@David-

Gizmodo makes money off people coming to their blog?

(b) Every person is guilty of theft who, with intent to deprive or
withhold the control of a trade secret from its owner, or with an
intent to appropriate a trade secret to his or her own use or to the
use of another, does any of the following:

Doesn't matter if you're Google doing this or Gizmodo. "EVERY PERSON"...media should follow the rules as well.


quitwhining   April 27th, 2010 11:10 am ET

To every one who is bashing apple over this, get a clue. If you made your living developing and selling products, you wouldn't want your prototype being stolen and illegally sold. No, apple is not crying, nor are they being overbearing. Do you not think that any other company would have done the same thing?


TechLaw   April 27th, 2010 11:11 am ET

Well at least now we know it probably wasn't a publicity stunt.


Mike   April 27th, 2010 11:21 am ET

Well.... onto legal technilicalities... Mr. Chen was not guilty of theft.. IF.... he can provide a written receipt otherwise known as a "Bill Of Sale." That relieves him of legal obligation of where it came from, and puts the crime on the seller. And I agree, if Mr. Chen can provide a pay stub with his home address as his workplace, then it should have protections as with any other news agency. I wonder if the Apple employee is gonna get this much publication.......


jimmy   April 27th, 2010 11:22 am ET

why is california in so much debt again? why is the state dying slowly?


jimmy   April 27th, 2010 11:24 am ET

the police cannot assume it was stolen, unless someone said hey...this was mine and it was stolen. think people, then type. i thought this was left in a bar? isnt that what an apple employee claimed? now the cops act as if it is stolen property. so my question is why are the cops involved if someone claimed they lost something?


F16   April 27th, 2010 11:29 am ET

Apple lovers, maybe you should check this...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/ynews_ts1795


Lou   April 27th, 2010 11:32 am ET

The irony. Gizmodo has always been the epicenter for Apple fanboi cloning, then to have the company it so faithfully represents turn on them? lol

Hope your iPad's work in prison boys.


Zach   April 27th, 2010 11:45 am ET

Wow these guys from gizmodo either stumbled on a gold mine or are involved a growing publicity stunt for apple, in any case apple is going to get some serious press because time to buy upapple stock i think so!


Bubba   April 27th, 2010 11:48 am ET

I kinda thought 'left it in a bar' was a bit too convenient. IF these bozos paid someone to pick a developer's pocket, they deserve to get slammed. They can claim the information wanted to be free, and anyway it was asking for it dressing like that.


svscnn   April 27th, 2010 11:56 am ET

1. Mr. Chen paid $5k for what any "reasonable" person should have at least suspected was stolen property. Stupid Move & Felony #1.

2. Mr. Chen posted details about an unreleased, illegally obtained piece of technology, knowingly (operative word here) violating Apple's rights regarding trade secrets. Stupid Move & Felony #2

3. Gizmodo lauded Mr. Chen & themselves for their cleverness – worldwide, provoking the ramifications we just read about. Stupid Move #3.

Reaping what they've sown... Priceless.


Nick   April 27th, 2010 12:14 pm ET

Buy an Apple product and help destroy Freedom of Press...

At least you'll look cool doing it...


Adolph   April 27th, 2010 12:17 pm ET

Sieg Heil! Steve Jobs. Sieg Heil!


gvii   April 27th, 2010 12:18 pm ET

I call bull on Woomaster's interpretation. The police would not have gotten involved at all if Apple hadn't done some prodding of their own. We've seen things like this happen countless times, and while they may end in a civil courtroom, it was never a police matter.


Brian   April 27th, 2010 12:19 pm ET

I recently became an Apple customer, buying a new macbook pro and a new I pod. I will be returning them today and will NEVER purchase another Apple product.

Just how much political power does apple have that they have the power to have govermental agencies do their bidding by illegially invading his home.

Maybe it is our Supreme Court at work, after all they struck down all the political reform laws, So maybe Apple is now buying judicial seats so they can expand their Apple Empire!


