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Police Seize Computers From Gizmodo Editor 1204

Posted by Soulskill
from the stuff-just-got-real dept.
secretcurse writes "California police have served a search warrant and seized computers from Jason Chen, the Gizmodo editor who unveiled the 4th-generation iPhone to the world. Gawker Media's COO has replied claiming that the warrant was served illegally due to Mr. Chen's status as a journalist. The plot thickens..."
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Police Seize Computers From Gizmodo Editor

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  • Journalist? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@@@gmail...com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @05:41PM (#31989594) Journal

    Wait, what? Journalists are immune from having their computers seized? In what dreamworld? They have the exact same first amendment protections as the rest of us. No more, no less. If Apple can get a warrant (which they obviously can), those computers are fair game, along with anything else that might be relevant to the charges.

    The only reason that, traditionally, journalists had extra privileges was because they worked for large litigious media outlets who wouldn't put up with that horseshit, and the government was rightfully wary. These days, not so much.

    Apple has a long history of suing people over trade secret violations, and since all you have to have to be a "trade secret" is simply to be arguably valuable, and, you know, secret, it's not hard to do. In this case I imagine they're looking in to charging them for full-on corporate espionage (which is a felony) and which the guy may be open to, depending on how he obtained the phone.

  • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Monday April 26, 2010 @05:42PM (#31989620)
    So, does being a journalist entitle you to full immunity from the law? The police are investigating a possible purchase of stolen goods. It's not like they are trying to arrest him simply because he wrote an article about it, or because they want to censor him.
  • by nweaver (113078) on Monday April 26, 2010 @05:42PM (#31989630) Homepage

    If only this would kill the "This is just an apple PR Stunt" meme...

    There is no way apple would be so outrageously stupid to bring in the police if this was just a matter of a PR stunt: the potential damage would be huge.

    Instead, this really is about an inadvertant (or deliberate?) leak and did involve stolen property.

    But I doubt it, those who see a Great Apple Conspiracy behind the V4 iPhone leak will not change their minds.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @05:45PM (#31989668)

    They bought a phone that was left in a bar, translated not stolen. They returned it when requested. It's not up to journalist to protect trade secrets they generally reveal them.

  • Yea but (Score:3, Insightful)

    by arcite (661011) on Monday April 26, 2010 @05:46PM (#31989682)
    Gawker received approximately 8 million hits last week, ergo they are swimming in oodles of extra ad revenue. Apple is just milking a new and profitable revenue stream, or at least their legion of blood sucking lawyers are.

    Nothing to worry about.

    Move along.

    Sent from my iPad.

  • Re:Journalist? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush (643681) on Monday April 26, 2010 @05:47PM (#31989706)

    The law quoted only protects from search warrants intended to discover the source of a journalist's INFORMATION. It of course doesn't protect from search warrants intended to discover the source of a journalist's STOLEN GOODS.

  • Stunt (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Itninja (937614) on Monday April 26, 2010 @05:48PM (#31989724) Homepage
    I guess we can now say this whole thing was not a publicity stunt? It's seems a bit insane to go so far as engaging real-life policecops for a publicity stunt.
  • Re:iWarrant (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Monday April 26, 2010 @05:49PM (#31989744)

    Gizmodo clearly. One should know that it's illegal to purchase stolen goods.

  • by AutumnLeaf (50333) on Monday April 26, 2010 @05:49PM (#31989754)

    When the Gizmodo punks outed the name of the Apple Engineer who lost the phone for, as near as I could tell, no good reason other than to pile on, I lost all sympathy for them. This wasn't a whistle-blower story exposing corporate crime or government misdeeds. It was just a punk profiting off of another person's misfortune.

    Enjoy your interactions with the Criminal Justice System, Mr. Chen.

  • Re:Journalist? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pitchpipe (708843) on Monday April 26, 2010 @05:56PM (#31989898)

    Note that right now Apple isn't proven to have done anything at all. This story was all over the media, and the San Mateo DA may have decided to press charges without consulting with Apple, or being prompted by Apple to do so.

    Also note that I could have anything stolen that was worth $5000 and the best that I'd get out of the cops is a sympathetic look and some advice to check with my insurance.

  • Re:"journalist" (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Montezumaa (1674080) on Monday April 26, 2010 @05:58PM (#31989930)

    Are you intentionally stupid or are you just incapable of reading? The phone was lost, not stolen and as such, no laws that prohibit the purchase of known stolen property will not apply. Just because it is known to belong to someone else is not the standard for laws that are similar ones we have in Georgia. You have to know that items you purchased were stolen, not just lost.

    Company policy is not law either. Apple might not want their products to be leaking prior to their "magical" unveiling, but law could not care less. Aside from releasing trade secrets(such as the recipe for Coca-Cola), leaking new products is not a crime. To me, it sounds like the DA and law enforcement over there are both about to get in some amount of trouble over this.

    From the reporting of the story, if it proves to be absolutely true, the person that found the phone is not guilty of committing a crime either. He made multiple attempts to return the property, and Apple simply wrote him off. Once Apple started to demand their property again, then they are allowed to retrieve it(once it is proven to actually be Apple's property).

  • Re:"journalist" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:01PM (#31989994)
    Selling something that you know doesn't belong to you is against the law. Plain and simple.
    Buying something that you know doesn't belong to the person who's selling it is against the law. Plain and simple.

    If those concepts are foreign to you then please let us enjoy our country ... and you can enjoy yours (as long as someone doesn't sell it out from under you).
  • Re:Journalist? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by marphod (41394) <galens+slashdot@@@marphod...net> on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:01PM (#31989996)

    Is there a federal exemption to search and seizure of property of a journalist? no.

    Is there a state exemption in California to search and seizure of property of a journalist? Yes.

    Was the search warrant executed a warrant issued by a federal bench? No.

    Read the article and the response; the response cites California state law by statute. A simple web search will confirm that the quoted law is, in fact, accurate.

    To me, an educated layman, it seems obvious that the warrant was invalid. There may be new case law since 2006 that changes the legal precedent, but without that, the warrant is not valid, prima facia.

  • Re:iWarrant (Score:2, Insightful)

    by linhares (1241614) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:01PM (#31990000)
    1. go to Apple campus and lose my wiped-out phone there?

