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back to article Gizmodo editor reunited with seized goods

Gizmodo editor Jason Chen will get his stuff back. The San Mateo, California, district attorney petitioned for and was granted a withdrawal of the search warrant that his office used to seize a trove of materials from Chen's home in the purloined–iPhone 4 prototype investigation. "All items seized shall be returned forthwith to …

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Jobs spin and free goody samples don't work on DA's

TV personalities and other influencers of public opinion are frequently the recipient of 'goodies' from Apple. This is not confined to Apple although their list is long.

Apple essentially suborned the police department's help, undoubtedly with Apples lawyers 'advice', ignoring the fact Jason Chen was a reporter under California law.

Jason Chen should become a TrueCrypt user so not even Apple, or the FBI, could access his files.

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Gray Powell..

Wonder if he's still there. Of course, with all the publicity, it might be bad PR to shove him off the cliff now, but you never know what the antenna-shielding left-hand of a Jobsworth can do.

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Re; Gray Powell

How so? So far Jobs has done nothing but add to the bad PR. Telling people that all phones do that; which is false. Telling people they're holding the phone wrong.

According to LinkedIn, Gray still works there. Review time should be interesting for him.

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Jobs Horns

Gray Powell, antenna designer

Jobs could blame the antenna design on Gray Powell and let the mob sort out both of these unfortunate problems.

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Dead Vulture

Moral compass decay detected.

"one of the more dramatic scenes in the still-ongoing Gizmodophone opera buffa"

This is _not_ an opera buffa. It is unalloyed Corporate Police State action.

Still, guy should be grateful that they didn't cap/tazer his ass a few times just for the fun of it (aka. "resisting an officer in his line of duty")

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Catcher not backstop

As one of a rare breed, namely an English baseball fan and a pedant to boot, may I point out that there is no such thing as a backstop. Yogi Berra was a catcher.

He was a great source of material including the famous "It’s deja-vu all over again." and perhaps because he was so often quoted "I didn't say half the things I said".

Let's go Yankees.

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@ lotus49

As one of a rare breed, namely an American Cricket fan, and a pedant to boot ... You're absolutely correct re: your comments on Yogi.

However ... the Yankees? That's freaking American League[1]!

Go Giants!

[1] I'm a baseball purest. So shoot me :-)

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Pint

Well, actually

There is a backstop - it's the barrier behind the plate, protecting the fans.

But there is also a tradition among sportswriters, at least here in the colonies, to indulge in some fairly florid vocabulary at times. Let's face it, how many times can you write essentially the same thing before you go a little off? So they invent strange and wonderful terminology and usage to try to stay sane and impress each other. Instead of a lefthanded pitcher having a good game, the southpaw hurler twirled a two-hitter, for instance. And within that class of writing, the catcher is sometimes referred to as the backstop. Or, perhaps more likely, the stalwart backstop.

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Pint

English baseball fan?

You really should be supporting a better team than the Yankees, then.

The Red Sox are the only team worthy of your support.

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El

"Go Yankees" or "Yankees go home"?

My favorite Berra-ism has always been "Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded."

Are you rooting for the New York Yankees, or for 'Merkins in general?

For all you English non-baseball fans, Baseball is just like Cricket, except the games are a lot shorter 'cause the use a lot more steroids....

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Pint

The Right To...

...search his computer should NOT be a right to deny use of the same.

Just make forensic copies for the disks.

Sheesh.

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I hope that "it ain't over" yet...

I found this to be a very disturbing story. That Apple can use government law enforcement agencies as an extension of its own internal security department is very worrisome. I would hope that Chan, and Gizmodo, will initiate lawsuits, which will in turn make clear the chain of events that lead to the seizures. And that the culpable parties will receive appropriately harsh sanctions, even if the culpable parties include Apple. I would also hope that Federal authorities will also be interested in investigating this clear and obvious perversion of law enforcement power that was committed at Apple's behest against Chen and Gizmodo.

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Anonymous Coward

Circus

Won't happen unless Giz and Apple both want to play the circus it would become. They might.

Gizmodo might as well be called "Apple stuff and a few other things". See my comment to be able to easily read the few other things on the site without the Apple barrage.

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Maybe

Maybe the iPhoney has antennae issues because Gray Powell wasn't able to test it properly. That is right, it was in a case. So Apple being so secretive did nothing but hurt them.