LLBD   April 27th, 2010 12:24 pm ET

It all has to do with Intellectual property. Especially if items have either just been released (which have patents) or properties that have not yet been released, therefore, the still in beginning stages of development and production. If you designed a product, wouldn't you want to protect your product from others trying to cash in on YOUR work???


krehator   April 27th, 2010 12:25 pm ET

Wow... It is a strange equal justice we have in this country. If a big company accessed your computer illegally ( which they do all the time), and you called the cops to report it, they would tell you to call the BBB after they laughed at you.

The law is ONLY enforced in favor of big business in this country. The United States is bought and paid for.


the bob   April 27th, 2010 12:25 pm ET

First it was not the police that they were radid by it was The Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT), a Silicon Valley high-technology task force. Apple did not report the theft it was the guy who lost the phone. If you read the story on the News site that posted it yesterday they have more info on this story. The DA has not even been involved yet the task force that is handling this looks at the basic theft but by posting the info that Gizmodo did they also broke a few laws that they wont be able to hide behind the freedom of the press.


krehator   April 27th, 2010 12:26 pm ET

BTW: How many people have their cars and home robbed every day???? DO the cops do a raid for them?? Heck they don't even bother to investigate it.. Double standard.


Jim H   April 27th, 2010 12:32 pm ET

i bet in some dark, dank cobwebbed dungeon deep underground somwhere, a sinister and deformed RIAA agent is rubbing his yellowed, liver spotted claw nailed hands together wondering how to get that kind of response from the police against illegal downloaders....

besides that, i am amused how the Apple Corp is sooooo protective of their cult daring to even cite "truth", "fairness", "logic", and "legality". all those seem in rather short supply when applied to non-Apple products.

Micro$oft indeed!


GonzoG   April 27th, 2010 12:45 pm ET

UNACCEPTABLE!

This is the SECOND POLICE RAID on JOURNALISTS this MONTH.

UNACCEPTABLE!

You #($)@%% can have my pen when you #($)% pry it from my cold dead fingers.

CNN! YOU SHOULD BE SURROUNDING THE WHITE HOUSE, CAPITOL HILL, AND THE SUPREME COURT WITH JOURNALISTS AND DEMAND ANSWERS!

If you don't, YOU and every other news outlet in the nation will end up being a FAX number that spews government propaganda.


S Durnin   April 27th, 2010 12:59 pm ET

What's the big problem with the police taking Chen's computers and perhaps disassembling them? They'll be returned. No harm done.


Lost and Found   April 27th, 2010 1:06 pm ET

Everybody should read the CA law on lost property (section 2080)
The phone would only be considered stolen had Gizmodo not posted it online. The fact that the posted it online shows an attempt to find the original owner, starting the 90 day clock CA law gives the owner to claim lost property (note there is no law against posting pictures on the internet in the attempt to find the original owner). Also the phones owner could have been an individual and not Apple (and may have been worth $200 in which case Gizmodo would have over paid). Once Apple claimed the property by CA law Gizmodo can request reasonable expenses for storage of the device and Apple would have to pay. By claiming it stolen they are no longer required to pay those expenses (read loophole). Gizmodo was nice enough to return the device without charging Apple for the cost of storage and effort in finding the owner.
Also there is no law against buying lost property, its only stone had Gizmodo not attempted to find the original owner.
Those who are using trade secret law... you have to realize that Gizmodo would have to know by looking at the phone that it was this include opening the device to determine ownership 1) truly a new type of phone and not just a currently available version of an iPhone and 2) that it was not a knock off.
Once Apple claimed the device and claimed original ownership, they should have offered Gizmodo a large sum of money to sign an NDA and return the phone. Gizmodo was nice enough to return the phone, and from what i can tell did not charge the legally allowed storage fees. Because they did not sign and NDA and the phone was lost and the original owner was found the pictures are still property of Gizmodo and they can do with them as they please. Here is the key, if they sold the pictures (which would be nearly impossible) Apple would have all the patents to the products and if anybody wanted to replicate they would have to pay Apple to either use the patent or find a new way of doing it.


CamRonD   April 27th, 2010 1:21 pm ET

Yeah, the people blaming Apple & the D.A., police, whatever... get a clue. It's a well known fact that Apple guards these things with... someone's life.
It's bad that it got out there, however I don't quite believe the story about Gizmodo buying it from some guy who found it in a bar who tried to contact Apple. It sounds like Giz is trying to save their butts.
Once Gizmodo discovered it was legitimately an Apple product, THEY should have contacted Apple asking "Do you want this back?"
And paying 5000 for a phone you're not sure is the real deal? Puh-lease.