    2. claim Apple stole it from me?

    3. profit!!!

  • by wickerprints (1094741) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:02PM (#31990020)

    That's what it comes down to, really. Your First Amendment rights do not trump knowingly engaging in or abetting unlawful activity. Otherwise, you would have the media encouraging people to do illegal things, just so they could have their fifteen minutes of fame, then the "reporters" can protect them as confidential sources. Even if Gizmodo can make the case that they are journalists and deserve the protection of their sources, the problem is that they admitted they knowingly paid money to procure trade secrets. Would there have been any doubt about the legality of such an action had, say, Microsoft or Google bid on the phone instead of Gizmodo? Do you think a single one of their lawyers would have actually thought such a thing might be a good idea?

    Journalism used to be about uncovering truth. It doesn't mean journalists are magically immune from the law and are protected from indictment and prosecution should their methods of uncovering the truth involve illegal activities, such as knowingly purchasing stolen property. No reasonable person can believe that the person who originally obtained the phone made the appropriate effort to return it to Apple. And Gizmodo dismantled the phone, presumably to confirm it was made by Apple, and published that information once it was discovered that was the case. But the fact that they knew the name of the engineer who lost the phone, and knew he was an Apple employee, means they should not have needed to dismantle the phone in the first place to confirm its provenance.

    How hard would it have been for Gizmodo to call up Apple and ask "hey, did you lose a phone?" As much as I personally would have been interested in news about an iPhone 4G, even I'm not that incompetent. Then again, everyone knows such a device has been under development. They've released a new model every year around the same time. Just freaking wait and be patient like everyone else. It's just a PHONE for fuck's sake.

    Gizmodo = fucked. And deservedly so, for doing something so obviously stupid and illegal, then bragging about it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:02PM (#31990030)

    Read up a bit. It very obviously was theft under the legal definition of theft under California law.

    If the jackass who sold it had, say, left it with the bartender or simply taken the thing to apple then it wouldn't have been theft. Taking off with the device and then selling it is certainly theft.

  • Re:Journalist? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by countertrolling (1585477) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:05PM (#31990072) Journal

    Journalists have *more* rights than the rest of us. This is a good thing.

    The hell it is! Those rights should extend to everybody. There is such a thing as equal protection under the law. That is a legitimate entitlement we all have. No person or position should be granted "special" rights, of any kind. We are all the same here on the playing field, officers and men alike.

  • by nobodyman (90587) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:06PM (#31990080) Homepage

    First off, he *says* he called apple. Second, The law doesn't care who you call. What matters is that you return the item either to owner, the place you found it, or to the police. This guy did not of those things and then sold it for $5,000.

    Theft.

  • Re:Journalist? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Altus (1034) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:06PM (#31990088) Homepage

    Its unlikely that the guy who stole your $5,000 device is going to post a lengthy article about it. The police have almost no hope of recovering stolen goods but when somebody makes it this easy for them I would hope they would at least follow up.

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:06PM (#31990092)
    Being a journalist doesn't protect him from charges of receiving stolen property. However, they already had written evidence to convict him of that. The only reason to subpoena all computer data is to try to discover who gave him the phone. But in doing so, they are violating the confidentiality of the journalist's source, so journalistic privilege arguably applies to protecting the identity of the original finder of the phone.
  • by oldhack (1037484) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:08PM (#31990112)

    His life is not ruined. He won't win no medal, but he's a young engineer now with a lesson burned into his brain, and that's no reason for HR to blackball him.

    Gizmodo clowns, on the other hand...

    Interestingly, I think Gizmodo clowns unintentionally have done the guy a favor by publicizing his name - he would surely have been canned otherwise.

  • Re:Journalist? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush (643681) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:09PM (#31990138)

    The guy CALLED apple.

    Correction: Gizmodo claim that the person they bought the stolen property from had tried ringing Apple. It's not a fact. What we do know is that the person who took the iPhone from the bar, neither tried to find the owner via the bartender, nor the police.

    More to the point, we know that he SOLD the phone he didn't own to Gizmodo for $5000. This last point really should clue you in to the nature of the person in question.

    Your hatred of Apple must be pretty extreme if you become an apologist for thieves just to spite them.

  • Re:Journalist? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AvitarX (172628) <me@nOsPAM.brandywinehundred.org> on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:10PM (#31990146) Journal

    How quickly does property become abandoned?

    Where do you park your car?

  • by SteveWoz (152247) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:10PM (#31990148) Homepage

    Nothing indicated that they were trying to arrest Jason. They want info as to whom sold the found iPhone. That sounds more like a felony. Gizmodo was not trying to sell it or keep it. But is a source protected in such a case of a physical item being the 'leak'? My guess is that reporters are only protected from revealing sources of info where the original info is still in the hands of the owner.

  • by fork420 (452102) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:10PM (#31990156)
    Gruber didn't say that it was equal. It began as 'found', and became 'theft' when the jackass left with it, and then sold it. Seriously, would you leave a bar with an iphone you found there? If so, then you suck as much as that guy.
  • by unity100 (970058) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:11PM (#31990170) Homepage Journal
    the idiot LEFT IT ON THE BAR. it was FOUND. when they purchased it, probably they didnt even know which idiot left it in the bar.
  • Re:Journalist? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Graff (532189) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:13PM (#31990226)

    Also note that I could have anything stolen that was worth $5000 and the best that I'd get out of the cops is a sympathetic look and some advice to check with my insurance.

    Of course if what you had stolen was a $5000 TV then that's the end to the crime, just possibly breaking and entering and theft.

    On the other hand stealing a prototype that possibly contains trade secrets worth millions of dollars is a far different matter. Add to that the fact that they took it apart and published the information they found to everyone, including Apple's competitors, and then maybe you can see the difference between the two crimes.

  • Re:"journalist" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chaos Incarnate (772793) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:13PM (#31990228) Homepage
    Except the Gizmodo author wasn't the finder of the phone.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:14PM (#31990236)

    No cops investigating my neighbor's car that was stolen (in the ca bay area). These cops seem really motivated. Why? What's Jobs offering them that the average private citizen isn't?

