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Editor raided after revealing new iPhone details

Rachael Bolton (MIS Australia) | April 27, 2010
California police have raided the home of an editor for the Gizmodo gadget blog who last week revealed details of a secret next-generation iPhone prototype.

SYDNEY, 27 APRIL 2010 - California police have raided the home of an editor for the Gizmodo gadget blog who last week revealed details of a secret next-generation iPhone prototype.

Jason Chen was subjected to a police raid after the sites decision to publish images of the next generation of Apple's iPhone 4G.

Police raided his home on Friday, exercising a warrant for the seizure of four computers and two servers, according to legal documents published on the site.

The furor began on Monday last week when Gizmodo published a series of images depicting a prototype of the newest iPhone, which had allegedly been found on the floor of a bar in California.

Apple employee Gray Powell was later identified as the man who had misplaced the phone at the Gourmet Haus Staudt beer garden in Redwood City while celebrating his 27th birthday.

Gizmodo admitted to paying $US5000 to obtain the phone.

On the same day as the publication of the images, April 19, Apple issued a formal request to Gizmodo to have the phone returned.

On April 20, the day after publication, founder of Gizmodo's publisher Gawker Media, Nick Denton, proclaimed on Twitter that Gawker was unabashed about its actions.

"Yes, we're proud practitioners of checkbook journalism," he said. "Anything for the story!"

Speculation about the legality of Gizmodo's actions was broadly discussed in the media with some claiming the purchase of an item known not to belong to the seller constituted the reception of stolen goods.

The warrants issued by police stated the property seized from Mr Chen's property was believed to have been used as "the means of committing a felony".

In a letter to police, Gawker chief operating officer, Gaby Darbyshire, claimed the warrants exercised in seizing Mr Chen's property were invalid.

She said that under California state and US federal law "a search warrant may not be validly issued to confiscate the property of a journalist".

"It is abundantly clear that under the law a search warrant to remove these items was invalid," she wrote. "The appropriate method of obtaining such materials would be the issuance of a subpoena."

She demanded the immediate return of the confiscated property.

 

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