Dan S   April 27th, 2010 1:27 pm ET

@LLBD – wouldn't you want to protect your product from others trying to cash in on YOUR work???

Yes, I would. I wouldn't lose my phone in the first place. It is not a crime to find a lost phone. It is not a crime to buy a lost phone. It is not a crime to rent a lost phone so you can open it up and take a look at what makes it tick.

Property law is simple. The finder of lost property has superior rights to found property over everyone except the lawful owner. The finder of this lost property actually contacted the lawful owner and the owner did not believe they had lost it. The finder (i.e. the interim owner) was then free to do whatever he wanted with the property. When the true owner realized their mistake/ignorance, they contacted the finder and the lost property was returned. No law was broken...

...until the illegal warrant was issued.


briggs   April 27th, 2010 1:35 pm ET

One las comment. About people citing laws and so forth. I think the apple lawyers who not only had gone through law school, but were good enough to get a job at a multi billion dollar company know where they stand in the law on this one.


J2   April 27th, 2010 1:40 pm ET

@CamRonD The device was not misplaced by Apple, but by an employee away from work. So there is no way Gizmodo could have known that it was a product directly associated with Apple.... So what you are saying is, if you found, say a Motorola Droid, you would contact Motorola directly? And just as "Lost and Found" said, it is not illegal to buy lost property and with Gizmodo's posting of it online is an attempt to find the rightful owner...... I guess what I'm trying to say is people such as "CamRonD" who are paranoid that everyone is out to get Apple needs to wake up and look at the facts.


J2   April 27th, 2010 1:42 pm ET

@Dan S, If only these people would understand.


M   April 27th, 2010 1:47 pm ET

@mike: Want your door kick down....there's an app for that.

I am laughing so loud and my belly is hurting....


marica j   April 27th, 2010 1:47 pm ET

wow im only a junior but did he rlly steal it or did he buy it cus im really confused on why hes being searched and why he had to have ghis door kicked down...and why did or how did he commit a felony??????


A GG   April 27th, 2010 1:54 pm ET

If this turns out to be a fact that the raid was indeed carried out. I will surrender my iPhone and all Apple products. Steve Jobs, grow up! The phone was lost by careless behavior and not stolen. Where are the reporters rights here. I hope the iphone was not located...


rushy79   April 27th, 2010 2:29 pm ET

Interesting...... well if he is doing something illegal he deserves it. =p
But ok....


Yoda   April 27th, 2010 2:57 pm ET

"Hey officer, come over here and restrain this human. He's squirming too much and thus violating my corporate right to screw him."


truestar   April 27th, 2010 3:03 pm ET

If I find out that it was Apple that did this, I will sell all 3 of the iphones on my calling plan and never buy another apple product for myself or anyone else ever again.


Dave   April 27th, 2010 3:08 pm ET

Apple sits on the panel that runs this cyber crime task force in CA, so it's not just a police action gone amok. There were insufficient grounds for the warrant, and any evidence collected is likely inadmissible.

As such, the police are liable for any damages.


JG   April 27th, 2010 3:08 pm ET

Did it even occur to any of you Apple haters that perhaps the person who owned the phone reported it stolen to the police after finding his/her phone plastered all over Gizmodo's site? Gizmodo and Mr. Chen committed a crime, Apple did not.


Cowbell   April 27th, 2010 3:14 pm ET

No one seems to take notice that Apple voluntarily allowed an employee to leave Apple corporate premises with a device that was worth millions. The employee then lost the item at a bar. Apple denied it was theirs at first. When Gizmodo asked Apple if it was theirs, they finally said yes, and Gizmodo gave it back (without charge). I believe that Gizmodo did everything asked by law.


C   April 27th, 2010 3:50 pm ET

whether you agree or disagree with the $5k paid for access to the device, or the publishing of the 'intellectual property' online, zoom out and decide whether you agree with a search warrent that violates the law, and the fact that it was not only sought after, but signed by a judge.

