Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 26th Apr 2010 23:11 UTC, submitted by UglyKidBill
Legal Well, this is unexpected. The iPhone 4G saga just got a whole lot crazier - dare I say it, a whole lot more ridiculous. Have you ever reported anything like a phone or something similarly small stolen to the police? What was their reaction? Did you ever get the device back? Did they send an army of officers to get your device back? No? Odd. They raided Jason Chen's house, and took four computers and two servers. Update: And thus our true colours reveal. "The raid that San Mateo area cops conducted last week on the house of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen 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. sits on the task force's steering committee." Update II: According to TechCrunch, the investigation has been put on hold while the DA ponders Gizmodo's shield defence. Update III: Some legal insight from a constitutional law and first amendment expert and a law professor. The gist? The DA has said no one has been charged with anything here, making this just an investigation - however, this makes the search and seizing of material worse. "If the police are literally just gathering information, with no suspect targeted yet, then a subpoena against a journalist would have probably been smarter than a search warranted that resulted in the front door of Chen's home being bashed in."
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Comment by clhodapp
by clhodapp on Tue 27th Apr 2010 09:12 UTC
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When a company leaves their secrets laying around, they aren't really secrets anymore. They can't expect the general public (especially journalists) to help them cover their blunders up. How else could things be structured? We all know about the new iPhone now and some of us have probably told people that we know. Should we be searched under suspicion of disseminating Apple's trade secrets? There is no way to enforce a boundary on knowledge once it escapes the group of people that have actually agreed to keep it secret (without creating a dedicated group of secret police for the purpose). I have to say that I agree with Thom when he says that the only thing that Chen did wrong was to open the casing (it's definitely wrong to risk damage to other peoples' property, though I do think that this is more of a civil matter than a criminal one, since any damage to the unit caused by the case-opening could be fixed with money). As for Gawker paying for the scoop, I don't really have a problem with it as long as it doesn't somehow compromise the accuracy of the story (though it is a potentially expensive road for news outlets to go down). I strongly disagree with the idea that they were "buying stolen goods". It's more like they were buying the privilege to hold the prototype until its rightful owner reclaimed it (which he willingly let happen). That said, there could be more going on here than we know about, so it's probably good that an investigation is going on. It's just too bad that the police can't seem to understand that things would go smoother if they would address (and possibly act differently based upon) reasonable concerns with their actions from regular citizens. They demand absolute control of all aspects of the situation and won't take any suggestions from any one else (I think this is a result of the way that police are trained here in the U.S., as every officer I meet seems to act this way.).

Edited 2010-04-27 09:15 UTC

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