I wonder if Apple has learned why no one ever did an antennae design that way. I'm sure that many tried it but it never got out of the lab.

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Pirate

The device will be returned

with a free iPhone 4 case, so it can even be used as a mobile phone.

In other news, the DA found the iPhone4 was less impressive than he had first expected, and was surprised to find Apple weren't prepared to accept returns.

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Gizmodo rolled over

Other news reports say that the warrant was dropped because Gizmodo gave in. This was their reward from the police.

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Happy

Hell, it was worth it

So for $5 grand Gizmodo became an known internet quantity overnight. Well worth the iPhone 4 pre-release investment.

Give up and give in, and reap the benefits.

No one's indicted, no one goes to jail, and your web site just increased its popularity tenfold. End of the day, you won.

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Big Brother

Bin it....

What else can Chen do but bin the lot when it gets delivered back, there is no way on earth that i would use anything that has been in police hands especially if they were trying to build a case against me.

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Big Brother

No. just find the hidden stuff...

Seriously, don't throw it out, find out what scanners, backdoors and other stuff they used/added on the stuff before sh*t-canning it. That's what a "news" agency would do.

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Coat

Try this link....

http://gizmodo.com/tag/not:apple/not:iphone/not:ipad/not:iphoneapps/not:iphone4

It makes Gizmodo readable.

You may need to extend it at product launch times!

<--Mine's the one without a single Apple gadget in the pcokets

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Alert

whos' got the iphone?

that could be the most sought after iphone ever - it almost certainly wont have the signal problem if it doesnt have the iphone 4 case!

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Joke

At first read it looks like the EFF was involved...

Then I saw everything went well.

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Silver badge

Jason should sue the snot out of San Mateo County for illegal search and siezure.

And the DA and Steve Jobs should be up on influence peddling charges by the state.

There ARE laws around here. Or were, maybe ... Perhaps "he who has the gold makes the rules" is becoming more and more true. Couple that with Jobs' reality distortion field ... ::sighs::

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Happy

I guess...

getting your computers seized is a good test of whether or not your offsite backups are up to scratch!

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Surely it was theft

Surely, finding a $100 000 prototype and not returning it to its owner, is theft. Then you tell everyone you have received stolen property and are surprised the police come round collecting evidence.

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No. Not theft.

If you find a piece of haberdashery[1] in a bar after the owner has left said bar, a gentleman would hand it over the the bar's lost+found. A cad would say "I'm 'aving that!" ... and that would be the end of the matter ... at least until the prior owner of said piece of haberdashery ran into said cad sporting the bit of kit and promptly punched him on the nose & retrieved it.

It's the same thing as finding change on the street. Or even large quantities of cash. The assumption of the law is that the old owner doesn't care enough about it to keep track of it, so the finder can keep it. I found an unmarked envelope on the street containing two $1,000 bills and 14 $100 bills when I was 7 years old (mid 1960s). My folks turned it into the Palo Alto Police department ... after a period of time (6 weeks, I think, could have been more or less), the cops called & allowed as to how I was a "rich" 7 year old ... The desk sergeant told my dad that next time, just keep it ... save everybody time & trouble.

And don't forget that Jason *TRIED* to return the item to Apple. Apple refused.

[1] Lets face it, all iThingies are haberdashery first, tools second. And even then, if I find a screwdriver, wrench(spanner) or hammer in the street, if it's in good nick I'm going to take it home and put it to use.

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Jobs Horns

The reality distortion field is strong around here

>$100 000 prototype

facepalm.jpg

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No, no, no. It's theft, by definition.

Read the law. If the cad would say "I'm having that" where the phone was found (i.e. knowingly taking a found item with the clear intention not to hand it back) he is by definition of the local law a thief. It's that simple. Even if he would think of taking it back after using it (i.e. not directly to the owner) it's theft, but you're heading for grey areas there that were not in the original case.

Gizmodo did NOT immediately instigate credible effort to hand it back, and I think it's pretty clear by now that handing it to bar staff would have been the right thing to do. Instead they generated such a clear violation of the law that Jobs did not have to get involved at all (I guess he must have grinned).