We are not Apple's army of consumers. Our tax paid police force is not Apple's tool to use in investigating their own internal issues. We do not have to take a stance against ourselves and our peers in favor of a corporation who's privacy protection restrictions don't allow users to play itunes purchased media in any other player.

They are a company who restricts their own consumers use of product, in order to shield against copyright infringement, and yet we as consumers are in support of a police force breaking down our doors and taking our property if they feel like the corporation's profit has been threatened...


sftommy   April 27th, 2010 4:07 pm ET

APPLE is guilty of "GROSS NEGLIGENCE" in controlling their own product development, that is the only crime here. Petty of the APPLE Execs to play out their own self-recriminations against a journalist. Judge Roberts' Supreme Court rulings say corporations are more necessary than people anyway.


Dmarch   April 27th, 2010 4:47 pm ET

To those of you who think this is a publicity stunt by Apple, please seek professional help. This would be a really stupid and non-productive way to get attention for a device that already has enough buzz about it..

To those of you who think a crime has not been committed, you may feel that way but the law is written differently. Gizmodo purchased something they did not own and was the property of someone else. They chose to spend $5,000 to get it, then took it apart and then broadcast their "findings" on their website.

Whether or not the search warrant was legal, that is in fact separate from the crime of purchasing stolen material, which at this particular point seems to be what happened, Gizmodo has in fact plastered that fact all over their site.

People keep saying that Chen and Gizmodo didnt know it was stolen, well they certainly wouldnt have offered that much money to something they were sure wasnt real. If they didnt think they committed a crime why was Gizmodo legal counsel preparing Mr. Chen for a possible seizure?

And lastly to put it in perspective. If you were at a bar and found a watch, wouldn't you turn it in to the manager so they could be contacted by the owner?

If the guy in the bar who found it had done that in the first place, none of this would have happened.


klowe007   April 27th, 2010 4:47 pm ET

Lol...that'll teach'em, don't F" with Apple!


Mandy   April 27th, 2010 5:29 pm ET

Was a crime committed? Maybe, the issue of lost vs. stolen is open to appreciation.

Was the police respond out of proportion? Well, depends on who you ask. Poll anyone who had their phone (or computer, or car, or purse, or lawnmower) and they will tell you that, no, the police should ALWAYS track down the criminals, barge it their home and take everything! That was MY stuff they took and they should get hell for it.

Now, face the reality and go report a stolen phone, just to see what happens, how long it takes for you to get it back, and how many policeman will ACTUALLY pay attention to your misery.... Then tell me again that big-money-huge-pull Apple did not ask for this!


Freedom Lover   April 27th, 2010 5:40 pm ET

After years as a MS guy, I have finally gotten used to Apple and was literally planing on going out to buy an iPad this weekend after spending last weekend online looking.

I am officially an Apple hater. Apple determines whether the police pursue this or not.

I am surprised because most people who love Apple unconditionally also love the first amendment. If I were Apple, I would PREVENT this from happening with all my power. Apple loses a lot of credibility for this even if they didn't order it.

I guess we all love the first amendment until that one time it doesn't make life easier for us. Its sad because this small personal interest can take a huge chunk out of the protections generations of Americans have fought and died for.

Down deep, Apple is a big business and Steve Jobs is a neo-con just like all big businesses are.

Really Steve? With all the publicity a leak like this gave you? You have to come down so hard on a protected journalist?

Get out of the business. Go die with dignity, or proove your worth by coming out in favor of the journalist and against the neo-con jack booted thugs who broke into this guys office.

The most recent Supreme Court nominations will be all over this. This is a fundamental shift in the freedoms that have kept this country together for so long. We are on a downhill trend when we see things like this happen.


Paul   April 27th, 2010 5:49 pm ET

Anyone who thinks Steve Jobs can just snap his finger and get the police to investigate and kick someone's door, jeez are serious? STEVE JOBS COULD'NT EVEN GET THE LOCAL CITY COUNCIL TO ALLOW HIM TO DEMOLISH THE OLD HOUSE HE OWNS. AND HE'S BEEN TRYING FOR YEARS! I REPEAT HE COULDN'T EVEN GET THE "LOCAL" CITY COUNCIL TO DEMOLISH HIS OWN HOUSE. HIS OWN HOUSE! Steve Jobs doesn't have an influence on the DA and the police any more than you and me.