  • by pydev (1683904) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:17PM (#31990288)

    Apple has a long history of suing people over trade secret violations

    Apple lost its trade secret protection when their employee left the phone at the bar. If someone had picked it up and reported on it there and then, Apple would have no legal recourse. It is not the responsibility of the world at large to protect Apple's trade secrets for them. The only thing that could result in a charge here is the fact that Gizmodo paid $5000 for the prototype.

  • Re:evidence (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mzs (595629) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:20PM (#31990352)

    How about emails that incriminate Jason, Jesus, or Denton that they did in fact know that the phone was stolen when they paid for it? That's a felony right there.

  • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:21PM (#31990370)

    Where is the crookery?

    Some selling stolen property is the criminal part here.

    "Under a California law dating back to 1872, any person who finds lost property and knows who the owner is likely to be but "appropriates such property to his own use" is guilty of theft. If the value of the property exceeds $400, more serious charges of grand theft can be filed. In addition, a second state law says any person who knowingly receives property that has been obtained illegally can be imprisoned for up to one year."

    Gawker threw out all the journalist reputation they may have built up by outing the guy who had lost the device in question. They posted his personal information in exchange for some page views.

  • by The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:21PM (#31990374)

    Lindsay Lohan steals an Escalade, goes on a high-speed chase up PCH, shows up at jail with a load of blow in her pants, and two years later the cops are all "hey, if you could show up for a deposition or something that would be, kind of, you know, cool and stuff."

    One hardware nerd loses a phone and suddenly it's a goddamned national disaster. ZOMGMANTHEBATTLESHIPS!

  • by Chyeld (713439) <chyeld&gmail,com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:24PM (#31990422)

    Actually since the source is protected by California law, they are actually probably going after Chen himself for receipt of stolen goods. While the phone might have been lost, the stories have made it fairly apparent that the seller had not followed the legal requirements for attempting to get it back to it's owner. If he hadn't and Chen was aware of this when he was buying/bidding for the phone, then that makes him knowingly receiving stolen goods.

  • by pydev (1683904) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:29PM (#31990492)

    Under California law, lost property over a given value (and a prototype iPhone certainly qualifies), you are obligated to make a credible effort to return it to the owner

    He did: he published the fact that he found an iPhone 4G prototype on Gizmodo in great detail, and as soon as Apple called, they got their prototype back.

    Neither the finder nor Gizmodo are obligated to respect Apple's trade secrets.

  • by linhares (1241614) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:31PM (#31990524)

    the "finder" did not: after all, he never talked to the BARTENDER!

    Does the word "BARTENDER" appear in CA law, as you are implying here? The guy called apple and they ignored him. Calling the police and saying "Good night sir, I found a phone here" would most likely to laughs and a gtfo request than otherwise. In fact, this is something you can do now, as soon as you wife/gfriend loses a phone behind her bed. Let's see what great actions the police will take there.

  • by cream wobbly (1102689) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:34PM (#31990570)

    Heck, I'll be sure never to attempt to return a lost phone to its owner in CA if you get pegged for being a thief when the owner refuses to claim it unless it hits the press...

    Throw it in the dumpster.

  • Re:Journalist? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cowscows (103644) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:34PM (#31990584) Journal

    A journalist purchased what he knew to be someone else's property, took it apart, and only gave it back a week later after the owner found out who had it because the journalist posted pictures of it on their website.

    Losing something in a bar does not mean you abandoned it. Gizmodo certainly knew that Apple would want their phone back immediately, and yet they still purchased it from someone with the intention of disassembling it and publishing information about it. And didn't attempt to return it until they started to realize what sort of trouble they were in.

    Apple certainly does make some dickhead moves, but the Gizmodo people are just as big a bunch of assholes in the case, and I don't know how you can honestly argue that they didn't knowingly purchase something that they shouldn't have had access to. They may have thrown together some twisted logic to convince themselves that it wasn't shady and most likely illegal, but apparently that logic hasn't worked so well on the cops.

  • by Cheech Wizard (698728) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:36PM (#31990614)
    Gizmodo was revealing Apple trade secrets and they knew it. Period. That's what this is about and we all know it. Gizmodo deserves what it gets.
  • Re:Seize Back! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:36PM (#31990618)

    Actually, the proper course is to sue the police for violating their rights as a publisher

    And yet, going directly after Apple somehow feels more proper, Apple being the root cause of the problem (which, incidentally, they caused themselves). Suing someone else for their own fuckup. What a bunch of lowlifes. They don't deserve this abuse of the legal system.

  • by dfghjk (711126) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:37PM (#31990636)

    "...and knowingly having purchased stolen property."

    I'm not getting how you concluded this part. Up until the time Gizmodo examined and concluded the device was actually Apple's property, they could not have known it was a lost prototype and who knows whether they had verified that a credible effort had not been made to return it.

  • Re:iWarrant (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HoppQ (29469) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:40PM (#31990686) Homepage

    1. go to Apple campus and lose my wiped-out phone there?

    2. Apple campus janitor puts it in their lost&found, notifies the police (or just sends it to the police's lost&found)
    3. If nobody collects (within whatever time lost&found store things, a couple weeks?), the janitor/Apple campus/police are one phone richer.
    4. Profit!

  • Re:Journalist? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by longacre (1090157) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:41PM (#31990698) Homepage
    First of all, you can't just claim you own something if you find it. They teach you this on Sesame Street: You have to either give it to the police to hold for 30 days or report it to the management of the place you found it. Selling something you do not rightfully own is illegal.

    This has nothing to do with the bad customer service stories. This incident easily cost Apple millions of dollars in lost sales as people who were going to buy iPhones between now and the summer will instead wait for the new version.
  • by linhares (1241614) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:46PM (#31990800)

    While the phone might have been lost, the stories have made it fairly apparent that the seller had not followed the legal requirements for attempting to get it back to it's owner.

    "Is this the police?"

    "Yeah what you want?"

    "Hi. I found a phone. It was working and I logged into facebook and everything; but now it's just dead."

    "What' you want son? Haven't got all night here."

    "Well I was thinking that you should send a car and open an investigation to return it to its rightful owner. I don't want to be called a thief or anything."

