Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 2nd Sep 2011 21:47 UTC
Apple So, I kind of mocked this story yesterday, but today an interesting twist has emerged which puts the story in an entirely different light. This week, CNet reported a story about how Apple is working with the San Francisco Police Department to retrieve a lost iPhone 5 prototype. The police and Apple apparently traced the phone to someone's house, and showed up on his doorstep, threatening him and his family. The only problem - the SFPD has no record of any house search or of the case in general - raising the question whether Apple employees falsely impersonated the SFPD, which happens to be a serious crime in California. Update: While I was busy sleeping, the story changed a little bit, but it's still far too shady. After conferring with Apple, the SFPD now states four police officers were involved, and that only the two Apple employees entered Calderon's house. However, Calderon had no idea these two were private non-police people, since he claims they did not identify themselves as Apple employees. Had he known, he would not have let them search his house. So, update or no, Apple employees still impersonated police officers, and issued threats to intimidate Calderon into letting them search his house - without a warrant. I don't understand how people can just accept this sort of behaviour. Don't you have rights in the US? Update II: Perfect summary.
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RE[5]: SFPD was involved
by kristoph on Sat 3rd Sep 2011 01:29 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: SFPD was involved"
kristoph
Member since:
2006-01-01

Actually it's not uncommon for the police to intervene in this manner.

One of the people that works for me had their house broken into and some laptops stolen. The buyer of the stolen laptop contacted them looking for the password. When they told her the laptop was stolen she offered to sell it back to them. They contacted the police and the police came with them to meet the seller and recover the laptop (and also arrest the seller for trafficking in stolen property).

So having the Police assist you in recovering stolen property is not the weird. Having the police facilitate the search of a suspects house by corporate employees is what's weird about this.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: SFPD was involved
by WereCatf on Sat 3rd Sep 2011 02:49 in reply to "RE[5]: SFPD was involved"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

So having the Police assist you in recovering stolen property is not the weird. Having the police facilitate the search of a suspects house by corporate employees is what's weird about this.


That's what I was wondering about: the police should have clearly indicated that the Apple employees were not police forces and that the person in the story could have just said "no" when asked for permission to enter.

While the Apple employees didn't do anything wrong in terms of the law they too still crossed the amoral boundary when they didn't tell the person in the story that they're just working for Apple and have no law enforcement capabilities.

Apple won't get anything bad out of this except for a little bit of bad PR for a while, it doesn't seem they did anything illegal, however I don't know if the police officers can be sanctioned in any way over not informing the person of his rights.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[7]: SFPD was involved
by yfph on Sat 3rd Sep 2011 06:27 in reply to "RE[6]: SFPD was involved"
yfph Member since:
2009-09-03

But consent may be invalidated if it was made under duress or coercion.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[7]: SFPD was involved
by Morgan on Sat 3rd Sep 2011 06:56 in reply to "RE[6]: SFPD was involved"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I'm speaking from my experience as a law enforcement employee (but not an officer) AND on the assumption that the SFWeekly article and blog posts are accurate:

That's what I was wondering about: the police should have clearly indicated that the Apple employees were not police forces and that the person in the story could have just said "no" when asked for permission to enter.


Yes, they should have. The police are in the wrong by misrepresenting the entire group as SFPD. Even if they didn't say "we're all cops" they should have been clear from the start that they were merely assisting citizens in what my agency calls a "stand-by". Basically the officers should only have been there to keep the peace if things got ugly between one group of citizens asking another citizen for their property back.

Also, Mr. Calderon could have refused entry to any of them including the real officers, as they had no warrant and in fact no report had been filed yet (according to the department's own statements). He seemed to be aware of his rights based on statements made to the news media, but was afraid to because of the intimidation tactics of the fake cops.

While the Apple employees didn't do anything wrong in terms of the law they too still crossed the amoral boundary when they didn't tell the person in the story that they're just working for Apple and have no law enforcement capabilities.


I think they did break the law, with the help of the real cops, by misrepresenting themselves as badged, mandated officers of SFPD. The intimidation in order to gain entry might also be enough for them to be charged; I'm not familiar with California law but most states have similar laws regarding threats and intimidation under color of law, whether the color of law is legitimate or implied strongly enough to trick the victim into waiving their rights.


Apple won't get anything bad out of this except for a little bit of bad PR for a while, it doesn't seem they did anything illegal, however I don't know if the police officers can be sanctioned in any way over not informing the person of his rights.


Apple most certainly broke the law if everything Mr. Calderon and the SFPD sergeant said is true. Whether or not Apple gets a slap on the wrist or serious criminal charges, they certainly did set themselves up for a nasty lawsuit based on a gross infringement of Mr. Calderon's fourth amendment (security from illegal search and seizure) and fourteenth amendment (due process under the law) rights. Ditto for SFPD, who in the very least appear to have four very stupid cops in their employ. It's possible the agency may even be complicit in this scheme, given their reluctance to even admit it happened.

I really hope this blows up in Apple's face and becomes a major shitstorm for them. The way they have been acting lately, they seem to think the law (local or European) doesn't apply to them. I'm sick to death of the company; I think they just surpassed Sony on my Evil Empire list.



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As an aside, I seriously wonder if Jobs left purely for health reasons. Perhaps he didn't like the way his company seems to be run by lawyers and crooked investigators now, and either left in disgust or was pushed out.

Reply Parent Score: 9