Franko   April 27th, 2010 5:55 pm ET

   
After trust in government has been lost - govern by fear.
Is this a black operation event ?


Ronnie   April 27th, 2010 5:58 pm ET

I hope Chen sues these morons!


John   April 27th, 2010 6:08 pm ET

I know it to be true that the police and lawyers that approved the warrant did not even think that they were conducting an illegal search. They were more concerned with making Steve Jobs happy.


S Durnin   April 27th, 2010 6:09 pm ET

I was planning on buying an iPad before this happened.
Now I'm buying ten iPads.


Taco   April 27th, 2010 6:22 pm ET

number one...he didn't have the product in question. He sent it back to Apple last week. So the search was not for stolen property people! #2 It was all apple and jobs wanted to rough this dude up after finding out that chen reverse engineered the device and posted details about it's new developments......that's why they took his computers and cameras. That being said, apple sucks.....their products suck, and customer service is mediocre at best. I have relatives that work for apple, so I've got products from them, but EVERY device that I have bought I've had to have repaired at least once. Screw apple, GO GOOGLE!


GEEKS MENTALITY   April 27th, 2010 6:25 pm ET

YOu people are so dumb and part of this geekery that is Chen and all his ilk.

Pathetic for you to "hate" Steve Jobs or say you're not buying an iPad now, ridiculous. Ridiculous. This is not Apple snapping their fingers, please. Grow the hell up.

You will do what you want, but this happened, this raid, because the LOCAL POLICE realized there was something AMISS in this problem. The stories were not adding up, there was probable cause to look into it and in order to outsmart tech-nerds like this, you have to move quick.

At the core of this is ethics and professionalism.

Some of you say, oh, well the police has real criminals to chase after, but a geek in a tech gossip blog and all the others around him, have to also be investigated. It does not exonerate them from persecution or nor are they ABOVE THE LAW.

Tech geeks are not some untouchable soc.ial tech-class that can getaway with breaking any laws.

If you didn't like what WallStreet was doing, then you should also have an issue with GEEKS thinking they can evade and break laws or rewrite them.

You, who criticize Apple need to really think out your own values, you're illogical and overzealous about anything. And this is very good indicator you may be a geek.

At a snap of a finger YOU suddenly think that by stopping buying Apple products you will get one up on them. Trust me, Apple will continue to innovate and then you're going to be left behind. Get real.


jono   April 27th, 2010 6:39 pm ET

just to get the air clear, chen bought the iphone, maybe he knew it was "stolen", maybe he didnt. what matters is that there was no way of being sure if it was stolen so if he bought it, he is not liable. Do you expect police to raid your house if you buy items at a garage sale? i dont think so. And pawn shops? If they buy stolen property, they are only liable for the item and the police ASK for the information reguarding the person who SOLD it to them. i cant remember the last time i heard about police ransacking PawnStars shop after they accidently bought an item and RETURNED IT. What is going on here has no legal basis what so ever. If you look atthe item as stolen property, well didnt Chen ask apple if it was theirs and they said "uhhh hmmm not possible, must be fake",? How can police justify "his computers were used to commit a felony" if LEGALY speaking, there wasnt one? He asked apple it if was theirs, they said no, so of course he wants to fool around with it and do what ever he wants with it, if he bought property, legaly it is his. just like a pawnshops items are theirs until otherwise notified about. I dont even know how this happens, the californian legal system is already crooked. Where is the actual justice in this?


lolapple   April 27th, 2010 6:56 pm ET

Apple Nazi's FTL. Will they make us get tatoos and start burning books again? I can't believe these facists jackals. And I can't believe these fanboys that defend them. WAKE UP ITS NOT TO LATE!


Gary   April 27th, 2010 7:39 pm ET

Sorry, purchasing an item that you know is not the legal property of that person is a crime. Then you are even more stupid to go on line and and boast about it, and profit from it.