    "Hold on a sec. Charlie! CHAAAARLIIEE! Come here hear this one!"

  • When they posted the Apple Engineer's name and screen shots of his facebook page complete with picture I lost all sympathy for those bastards. Maybe a year in pound me in the ass prison is bad but afterwards...

    Ok, you are absolutely right and the person in questions deserves some jail time. But what the fuck is up with pound me in the ass prison glee?? Do you think that people going to jail (for purchasing stolen goods, mind you!), should be raped? Should we make this an official part of the jail sentence, to be fair?

  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:50PM (#31990870)

    They didn't buy the phone itself. They bought the story.

    1) Wrong. They paid $5000, and got the actual device itself.

    The finder wanted to return the phone to its rightful owner and couldn't confirm it was Apple and didn't trust that the bartender wouldn't just sell it once he realized it was valuable.

    2) A thief would say that. And we know he's a thief because he sold the device that he didn't actually own.

    When Gizmodo bought the story, he asked them to take on the task of returning the phone to it's rightful owner -- which they did. The phone was returned before the police were involved. Rather than entrusting the phone to a 3rd party such as the bartender at the bar where the phone was found, the finder believed a 3rd party like Gizmodo was more likely to be trustworthy and more likely to be able to ascertain the true owner. It's not an unreasonable assumption to have made.

    You're in fantasy land now. If the possessor of the phone's intention was to use Gizmodo to find the true owner of the phone, why did he ask and receive $5000 from Gizmodo?

    At any no time, as money was changing hands, did anyone believe that they owned the phone in question. Both parties understood the phone belonged to neither of them and that Gizmodo would take on the responsibility of returning the phone, which they did.

    iPhones are not designed to be opened by end users. Doing so can cause damage. Yet Gizmodo opened the case to take photographs. Thats no more the action of someone taking on a responsibility to return a phone, than the payment of $5000 was. Gizmodo's only concern was to buy a stolen phone so they could photograph is and make a story bout it. The offer to return it only came AFTER they published, at which point they weren't in a position NOT to offer to return it.

    Now here's your challenge as a prosecutor. Prove thats not true.

    The payment of $5000 for a phone that was not owned by the seller is plenty enough evidence to convict on. That much is clear even from what is publicly known. The search warrant may provide further evidence.

    Unless you can find video tape of Jason Chen accepting the phone and then exclaiming "Hell yeah, we totally own this phone now and do not intend to return it unless contacted by the lawyers of a large consumer device corporation. High Five!" then I suspect that's going to be a hard thing to prove. But of course, the standard IANAL disclaimer applies here.

    No kidding you're not a lawyer.

  • by mzs (595629) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:55PM (#31990974)

    That sounds a lot like what my 7 year old told me when I found the $20 bill that used to be in my wallet in her room, ie a bunch of baloney.

  • by Anne Thwacks (531696) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:57PM (#31990996)
    Unless Gismondo signed a "Non Disclosure Agreement" they are entitled to reveal "trade secrets". There is no more a law forbidding that than a law forbidding me to reveal where my cat hid the dead budgie.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:58PM (#31991004)

    If it was a trade secret, probably shouldn't have been off campus in a bar, huh?

    Seriously, is this story bringing out the worst Apple apologists? They're using the law to intimidate (again), because something didn't go their way. Steve Jobs is basically evil, and those of you with a huge confirmation bias need to check your heads.

  • by icebraining (1313345) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:59PM (#31991016) Homepage

    Or, he could just trust another 3rd party - the police.

  • BS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by saleenS281 (859657) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:59PM (#31991024) Homepage
    There's people getting scammed on the internet daily that have ALL of the information on the criminal at hand, and the police, 9 times out of 10, tell you it's a civil matter and that they can't help. I've experienced it first hand.

    Except in those cases, the "thief" doesn't actually give you your stuff back... Reality is, if this weren't' a large corporation who clearly influenced the raid, absolutely nothing would have happened from a criminal/law enforcement perspective.

    Name me *ONE* case of someone "stealing" $5,000 worth of goods (read: it was left somewhere by its rightful owner), returning it, then being raided by police.
  • by HeronBlademaster (1079477) <heron@xnapid.com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:00PM (#31991028) Homepage

    Rather than entrusting the phone to a 3rd party such as the bartender at the bar where the phone was found, the finder believed a 3rd party like Gizmodo was more likely to be trustworthy and more likely to be able to ascertain the true owner. It's not an unreasonable assumption to have made.

    His choices were more like "turn it in to the police and get a pat on the head (if that), or give it to Gizmodo and get a fat check".

    Gee, I wonder why he chose Gizmodo.

    At any no time, as money was changing hands, did anyone believe that they owned the phone in question.

    I don't think you understand how "selling stolen property" laws work. You don't get out of it just by saying "neither of us believed we were transferring ownership of the property in question". Or do you think the "I'm not guilty of selling stolen property - my buyer and I both knew the painting belongs to the museum!" excuse should fly?

    By your logic, it's not possible to be guilty of buying or selling stolen property unless you're actually innocent. In other words, you've got it exactly backward.

    If you know the device is not yours, and you give it to a third party in exchange for money - I don't believe for a second he would have given it to Gizmodo for free - then you've sold stolen property. It doesn't matter whether either party believes you're transferring ownership or not. The guy who found the phone shouldn't have given up after he couldn't get a hold of anyone at Apple who would know whether it was missing; he should have given it to the police.

  • by Chyeld (713439) <chyeld&gmail,com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:04PM (#31991092)

    "California law [citmedialaw.org] regulates what you can do when you find lost property in the state. Section 2080 of the Civil Code provides that any person who finds and takes charge of a lost item acts as "a depositary for the owner." If the true owner is known, the finder must notify him/her/it within a reasonable time and "make restitution without compensation, except a reasonable charge for saving and taking care of the property." Id. 2080. If the true owner is not known and the item is worth more than $100, then the finder has a duty to turn it over to the local police department within a reasonable time. Id. 2080.1. The owner then has 90 days to claim the property. Id. 2080.2. If the true owner fails to do so and the property is worth more than $250, then the police publish a notice, and 7 days after that ownership of the property vests in the person who found it, with certain exceptions. Id. 2080.3."

