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Book ’em Danno… “iPhone 4G”

Police have seized computers and other materials from a Gizmodo editor, Jason Chen, who works from his home in Fremont, California. A judge in San Mateo County signed the search warrant, which said that a felony crime was being investigated. Chen’s home was searched on Friday evening, but Chen was NOT arrested.

Gizmodo is, of course, the technology blog that published details about Apple’s next generation iPhone, after paying $5000 for a prototype that was supposedly recovered from the floor of a San Mateo County bar.

Gizmodo said today:

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.

Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press told CNET today that the San Mateo County search warrant violated the federal Privacy Protection Act, which immunizes news organizations from searches, unless, in some cases, the journalists themselves committed the crime. The federal law requires police to use subpoenas to obtain information, instead of search warrants.

I spent one full year based at Apple as a Netscape employee, during the first release of MacOS X and “” (-> .Mac -> MobileMe).

I am not the least bit surprised by any of this. :-)

(Note added May 02, 2010: “A short history of Apple’s aggressive legal tactics” was published by CNET.)

(Note added July 17, 2010: The Gizmodo editor whose computer equipment was seized in April with regard to the missing iPhone 4 prototype investigation, has voluntarily agreed to turn over information to authorities. According to CNET:

“The agreement between Chen and the San Mateo County District Attorney’s office, which calls for the DA to drop attempts to search Chen’s property, puts an end to the dispute over whether the search of Chen’s computer gear was lawful. The settlement also provides the DA’s office with the information it sought from Chen, said Chief Dep. District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe in an interview with CNET on Friday.”

-Bill at

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