JOSEPH   April 27th, 2010 7:42 pm ET

THIS IS BOGUS. CALI IS ALL SKREWED UP.. IF YOU CAN GET AWAY WITH KILLING NOTORIOUS BIG IN PLAIN SIGHT OF CALI NIGHTLIFE IM SURE GIZMODO WILL BE ALRIGHT...


krehator   April 27th, 2010 7:50 pm ET

I love how the business fanboys try to use ethics and morales to attack people who do wrong against businesses, when business cannot abide by the same standard with consumers. Deception, theft, invasion of privacy, and greed is a-okay for business conduct.

Stop supporting a double standard of law and morals, hypocrites!!!


haha   April 27th, 2010 7:56 pm ET

no matter which way you paint it, this is nothing more than the local police/DA flexing muscle. apple is more than likely fully aware of whats going on and probably initiated it. waste of taxpayers money, but hey look what state they are in? CA, the land of wasteful and frivilous spending. a robber or a drug dealer probably went free because this idiot district attorney has midterm elections coming up and wants to appear "tough on crime'

whatever you apple lemmings say won't matter. you will always have a rip off of the unix kernel as an os, a system you believe works because it's superiorly designed(not the fact that apple CONTROLS everything that is put on their systems has anything to do with it), over priced, under power pieces of junk. enjoy being ripped off. we could point to the fact that osx was cracked in 30 seconds at a security conference last year through safari, or that nobody bothers designing virus for mac because such a small population of users actually have mac's. but we'll save that for another story.


Top Posts — WordPress.com   April 27th, 2010 8:13 pm ET

[...] Police seize computers from Gizmodo editor The Gizmodo-iPhone saga continues. Gizmodo, the technology blog that recently published details about Apple's [...] [...]


TheOnlyKingArthur   April 27th, 2010 8:41 pm ET

Seems strange that if what Chen has done is so illegal, why hasn't he been charged with a crime yet? Why not arrested? Suspected felons get arrested, police don't let them wander the streets freely while they attempt to build a case. Apple is clearly trying to set an example for what happens when you mess with them. They already tried filing suit against bloggers revealing secrets in 2007 and failed, so this time they've set their own police dogs out to terrorize the journalist's property. Let's not forget this happened AFTER the phone was already returned. So what were they looking for? Obviously not the phone. If you're not charged with a crime, the police can't just arrive at your door and start taking stuff. Except in this case of course, since apparently this particular police force is in Apple's pocket. Apple pretends to be for the consumer, and they do a great job of convincing a handful of morons exactly that, but make no mistake Apple is just another greedy power hungry corporation.


iPreferAndroid   April 27th, 2010 9:43 pm ET

i still think this is an apple ploy. this story is fake. steve jobs sees that the i pad isnt selling so hes doing this just to keep people intrested in his probucts.


joe   April 27th, 2010 9:48 pm ET

how are the police wrong in this case? the guy buys stolen property. We should all be happy they raided his house. to claim journalistic protection is ridiculous. being a journalist doesnt give you the right ot break the law. don't pretend the phone wasn't stolen. what the bar employee did is text book theft.


Robert   April 27th, 2010 9:55 pm ET

Under California state law, Gizmodo broke the law. Second, the person who found the phone and sold it also broke the law. Really, the only issue here is the $5,000.

Under California law, Apple has 3 years to claim their property before it becomes property of the finder. The finder kept the phone for weeks, trying to sell it to the highest bidder. You are right, Apple did contact the police – to report it missing – long before it was purchased by Gizmodo. So, how did the original finder break the law? The original finder did not make a reasonable attempt to return it to Apple. They knew the name of the engineer who lost the phone (from the Facebook app on the phone). Apple's mailing address is not a secret (1 Infinite Loop). Second, even if the original finder was incapable of returning the phone, Gizmodo wasn't, and should have returned it immediately and without charge. No $5000.

This phone isn't a normal phone. This phone represents millions of dollars of research and development. You might be asking "why didn't Apple secure this phone better?" Well, how else do you test a telephone? You have to take it out into the real world.

