iPhone 4G Gizmodo Scandal: Prosecutor Defends Search of Chen’s Home

The scandal of the lost/stolen iPhone 4G and Gizmodo continues to play out, and the most recent was that police snatched Gizmodo editor Jason Chen’s computers and servers, which we reported on (here). Well according to an article over on Cnet, San Mateo prosecutors are now defending the search of Jason Chen’s home.

You may remember when the search and snatch new broke, Gizmodo’s parent company, Gawker Media claimed the search of their editors home was invalid under section 1524(g) of the California Penal Code.

The latest is chief deputy district attorney, Stephen Wagstaffe, spoke with Cnet and stated that prosecutors had considered if “reporter shield laws applied” and decided after carefully reviewing the rules to proceed. Wagstaff said, “My prosecutor who is handling it considered this issue right off the bat when it was being brought into him and had some good reasons why he and the judge felt the warrant was properly issued.”

Furthermore Wagstaff claimed that had police delayed in the search then data could have been lost and added, “If you sit there and work by the Marquess of Queensberry rules, then bad guys win.”

Among the items snatched by the police from Jason Chen’s home was a Seagate 500GB external hard drive, 3 Apple laptops, a HP MediaSmart server and USB flash drives.

A Gawker Media attorney told Cnet that if Gizmodo had of been contacted by police prior to the raid it would have offered a “formal written agreement” not to delete any data, although apparently prosecutors have now agreed not to search Chen’s items while they are speaking with Gizmodo’s lawyer.

So now for my view, as we know, Gizmodo were offered an iPhone handset for which they paid $5000, which turned out to be a disguised iPhone 4G, now one could argue that they didn’t know it was the iPhone 4G because of the camouflage and only found out later, on the other hand, why pay $5000 for an iPhone 3GS?

Then there’s also the question of whether the device was lost or stolen, everything points to it being left by the Apple guy in a bar, someone finds it, and as the story goes tried to return it, but Apple reps believed it to be a hoax.

So was the iPhone 4G stolen? I would say considering the circumstances of events as we are told; no it wasn’t stolen, and Gizmodo, even though may have had an idea that it was the next generation iPhone acted on the understanding that it was a lost item and a not stolen device.

So if you take it that the iPhone 4G was lost and passed on rather than stolen then really there is no criminal case to be brought by Apple other than that “trade secrets” thing they made mention of, that’s my view although not knowing US law very well I could be wrong.

What are your thoughts on this drop us a comment to let us know.


One thought on “iPhone 4G Gizmodo Scandal: Prosecutor Defends Search of Chen’s Home”

  1. dfiler says:

    I too was misinformed about the definition of "theft". The actual definition in California can include lost items depending on the circumstances. The casual meaning of "theft" is certainly as you describe. The legal definition is not.

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