    That's what the law says. Is that what happened? No? Then maybe you shouldn't crack wise.

  • by DavidinAla (639952) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:06PM (#31991130)
    You can't possibly be stupid enough to think that making a perfunctory phone call (even if he's telling the truth) relieved him of the obligation not to sell someone else's property. That's not the way the law works. Whoever the thief was clearly knew what he had and he sold it to Gizmodo because he knew its value. An honest man would have at least given it to the bartender at the bar when it was found. Period.
  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:09PM (#31991170)
    Gizmodo didn't need to know it was Apple's phone. They knew that they were purchasing a device from someone that they knew was not the owner of the device. That's where the stolen property comes in. Having examined it they realized it was a prototype. A prototype's worth then makes it a felony. Yes, a regular iPhone is not worth a felony but prototypes are not regular iPhones. Typically prototypes cost tens of thousands to make because all the parts in one had to be custom-made and are not mass-produced thereby driving up the estimated value. And that's not including any trade secret violations.
  • Re:Journalist? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush (643681) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:10PM (#31991180)

    wait, so i find a hundred dollar bill on the floor of a bar. I look around, ask people near by, did you drop this? I wait, see if anyone is checking for the bill. I'm supposed to give it to the bartender, or go to the nearest police station to turn it in?

    Yes. Otherwise you are a thief. What exactly are you confused about? You seem to remember something about "Finder's keepers, losers weepers" from when you were a child? Time to grow up.

  • by iamhassi (659463) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:11PM (#31991208) Journal
    Just because you can't contact the owner doesn't mean you get to sell something that doesn't belong to you, otherwise every thief would just say "well I wrote them a letter! Not my fault they didn't get it.". If you find something you're suppose to try and contact the owner and if you can't turn it over to the police. Gizmodo is completely guilty of buying stolen goods. They knew without a doubt that the item they bought did not belong to the person they bought it from. That's the definition of receiving stolen goods.
  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:13PM (#31991264)

    I can't figure out what law giz was supposed to have broken? Phone wasn't stolen.

    According to CA law, selling it before giving it to the police and within 90 days while they try to contact the owner means it was stolen. Further, receiving stolen goods is also classified as theft. Now don't you think if you find an expensive device you should at least check the applicable law BEFORE you sell it. And if you find out someone has an expensive device that does not belong to them you should find out the law BEFORE you buy it?

    Giz bought it to confirm what it was, because that's what they do.

    Too bad that's a crime. Oh and publishing the info, probably also a violation of UTSA.

    And Apple made no effort to get it back.

    Actually the Apple employee who lost it went back to the bar, but the person who took it did not contact them or bring it back. As soon as Apple found out Gizmodo had it they formally requested it back. Gizmodo is screwed.

  • by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:18PM (#31991346)

    Is it stealing if you return a lost item to the owner before said owner reports it stolen?

    Because that's exactly what happened here.

    What kind of asshole reports a lost item as stolen after he gets it back?

  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:24PM (#31991450)

    Again, just a matter of perspective.

    No, it's a matter of law. Framing your excuse in just the right way doesn't generally get you off the hook.

  • by iamhassi (659463) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:24PM (#31991452) Journal
    "prove that's not true"

    dear /.er. I found your car keys so I drove your exotic sports car around for a few weeks to find you. I then sold it to a dealer who said they'd return it to you. They drove it, dismantled it, and published some photos and videos before they finally gave it back to you even though they knew it was yours the whole time. I wasn't selling the car, I was selling a story about the car. Prove that's not true.
  • by furball (2853) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:28PM (#31991510) Journal

    4) Apple rebuffs finder and does not attempt to recover or claim the property (at this point how can it be considered stolen???)

    How do we know this is true?

    The guy who found and sold the phone is one of the parties to that particular conversation. Gizmodo wasn't there. If Gizmodo is telling about these events, that's hearsay. It could be a complete fabrication. The only way of proving this is to go through Apple's call logs or testimony from the guy who found and sold the phone. None of us knows who that person is right now.

    If I was Gizmodo legal team, I'd make very certain that this event is true, correct, and provable.

  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:33PM (#31991606)

    They didn't buy the phone itself. They bought the story. The finder wanted to return the phone to its rightful owner and couldn't confirm it was Apple and didn't trust that the bartender wouldn't just sell it once he realized it was valuable. When Gizmodo bought the story, he asked them to take on the task of returning the phone to it's rightful owner -- which they did. The phone was returned before the police were involved.

    All of which might have been plausible if the finder did not SELL the iPhone to Gizmodo. Don't trust the bartender? Give it to Apple. Not sure it was Apple, give it to the police. Buying the story would have been if they paid $5K to see the phone, take pictures, and interview the finder. Taking possession of the phone translates to receiving stolen property in many jurisdictions regardless of their intent.

    At any no time, as money was changing hands, did anyone believe that they owned the phone in question. Both parties understood the phone belonged to neither of them and that Gizmodo would take on the responsibility of returning the phone, which they did.

    Yet money changed hands. If you were a law enforcement officer and you see one person give another person money in exchange for a stereo on a street corner, what do you think? Now it turns out that the stereo was stolen but both parties claim that they were only trying to get it to the rightful owner. Do you believe them? I wouldn't.

    Rather than entrusting the phone to a 3rd party such as the bartender at the bar where the phone was found, the finder believed a 3rd party like Gizmodo was more likely to be trustworthy and more likely to be able to ascertain the true owner. It's not an unreasonable assumption to have made.

    Yet the finder and Gizmodo didn't think about turning it into the police? Why bother with another 3rd party. Why take it apart and post pictures all over the web? Why research and name the person who might have lost it? Take it to the police.

    Now here's your challenge as a prosecutor. Prove thats not true

    The law only says the prosecutor has to prove neither the finder nor Gizmodo were rightful owners of the phone and that both parties knew that they were not the rightful owners. The law also has to prove that money and possession changed hands. Thus Gizmodo received stolen property. Now you could argue that Gizmodo didn't have mens rea and that they really wanted to be noble. It is however, Gizmodo's responsibility to demonstrate this as a defense, not the prosecution's

    Unless you can find video tape of Jason Chen accepting the phone and then exclaiming "Hell yeah, we totally own this phone now and do not intend to return it unless contacted by the lawyers of a large consumer device corporation. High Five!" then I suspect that's going to be a hard thing to prove. But of course, the standard IANAL disclaimer applies here.

