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Police Seize Gizmodo Reporter's PCs Over Leaked iPhone

Discussion in 'Tech Talk - Gadgets, Gizmos and Technology' started by bobukcat, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. Nick

    Nick Retired, part-time PITA DBSTalk Club

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    The...
    If Jack Bauer had been in charge of the case, it would have been over in 12 hours.
     
  2. bobukcat

    bobukcat Hall Of Fame

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    It looks like Chen paid the guy who found the phone $5000 for it, unsure at that time if it even was an Apple device. Gizmodo has advertised for some time that they would pay "significant sums" for access to non-released Apple products. The phone was left in the bar disguised in a 3GS case but the person who found it figured out pretty quickly that it was something special. Apple obviously had security running on it and remote killed it because by the time Chen got it the device wouldn't even go past the Apple logo on bootup.

    In the story on Foxnews.com the local D.A. says that they have not played any part in the investigation at all and would examine it if it's brought to them for prosecution. He also suggests that it was the Apple Employee who lost the phone (probably an ex-employee by now) who contacted the task force and not Apple corporate - of course he could have done so because someone in Corporate told him he should. I'm sure more of this will come out as this progresses but I personally believe the police executed an illegal search and seizure - of course my opinion doesn't really matter.
     
  3. The Merg

    The Merg 1*

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    Gotta disagree with that blanket statement. So, if a journalist is using his computer to look at child porn, the police cannot seize his computer as evidence?

    If there is probable cause to believe the computer was used to commit a crime or contains evidence of a crime, the police can seize it.

    - Merg
     
  4. durl

    durl Hall Of Fame

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    I agree. If the device was sold, the seller had to have known it's significance. That can't be a "finders keepers" type of situation. This is a big deal because it deals with corporate trade secrets.
     
  5. BubblePuppy

    BubblePuppy Good night dear Smoke... love you & "got your butt

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    $5000 for a phone?........Someone knew something.
     
  6. Herdfan

    Herdfan Well-Known Member

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    Teays...
    But what if the journalist was legitimately using his computer to search out child porn to research a story on how easiy it is to find online?

    Slippery slope.
     
  7. Lee L

    Lee L Hall Of Fame

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    SO, are they going after the guy that found the phone and sold it to Gizmodo? Seems like he is as culpable or moreso than Gizmodo.
     
  8. BubblePuppy

    BubblePuppy Good night dear Smoke... love you & "got your butt

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    One question is if Chen is protected as a journalist or is he just a blogger. A blogger isn't protected under the law.
     
  9. Mike Bertelson

    Mike Bertelson 6EQUJ5 WOW! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    I really don't understand what's criminal here.

    I can't see how reporting on a new piece of hardware that was obtained legally (I would guess that’s probably the sticking point) is illegal. Unless he went into Apple and stole the dang thing they can’t have much of a case.

    Personally, I sometimes see Gizmodo as less of a blog and more like maybe Cnet. I have a funny feeling that the whole reporter vs. blogger distinction is far from over. Is a review of a piece of hardware a simple blog entry? I certainly don’t think I’m smart enough to tell but I bet the lines between blogger and reporter will continue to blur. I guess the question is, can someone fill both the role of reporter and blogger and how would you tell the difference. :shrug:

    This has been just some of my random ramblings. Does that make this a blog entry or a forum post? :grin:

    Mike
     
  10. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    This whole thing reeks of the worst aspects of the Patriot Act applied to Apple's corporate security.

    If I were trying to broker a deal with a nefarious type, I would be using an untraceable wireless phone to voice and text my partner(s) in crime. That's they way they do it in the movies. ;)
     
  11. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    I think the assertion is that there is no "middle man".
     
  12. Sharkie_Fan

    Sharkie_Fan Hall Of Fame

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    Problem. Night Search was NOT authorized. It's plainly marked on the search warrant. Yet Jason Chen came home at almost 10:00 and the team had been there "a couple of hours". Entry at 8:00 would constitute "night" to me...

