Gizmodo have just published the search warrant and seizure documents relating to the search of Jason Chen’s home and seizure of his computers. Chen is the blogger who works for Gizmodo and was point of contact for them obtaining Apple’s lost prototype iPhone 4G.
Jason has also written an account of what occurred when he returned home to find police in his house.
It seems that REACT, a “high tech” police force in California who specialise in tech related crime, have decided that Gizmodo, or its employees, may have committed a crime when obtaining the iPhone 4G prototype.
It is being widely reported that Apple are one of the 25 companies who sit on REACT’s committee, with some bloggers consequently dreaming up all kinds of conspiracy theories.
It also seems that the legal battle lines between the authorities and Gizmodo have been drawn. But they are somewhat confusing. The police are investigating the possibility of a felony having been committed. Which means they are trying to ascertain if a high value item not belonging to either party has changed hands illegally. i.e. Did the iPhone 4G finder sell property that did not belong to him, to Gizmodo. Whilst Gizmodo are arguing that they are journalists and that they and their sources should be protected under related journalistic laws.
Interestingly the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Internet’s leading digital rights advocacy group, has come down on Gizmodo’s side saying that the search warrant acted on by the police is illegal.
Whatever happens it should be very interesting to see how this all pans out in coming days..
What is your opinion? Did Gizmodo break the law? Or have REACT overstepped their bounds? Let us know in the comments.
Here are the legal documents and Jason’s side of things : [gizmodo.com]