    Look at what Gizmodo did and did not do after receiving possession. They published an article generating lots of visits. They named the person that lost it (after a great deal of research). Gizmodo says that it tried to contact Apple. The prosecution will look into that. But they clearly did other things besides trying to find the true owner.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:41PM (#31991726)

    They're trying to defend themselves by claiming that they have a right to gather news from anonymous sources based on a previous court case but this is totally different from the case I heard about. In the previous case I heard mentioned, the news agency only received information, not property and didn't even pay money for it.

    And if the physical object had been secret pentagon papers? What if the physical object was evidence of patent infringement? How about a physical object which proved a murder suspect innocent? Are these cases where a journalist may be able to pay an anonymous source for a physical object in pursuit of a story?

  • by pipedwho (1174327) on Monday April 26, 2010 @08:02PM (#31992034)

    Bzzzt. Thanks for playing.

    He sold it for $5000 to a third party with no control over what they did with the device. Once the phone had been removed from the premises at which it was 'found', the best people to get it back to the rightful owner would have been the police.

  • by Shadow Wrought (586631) * <shadow@wrought.gmail@com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @08:24PM (#31992376) Homepage Journal
    This isn't not contacting the owner. This is actually contacting the owner and being told to go pound sand. Gizmodo has done an excellent job of laying all of this out on their site. Whether you believe them is up to you, but you should at least read their documentation. First.

    I studied criminal law in California in college. There is no crime without intent. If you do not intend to deprive someone of their property indefinitely, then you are not committing a crime. If I find your wallet and contact you, twice, and you REFUSE to accept it back, how am I now a thief? You have KNOWINGLY abaonded your property, the same as if you threw it away. The crux of your argument is that you can drop something, have someone try and return it, and after refusing it back, charge them with a crime. Is that really the world in which you want to live?

    If it was a Microsoft prototype there would be none of this defensive posturing. Simply put, this is just another large corporation abusing its position in the community because it got caught with its pants down.
  • by peacefinder (469349) <alan,dewitt&gmail,com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @08:30PM (#31992444) Journal

    "He reached for a phone and called a lot of Apple numbers and tried to find someone who was at least willing to transfer his call to the right person, but no luck. No one took him seriously and all he got for his troubles was a ticket number."

    That's a start - and more effort than I had previously heard about - but still is not really enough considering what the finder had. Not because it was some precious unreleased Apple device, but because it was a GSM cellphone. A finder could easily have popped out the SIM card to look at its labeling.* From there, a finder could have contacted the carrier and asked that the carrier request the subscriber to give him a call for return of the device. It defies belief that none of these experienced tech journalists would have realized this possibility existed.

    The finder and the journalists had ample opportunity to do this right, but they chose not to. Now the consequences are upon them, and it's hard for me to work up much sympathy.

    [*: Given there's only one carrier in the US which is known to use that SIM form factor, it shouldn't have been much of a challenge to discover the carrier even absent a SIM label.]

  • Re:Yea but (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mjwalshe (1680392) on Monday April 26, 2010 @08:33PM (#31992498)
    so and how much ad revenue does 8 milion page hits get you the clickthrough rates will be very low they might well have recouped the $5000 cost of the doddgy phone but there lawyers bills are going to far outweigh any ad revenue.
  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Monday April 26, 2010 @08:50PM (#31992692)

    BasilBrush- your story doesn't add up at all. Gizmodo had no reason to ever own the phone. He didn't need to own the phone to get pictures and once he had pictures he certainly couldn't have ever owned it so he MUST have purchased the story rights only. The fact he possessed it doesn't mean he owned it.

    Oh, we know none of them owned it. It was never owned by anyone but Apple. The fact that you don't own something you have in possession is not a defence against having stolen it, nor having bought stolen property. It's NEVER owned by those people.

    The fact that money changed hands in one direction, and stolen property came the other way is quite enough to establish the fact that they bought stolen goods. Regardless of whether they were eventually going to return it to Apple.

    If I steal your car / "find it", pass it onto another person, who then promises to give it to you if you go pick it up, 4 weeks after it was stolen. 1 week after it was sold. Having been dismantled in the meantime, and used to make money in a photoshoot. That still counts as theft and buying stolen property.

  • by dissy (172727) on Monday April 26, 2010 @08:55PM (#31992730)

    He did his due dilligence, and got no response whatsoever. So nothing illegal happened here.

    Your list does not contain the final act that is required for due dilligence (and to not be breaking the law), which is to give it to the police.

    That is the ONLY acceptable step after attempting to return it, even if you skip attempting to return it.

    If the final step is not returning it to the police, you committed a crime.

    Crimes are indeed illegal there.

  • by Neurotic Nomad (1222606) on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:01PM (#31992796) Homepage Journal

    Then I suggest you find the inconsistancies.

    I prefer it the way it is: The police are investigating inconsistencies.

    Finally, would your response be the same if this was Microsoft?

    Yes. If someone found a super-secret XBox Phone on the floor of a bar disguised as a regular SideKick and took it home, took off it's disguise, discovered it was a super-secret prototype, called MS tech support in a paper-thin-CYA move, then sold it to Gizmodo... I would feel the exact same way I do now. Especially if they found (and kept!!) the name and work information of the actual owner of the phone on it

  • by crossmr (957846) on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:05PM (#31992838) Journal

    We only have Gizmodo's word for that. This is a site that seems to specialize in stealing stories from others to generate ad revenue. Other than this iphone crap, 9 out of 10 front page gizmodo stories are via via stories. When I saw these stories I was shocked to learn that Gizmodo actually made their own content.

    They also claimed this guy's facebook app was on there and logged in. Did he try calling any numbers listed "home", "parents"? Publicly naming the guy was a dick move, and as others have pointed out they have more options to try and return it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:10PM (#31992908)

    I'm just wondering how everyone can take the story Gizmodo posted as the incorruptible truth when Gizmodo has an obvious interest in making themselves appear to be ethically sound and "the Good Guys". The truth is always multifaceted, and there are WAY too many people taking Gizmodo's stories as the gospel.