    This is one of those slippery slope deals... If they allow this search, then where does it stop? This is, assuming, of course, that the Gizmodo story is true that they purchased the phone from a 3rd party and had nothing to do with separating it from it's lawful owner... If a reporter writes a piece on a large corporation that's cutting corners somewhere - will the police sieze his computer because it "contains evidence of a crime"?

    If they're pursuing Jason Chen as the stealer of the phone, as opposed to simply the beneficiary of a lost phone.... then I can see where some of those protections would not apply. If the Apple engineer, in an attempt to cover his backside, contacted the taskforce and reported the phone "stolen" instead of "lost", and Chen is being investigated as a thief, then perhaps his protections as a journalist are null and void.


    Clearly they knew something... but is that in and of itself a crime? Is purchasing "lost property" illegal? Or is lost property of this nature considered "stolen"? I don't know the answer to that question....
     
  13. Herdfan

    Herdfan Well-Known Member

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    Teays...
    That is what is going to make this the most compelling part of this story.

    While it may have its roots as a blog, it does publish "news" and reviews on products. People go there to get updated tech news. Ok, so it is not published on paper. But does paper make the guy who reviews movies or the lady who writes stories about recipies real journalists?
     
  14. bobukcat

    bobukcat Hall Of Fame

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    They assert that he is employed as a reporter by Gizmodo's parent company, certainly that makes him a reporter or editor - both of which can, and do blog but that doesn't make them just another blogger rambling about something that has nothing to do with their professional life.
     
  15. Herdfan

    Herdfan Well-Known Member

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    Teays...
    Ok, lets assume for a minute that is correct and Gizmodo paid an Apple Employee $5000 for it. Why take possesion? Why not just have him bring it over for you to look at and play with? Then he leaves with it.
     
  16. bobukcat

    bobukcat Hall Of Fame

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    They knew it was a prototype of some kind but weren't convinced it was really from Apple until the opened it up - at least that's their version of the story. However, $5K for a story as big as leaking the next iPhone and the kind of traffic that can (and did) bring to your site would be a very minimal investment.
     
  17. The Merg

    The Merg 1*

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    Exactly. Especially if he didn't even know if it was an Apple device. Don't see paying anyone for $5,000 for something that may or may not be an Apple device.

    - Merg
     
  18. BubblePuppy

    BubblePuppy Good night dear Smoke... love you & "got your butt

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    Yep, that is very suspect.
     
  19. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Speaking in some generalities for a moment...

    There are stores that sell watches... and there are guys in alleys that sell watches. Most reasonable people know that when buying a "rolex" from a guy in an alley you are either: not getting a rolex, or getting potentially "hot" merchandise.

    So you pays your money and takes your chances.

    If I buy a cellphone at a retailer, I wouldn't have an expectation of getting stolen merchandise... but if a guy who says "hey I found this in a bar" is trying to sell what he found and he wants $5000 and I'm even entertaining that notion of paying $5000 for it... then BOTH he and I know very well that we are dealing in potentially "hot" merchandise.

    If I find a $20 bill on the street and I don't see who dropped it and no one else seems to notice... it would be very unlikely that the person who lost it could be contacted to return it.

    IF, however, I find a large satchel full of money in small unmarked bills... it's highly likely that it is either from a bank robbery or a drug deal or some other unsavory source... so it behooves me to contact proper authorities.

    The proper procedure for the guy who "found" the phone?

    1. Talk to the bartender and other patrons and see if anyone lost it.
    2. Call Apple if he suspected it of being an Apple-owned device.
    3. Turn it in to the bartender for lost-and-found

    OR

    3A. Turn it in to local police IF he feels the bar lost-and-found might not be trustworthy.
     
  20. bobukcat

    bobukcat Hall Of Fame

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    The person who found the phone did indeed give it to someone else at the bar they believed was with whoever lost it. That person in turn did try to contact Apple but seeing as how no one in their call center knows anything (unsurprisingly) about a next gen iPhone they think the guy is a crackpot or has some Chinese knock-off and thanks him for calling. Apple found out the device was missing and apparently did not call or send a txt to the phone asking whoever had it to return it to them - they just remotely wiped it. When Gizmodo original published a story saying they had a 4G iPhone Apple denied it was a real device instead of asking for the device back.
     

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