How did Gizmodo break the law? They clearly knew they were buying stolen property. If you're buying a prototype of the next version of the iPhone, and you're not buying it from Apple, any reasonable person would expect that they are buying stolen property. Now, if it's not real, then it's not worth $5000. If it is real, then you're buying stolen property, and you can't buy it. Gizmodo determined that they believed that it was truely a stolen phone, and purchased it for $5000.


krehator   April 27th, 2010 10:54 pm ET

Apple shouldn't take it so personal. "it is just business". Morals dont apply in business, remember?


mastershredder   April 28th, 2010 12:32 am ET

I have been watching this whole thing with Gizmodo unfold for the last few days thinking, "how dumb can a new-gen technology publication get?", particularly one that depends upon smooth sailing waters with developers, publishers and manufactures involved in technology driven goods. I spent a few good years working for Apple and this was by far the the most foolish thing I have seen anyone do in order to get Apple news/rumors/leaks splattered on their home page and all over the web.

Obviously this was "sensitive" property and rather than directing their discovery to proper channels (which they totally know about, oh yes), they flaunt, decorate and dance. Talk about burning bridges for personal gain! Macosrumors and Apple insider (among some others) used to get their chops busted for leaking prototype prints/sketches, specs or sneaky hidden cam shots. It eventually resulted in Apple banning them from participating in events or being privy to Apple news/information. No site or news business ever went this far, particularly in this style. This is an awesome burning wreck that you just have to sit back and admire while it burns.


hyren   April 28th, 2010 12:45 am ET

geeks will fail:
You realize the entire reason Apple even has an iphone, hell, the reason you even have an internet to spout your drivel on is because of us "geeks". In fact, the entire tech industry would be a completely different thing without us. Do you see the irony of all this?
Geeks tend to be the innovators when it comes to these things. Without Bill Gates, who knows what PCs would be. Back in the day, Steve Jobs himself would likely have been classified as a geek. Without them, computers wouldn't be what they are today, and you wouldn't have your precious apple gadgets to play with, or your computer to type with. Think about that the next time you rail against us using a forum which was essentially created by us.


theAntiELVIS   April 28th, 2010 12:58 am ET

Hey, remember back in 1984 when Apple ran that ad proclaiming themselves the alternative to "Big Brother"? Guess what – a funny thing happened on the way to massive corporate success....


Arick   April 28th, 2010 1:08 am ET

Geeks will Fall, that is the most idiotic rant I have ever read.

You don't like geeks because they are far more intelligent than you. Accept this and maybe you will advance a bit as a human being.


Mr Guzz   April 28th, 2010 1:17 am ET

I was about to buy my very first Crapple product: the so call "iPhone 4G" or wherever .....now with all this BS: Jobs and the others cry babies doing. I am not planning to do buy it anymore.

I gonna try to stay as far away from Crapple products as possible.

I guess Adobe have the biggest laugh out of all this.....I am with them !


iPhone Prototype: Web Reacts to Police Raid on Gizmodo Editor’s House   April 28th, 2010 1:43 am ET

[...] Over at CNN, the tone is a bit different–commenters appear to be more interested in discussing whether or not Apple has gone too far–or if Apple is even to blame for the police's "Gestapo" tactics. [...]


Drew   April 28th, 2010 3:14 am ET

Chen did not pay $5000 for the phone but for exclusive rights to the story. Gizmodo had no intention in keeping the hardware, but made requests to Apple to officially confirm that this was their product so that it could be returned.

The question of whether the search and seizure was legal rests on whether the Gizmodo editor is considered a member of the press or a mere blogger.

Apple got great free press along with a soaring stock price after the Gizmodo expose. They should have maintained that good will instead of reacting in such a litigious manner.


greenteagod   April 28th, 2010 3:33 am ET

Schalken really has no clue how the legal system works. Maybe you've been asleep at the wheel for the last 10 too?


Rob   April 28th, 2010 4:55 am ET

I think the police have every right to do what they did, that Gizmodo idiot obviously knew what he had and the fact that he exploited it on the website for media attention is probably one of the dumbest moves ever. He should have tried harder to return the phone but instead he dug himself a hole that will only get bigger as the days go by. All you Apple/Steve Jobs haters sound like crazy immature kids, you think this is child's play? There is millions of dollars and a lot of hard work behind any product to be made, I don't think you'd be very happy if someone did the same to you in some way, shape or form. This isn't just Apple trying to get revenge, this is a legal matter and there are laws that protect products. The Gizmodo guy knew exactly what he had and paid lots of cash for it, just because it happened to be an Apple product doesn't make it okay to do what he did. Society thinks that with the internet, there are no more rules or boundaries and that people are free to do anything they want...wrong!