  • by pnewhook (788591) on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:18PM (#31992990)

    I studied criminal law in California in college. There is no crime without intent. If you do not intend to deprive someone of their property indefinitely, then you are not committing a crime. If I find your wallet and contact you, twice, and you REFUSE to accept it back, how am I now a thief?

    You obviously didn't do very well in college law since California law (and many other states btw) say that if you find something of value (over $250) you must turn it over to the police. They did not. It is also illegal to purchase stolen goods, which Gizmodo did.

    Gizmodos actions were clearly illegal.

  • by MacAndrew (463832) on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:28PM (#31993098) Homepage

    I think Gizmodo's fear is entirely real. Their letter when they returned the phone was hilarious in a sad way. Apple gets ample publicity, they don't need crap like this. Besides, the prototype was UGLY! And didn't work. I have some serious issues with Apple like overly agressive legal actions, but I don't buy that they did this. I predict Gizmodo is going to get it hard. At the least, they're going to be very unwelcome at Apple.

    As I said above, enforcing tech rights is very much in the Valley's interests. This is no stolen car, this is a multimillion-dollar gadget and huge investment (that doesn't save lives or anything but ... it's Jesus 4.0). Other tech companies are going to want Gizmodo hung out to dry, to protect their interests.

    Also, Apple *can't* stop the prosecution unless they confess. It's the prosecutor who brings or drops charges, not the victim, though for most things they don't pursue something the victim doesn't want to pursue (not of necessity -- the prosecutor can press on and if desired force the victim to testify, which may be important, and controversial, for certain crimes like rape).

  • by synthesizerpatel (1210598) on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:42PM (#31993262)

    No. Due diligence would have been contacting the person who lost the iphone, which he had information for -- including the phone number, name, and facebook page of. Or dropping by the police station, filing a report with them and giving them the prototype.

    The guy who did this knew exactly what he was doing -- gizmodo knew exactly what they were doing.

    If you ask me, this is sweet karma for Gizmodo posting the name of the guy who lost it in the first place.

    If they knew who owned it, they'd also know they don't have permission to take it apart and inspect it you'd think. But they knew that too.

  • by pacergh (882705) on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:40PM (#31993792)

    Due diligence, absolutely!

    After all, he gave it to the bar for its lost and found.

    Oh, wait, he didn't. He just took it.

    Oh, but he called the bar later to see if the guy had been looking for it!

    Oh, wait, he didn't. He called two news outlets to see if they wanted to buy it.

    Clearly Gizmodo's source stole the phone. Given the amount the phone is worth, this is likely a felony charge. Add in some possible industrial sabotage or other statutory crimes, the thief is in trouble if he is found out. Hope he spent that $5k on some tickets out of the country.

    The question is whether Gizmodo can be considered on the hook. They had to knowingly receive stolen goods.

    This is a difficult question to answer. There are a lot of inferences that must be made. A jury could probably go either way, but my gut tells me they'd get off.

    Still, it is likely there is enough to get this to the jury. The calculus is do you want to put your trust in twelve people, or plea out?

    And Gizmodo can't rely on the First Amendment. This isn't stalking a celebrity like Gawker's used to.

    Cry me a river about bloggers as journalists. You want to be called a journalist? Fine. Have the nuts to go to jail to cover a source. Also, have the ethics to cover a story like this properly.

    Being a journalist comes with duties and responsibilities. If you don't want to take on those burdens, then you can't hide behind the protections journalists receive.

  • by Rakshasa Taisab (244699) on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:48PM (#31993858) Homepage

    There's a difference between:

    'Oh hey Apple Random Support guy; I found an iPhone lying around in a bar and was wondering if you guys are interested in getting it back?'

    And...

    'Hello, is this Apple Corporate Headquarters? Yeah, it seems I have come into the possession of what seems like a prototype iPhone belonging to an employee named Gray Powell. Was just wondering if you guys were interested in getting it back.

  • Re:Yea but (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Michael Kristopeit (1751814) on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:53PM (#31993896)
    $11 CPM?! even in the .com boom days that's a ridiculously high number.

    8 million hits might have fetched them $10-12k max.

  • by pacergh (882705) on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:57PM (#31993932)

    You took a criminal justice class on crime and think you understand criminal law?

    You are correct. Generally crimes require intent. Even so, some crimes are strict liability crimes and require no intent. These are typically citation crimes (like speeding, or parking tickets).

    Here, this crime requires intent. What you don't understand is what meets this intent requirement.

    For example, what are the required elements of the crime of theft? Taking the property of another person without permission or consent.

    But we still need intent. Adding intent might leave us with something like this: Knowingly taking the property of another person without permission or consent.

    But then, there are also different levels of intent. For example, perhaps we don't want the standard for intent to be knowingly. Perhaps we want it to be purposefully. This is a stronger requirement: Not only did you need to know, but you had to do it with purpose. This is akin to premeditation.

    Or, perhaps we want a lesser standard. Recklessly taking the property of another person without permission or consent. Or negligently taking it.

    But all of this is academic and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. So let me explain how intent might be found here.

    A phone is sitting on a bar stool. It is not your phone. You know it is not your phone. You do not see the owner of the phone nearby. So, you take the phone.

    The phone didn't fall into your pocket on its own. It wasn't there by accident. You intended to bend over and grasp the phone with your hand, carry it out of the bar, and back to your residence. You intended to do all of that.

    So, there you go, your basic intent. It exists. Do me a favor -- if you get in trouble, call a lawyer and don't rely on your undergrad criminal justice course.

    The real fun begins when they have to make the evidence of intent meet the standard for the specific crime. (The purposeful, knowing, reckless, negligent spectrum.) I doubt many people will view the original taker as innocent considering he didn't give it to the bar, didn't call the bar later, didn't leave it with the police, and instead sold it to someone for $5000.

    But, then again, maybe someone at Gawker thought they understood "intent" because they, too, had taken an undergrad criminal justice course.

  • by jeff4747 (256583) on Monday April 26, 2010 @11:13PM (#31994060)

    Really?