So it's theft. You can twist and turn your interpretation, but there are facts, there is a clear law which also labels the act, and the behaviour of the Gizmodo people indicated they knew damn well that what they were doing was illegal.

In your case, what was done was correct too. Finders is not keepers (although that is what usually happens) - first a waiting period applies. Even if a cop is too lazy to do the paperwork (not unique, in the UK cops can't be bothered to go after criminals for the same reason), the law itself doesn't change.

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Re: Yes. Yes theft.

Except that there are specific city ordinances that recognize the areas encompassing Silicon Valley as a place where high-technology is invented and tested, and so it is very susceptible to corporate espionage. Thus, there exists local laws which are very much influenced by corporate entities, not just Apple.

If you followed the story from real journalist, you'd been aware that the search warrant was issued lawfully, even if it were only discussed by a very small group. The police was not doing a favor to Apple so much as they were favouring Tech Corporations in general.

-dZ.

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@Fred Flintstone

"Gizmodo did NOT immediately instigate credible effort to hand it back"

Review the facts, Fred. Gizmodo was never actually at the Pub ... when they came in possession of the bit of fluff, they contacted the party perceived as the rightful owner. Said suspected owner denied any knowledge of the bit of fluff.

Apple (and fanbois) want it both ways. That's not how it works in the RealWorld ... at least not if you don't have a multi-billionaire in your back pocket.

On the other hand, Apple might have a case against Brian Hogan ... but they won't pursue it, because they know that they'd be laughed out of court If only SCO would sit up and take notice.

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FAIL

Did he

get bumped off?

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Joke

Predictable joke.

Why is it that everything involved with iPhone 4 seems to be being wrongly held?

I'll get my coat.

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FAIL

It is stolen property

He knew the person who sold it to him didn't own it . As a number of people pointed out in the comments to the original article that is a violation of California Law.

An on a scarier note. How did anyone writing a blog become immune to a search warrant. I am just waiting for a drug dealer to start "reporting" on the drug scene so the police can not serve him with a warrant. Yeah the Police can subpoena to search a drug lords house. But by the time it gets to a Judge all the evidence is gone.

And quit complaining about the so called collusion between Apple and the DA. If the DA had done his job he would have gotten a subpoena and GIzmodo would have rightfully be looking a a jail term. It looks to me like the DA was being intentionally incompetent so the guy would get off.

Being a Journalist does not give you the right to deal in stolen property.

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Unhappy

If the phone had still been turned on...

The chances that if the phone had still been functioning when Gizmodo bought it, They MAY have caught the antenna issue that Apple engineers were missing because of the disguised casing on the things.

My guess is that going any further in prosecuting the case will just put a worse light on Apple if it goes forward. Better to just brush it under the rug and get the marketing people working harder.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Jobs Horns

On a side note

Does anybody know where I can get one of those 3GS-shaped cases for the iPhone4? Think Apple's missed a trick not releasing these as a "special edition" case...

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Anonymous Coward

Don't care about Apple or Iphones.

But if you buy stolen property ("Fell of the back of a lorry" is not a defence) and then try and profit from it, you are surely in a very grey area. No wait - It's not grey - it's very black.

Claiming journalistic privilege is one thing if it is in "The Public Interest" - but that is very different to "of interest to the public".

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Big Brother

Nothing new

MPAA/RIAA has been ordering law enforcement agencies/legal systems to do their dirty work.

When your gov is under total control of such evil org, there is no hope left.

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Now we know why the engineer couldn't find it..

I think we all know how the phone was held while it was carried from thief to thief (just to offset commentards who ignore that small but important factoid), otherwise it would have had reception, and Mobile Me would have located it ..

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FAIL

MobileMe..

It's probably another application that Jesus has forbidden installation.

"If thy left hand offends, cut it off" springs to mind....

Epic fail!

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FAIL

Not stolen property

To all those above going on about the iPhone in question being stolen property, no it isn't. It's *lost* property, which was (intentionally or accidentally) abandoned by it's owner in a public place and subsequently picked up by the finder. While we may hold that there is a *moral* obligation for a finder of lost property to return it to the police or owner, there is no *legal* obligation to do so. If I find someone's dropped wallet in the street, it's up to me whether I do the "right" thing and give it back, or put any cash in it into my own pocket and dump the rest in a bin, or even sell it to someone who can then choose to return or rape it. For my part, I'd hand it back because I'm that sort of person, but I'm not legally required to do so.