TBA   April 28th, 2010 6:30 am ET

@The W00Master, yea thats what Apple wants you to think, I bet apple is mad because data on this new phone has been leak instead of it being a rumour. Apple is a corp giant, they basically want you to conform to them. Look at all of their computers, if you want it to be repair you have to take it to a Apple speicalist, where a regular PC basically almost anyone can fix. Thats why PC is more prono to attacks because more SMARTER people us PC, than Macs which is over price paper weights.


gcbcman   April 28th, 2010 7:43 am ET

It is a crime to purchase STOLEN goods, not LOST goods. Gizmodo had no reason to believe that the phone had been stolen. The article says plainly that Apple contacted the police. Gizmodo's business is based on getting information first. They committed no crime. Would the police have come running if this had been an ordinary citizen's phone that was LOST and then showed up on the Internet somewhere? Please. They would laugh at you and tell you to keep better track of your phone.


hhm   April 28th, 2010 8:24 am ET

Even thieves show more respect than kicking down your door. In this day and age? Don't they have an app for that?


lilmoon   April 28th, 2010 10:10 am ET

Did anyone ever think Apple could have done this on purpose? perhaps to get national and international attention. I'm a huge Apple fan and supporter. Companies these days will "stop at nothing" to keep their slice of the pie (market)


Dave   April 28th, 2010 12:04 pm ET

It's a good thing they confiscated his business cards.

Wow. Can you imagine what would happen if those business cards had gotten out on our streets?

Imagine the chaos! Good work, California Police! You saved us from a potential business card disaster.


Vincent   April 28th, 2010 6:01 pm ET

Chen willingly was the buyer of what he knew to be stolen property in order to make 15 minutes of fame for himself as a "journalist." He was a part of a crime and therefore not under the journalist shield laws.

You don't pay $5000 to buy what you already know is not the sellers to sell. You don't pay $5000 to be a good samaritan and return Apple's stuff. You certainly don't pay $5000 to receive stolen goods, take the thing apart and write a story.

Guilty all the way around Chen and Gizmodo. Time to see some big penalties to come Gizmodo and Chens way.


Christian   April 29th, 2010 4:33 pm ET

gcbcman – it is a crime to purchase goods not owned by the seller, it is also illegal to sell goods you don't own. crimes all the way around.


nico   April 30th, 2010 12:32 am ET

You shouldn't bend the law and blame others for something you lost. I am getting a more negative impression of Apple with every release of their products especially the iPhone & iPad which these devices doesn't support flash.

Apple you such a losers!!!!!


Al   April 30th, 2010 12:41 am ET

Free Jason Chen. That's the man trying to hold you down!!!


الشرطة تداهم منزل المحرر ( جاسون ) بسبب IPhone 4G « Azzam's Blog   May 5th, 2010 3:01 pm ET

[...] المصدر : http://scitech.blogs.cnn.com/2010/04...izmodo-editor/ [...]


Jai's Laboratory » Blog Archive » JAILBROKEN : the CS5, the flash, and the iPhone   May 12th, 2010 7:17 am ET

[...] Flash in one way or another in my projects), they kick Mr. Chen's door down (gizmodo's prototype showdown.) , and now I'm "banned" for using the iPhone [...]


eagle   May 30th, 2010 12:49 am ET

Why isn't CNN reporting on ACTA? Do they have a pony in this race? My guess is that they support ACTA and know the public would rally against it if they knew the details so they leave us in the dark, so much for journalistic integrity.


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Today in Mobile — GigaOM Research   October 18th, 2013 5:51 pm ET

[...] the gadget and handed it over (or both). Regardless, the story has spread beyond the tech world into the mainstream media, so expect to hear plenty more about it as police continue their investigation this [...]


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Are you a gadgethead? Do you spend hours a day online? Or are you just curious about how technology impacts your life? In this digital age, it's increasingly important to be fluent, or at least familiar, with the big tech trends. From gadgets to Google, smartphones to social media, this blog will help keep you informed.

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