Lost Apple ‘iPhone 4G’ Prototype Debacle Turns Serious

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.

Follow our complete iPhone 4G coverage here.

Here are the legal documents and Jason’s side of things : [gizmodo.com]


7 Comments on “Lost Apple ‘iPhone 4G’ Prototype Debacle Turns Serious”

  1. Joe

    Receiving stolen goods is generally buying or acquiring the possession of property knowing (or believing in some jurisdictions) that it had been obtained through theft, embezzlement, larceny, or extortion by someone else. The crime is separate from the crime of stealing the property. To be convicted, the receiver must know the goods were stolen at the time he receives them. Paying for the goods or intending to collect the reward for returning them are not defenses. Depending on the value of the property received, receiving-stolen-property is either a misdemeanor or a felony.

    There are numerous federal laws that make it a federal crime to receive stolen property (e.g., vehicles, securities) if the property received was or had been in interstate commerce.

  2. Joe

    Actually it was illegal because CHEN even said they knew who the phones owner was, and his facebook and everything. They clearly knew it was not the mans property who they purchase it from. They just wanted and Iphone 4g prototype and were willing to do anything to get it.

  3. Joe

    Yeah, I work in law enforcement, ya know how many times we catch people with stolen stuff and they say they just found it. Of course they are not going to say they stole

  4. Joe

    You obtained a phone which you knew was stolen. Its like buying tv's out of the barber shop, ya know its stolen, and it is still a crime reguardless. I understand it is a big deal to get the latest prototype Iphone, but we are all held accountable to the same laws, and if your buying an Iphone 4g prototype that isnt even released yet, you had to know it was stolen unless your an idiot. I read your blog alot, and enjoy the articles, but I think your kind of screwed on this one. Good luck man

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