So Chen is by no means guilty of buying "stolen" property, he bought "lost" property, which is a completely different game.

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Nope, it IS theft

Read the law. The moment lost property is obtained by anyone else but the owner for purposes other than returning it to the owner it becomes a theft. And it is clear that Chen knew all too well this to be the case.

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Re: Not stolen property

Actually, it is the law, not just a "moral obligation." If you find someone's dropped wallet in the street, it is up to you whether you do the *legal* thing and give it back or pocket it. If the owner eventually finds out that you kept the wallet even though you knew it did not belong to you, and that you had no intention of returning it, you may get arrested.

You see, you are not obligated to take responsibility of it, but if you do, you must then endeavor in a reasonable manner to find the owner, including reporting the goods to the local police or sheriff.

Here, learn about how we really live in the Human World:

http://www.animallaw.info/statutes/stuscacivil_2080_2082.htm#s2080

Here are some relevant bits:

"If the owner is unknown or has not claimed the property, the person saving or finding the property shall, if the property is of the value of one hundred dollars ($100) or more, within a reasonable time turn the property over to the police department of the city or city and county, if found therein, or to the sheriff's department of the county if found outside of city limits, and shall make an affidavit, stating when and where he or she found or saved the property, particularly describing it."

"The police department or sheriff's department may sell such property by public auction, in the manner and upon the notice of sale of personal property under execution, if it is a thing which is commonly the subject of sale, when the owner cannot, with reasonable diligence, be found"

Here's another interesting one:

http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/cacode/PEN/3/1/13/5/s485

CAL. PEN. CODE § 485 : California Code - Section 485:

"One who finds lost property under circumstances which give him knowledge of or means of inquiry as to the true owner, and who appropriates such property to his own use, or to the use of another person not entitled thereto, without first making reasonable and just efforts to find the owner and to restore the property to him, is guilty of theft."

Just because something "feels right" in your head does not make it true.

-dZ.

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Anonymous Coward

Not theft.

My pop is in a similar situation. Two boxes of coax kit fell off a truck. Posted ads in the local newsies, no response. He made a good faith effort to return the goods. Chen did the same thing, only he was able to directly contact the owner of the merchandise. The owner said it wasn't his so Chen could do what he wanted to with it.

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why bother

I don't know if any of you ever got items back after them being seized but from what i've read usually the items are never returned to you in the same condition.

It would be like having your home searched for no reason, to me i'd be looking to sale the house.

This guy had his rights violated, this was a phone for god sakes not a nuclear bomb they were after.

For them to do all of this just goes to show who runs this country, the corporations.

At the end of the day, it all makes apple look bad and hopefully both apple and the police will be violated just like this person was.

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Jobs Horns

Overheard conversation

Between 2 California cops/Apple stormtroopers.

"Give him back his phones. Those aren't the droids we're looking for. And we need a warrant too."

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Jobs Horns

but apple loves its users

C'mon guys Steve was just showing to Gizmodo guy how he loves their slaves(users).

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Steve Roper

While we may hold that there is a *moral* obligation for a finder of lost property to return it to the police or owner, there is no *legal* obligation to do so. If I find someone's dropped wallet in the street, it's up to me whether I do the "right" thing and give it back, or put any cash in it into my own pocket and dump the rest in a bin, or even sell it.

Your wrong. California law says you can not sell lost property .

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@kain preacher

"Your wrong. California law says you can not sell lost property ."

A) Cite me chapter & verse of said law. Seems to me that schools (and police departments!) routinely sell off lost property here in The Golden State ...

dos) that's pronounced "you're".

3) Learn to quote properly.

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@Jake

Ha! Ha! So easy:

http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/cacode/PEN/3/1/13/5/s485

CAL. PEN. CODE § 485 : California Code - Section 485:

"One who finds lost property under circumstances which give him knowledge of or means of inquiry as to the true owner, and who appropriates such property to his own use, or to the use of another person not entitled thereto, without first making reasonable and just efforts to find the owner and to restore the property to him, is guilty of theft."

I just searched in Google for the following terms, "california law lost goods stolen." The first handful of results gave the proper answer. Idiot.

-dZ.

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