    You're more afraid of a technology company that has a pretty small market share than you are of a tech behemoth that broke US law to sell computers to a foreign nation to support their nuclear weapons program?

    I believe I have to question your priorities.

  • by jpmorgan (517966) on Monday April 26, 2010 @11:16PM (#31994076) Homepage

    Actually, no. The law on the subject makes no reference to the police, and the police are not obliged to serve as a giant lost+found service.

  • by mysidia (191772) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @12:49AM (#31994924)

    Well, I am not so sure an honest person would necessarily give it to the bartender. But an honest person would not be attempting to profit from someone else's loss or profit from their finding the item, by exchanging it for cash, to someone who has little serious motive to rapidly return it to the owner, and serious motive to potentially do something damaging or destructive to the item, Oh, like what?

    Like Dissecting it. One of the more destructive things a dishonest or cruel person would do to someone else's property.

    First of all, it is not legal to sell a piece of property you do not own. It means that in effect the 'sale' never happened, and no transfer of ownership actually occured. To tell the recipient you will sell them this item for $X would therefore be criminal sale of stolen property, and fraud, due to the misrepresentation.

    Gizmodo knew or should have known that the item was an Apple prototype, and Apple did not legally confer ownership of the item, or authorize anyone to sell it.

    Disassembling the item is not required to return it to its rightful owner.

    Disassembling causes damage to the item.

    Disassembling does not assist in returning the item.

    Disassembling is profitable and serves the self-interests of a news org that came into possession of the item.

    Therefore, I am left with the conclusion that Gizmodo possesed the item for their own benefit, and returning the item without damaging it was not their priority.

    This, by the way, makes Gizmodo dishonest.

    I think there is a good chance also that Gizmodo's actions may have been unlawful.

    I would hope that they would get some leniency, as I consider Gizmodo to sometimes publish some useful content.

    However, they deserve a slap on the wrist, all the same.

    The rights of journalists to say anything and not disclose sources of information are not a blank cheque

    In this case, physical goods changed hands.

    Stolen physical items are not speech.

    An iPhone is not information. It is not like a source sending a journalist a thumb drive of information leaked from Apple.

    (Well, assuming the sender owned the physical thumb drive)

    Physical items are governed by separate laws.

    Bank robbers cannot crash at a journalist's house or hand $$$ to a journalist for safe keeping. Journalists won't be immune to the search warrants that ensue as a result.

    The Gizmodo situation seems very similar to that, except the 'bank robber' in this case was an iPhone robber.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @12:54AM (#31994950)

    Phone number:
    (510) 501-1829

    Spouse:
    Dixie Chen (née Xua)

    Current address:
    40726 Greystone Terrace
    Fremont, CA 94538

    Year home built:
    2007

    Assessed home value:
    $580,000 (note: home was refinanced January 19, 2010)

    Annual property tax:
    $5,999.08

    Note:
    Jason, if it was okay to post personal information about Gray Powell to protect his job, it's okay for anybody else to post your information to protect you from getting fired. It's only fair that we do this for you!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @01:28AM (#31995164)

    The important news here is the (routine?) overly-broad search warrant which cripples and punishes the suspect _IN ADVANCE_ of any hearing or trial.

    * Driver's license - suspect can no longer (legally) drive.

    * All IDs -suspect can no longer access his/her bank accounts, so suspect can't bail him/herself out of jail, can't pay rent/mortgage, nor pay bills, nor pay a lawyer, nor buy food.

    * Credit cards - same as above.

    * Keys - suspect can't get into house or apartment, or car.

    etc...

    (supporting data)
    Follow TFA and look at the search warrant's Appendix B, which describes what is to be seized. It reads, in part,

    "5. Any article of personal property tending to establish the identity of persons who have dominion and control over the premises and vehicles to be searched, including all keys to the described location and vehicles, rent receipts, utility bills, telephone bills, addressed mail, purchase receipts, sales receipts, and articles of personal property tending to show ownership of vehicles including, but not limted to vehicle pink slips and vehicle registration. All personal property and documents used by the persons named as means of identification, including but not limited to driver's licenses, credit cards, passports, social security cards, and photographs relative to the person(s) described."

  • Re:Yea but (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Michael Kristopeit (1751814) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @02:00AM (#31995392)
    i had excellent karma, then suggested that educators paying children cash to read books was a cowardly last ditch effort by teachers unable or unwilling to do their jobs.

    i defended my position and was further moderated into karma:terrible land... makes me wonder if this moderation system is broken. there should be a limit to the negative potential per thread or even per story... otherwise, discussion on hot topic issues is too dangerous if you at all respect the "karma" variable.

    anyways, in the late 90s i ran a few 1M+ daily sites and even then $10+ CPM was unheard of. i always used a 3rd party though, so maybe direct sales have higher rates, but i suspect it all evens out after you are done paying your sales team and lawyers and chasing advertisers down to pay their bills, etc...

  • by ZachPruckowski (918562) <zachary.pruckowski@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @02:15AM (#31995488)
    Yeah, because he called their customer support line. It seems silly to me to argue that some first-level CS representative in Bangalore working off a script qualifies as an official Apple representative. They had the name of the employee the phone belonged to, and you can Google for Apple's address pretty easily. Stick it in a manila envelope and ship it to them with a bill for the postage.
  • by ZachPruckowski (918562) <zachary.pruckowski@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @02:18AM (#31995516)
    So if I con some Customer Service rep in Bangalore into saying that I'm the true and rightful heir of Walt Disney, then they have to turn over the keys to the castle?
  • by Wovel (964431) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @02:53AM (#31995710) Homepage

    You clearly have no concept of the law, what agency is or really what you are talking about at all.

  • by pacergh (882705) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @07:17AM (#31997156)

    No, it isn't important for intent. You can't intentionally do something (take a phone) and then undue that intent by trying to give it back.

    "But officer, clearly I don't have criminal intent. Sure, I pulled that trigger, but after he was shot I tried really, really hard to keep him from dying!"

    What those actions do is go towards his purposeful, knowing, reckless, negligent mental state. And even in that case, it's likely not enough.

    You keep confusing mental state with intent. It's something first year law students do all the time. Doesn't mean it's not an important distinction.

  • by SpectreBlofeld (886224) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @10:36AM (#31999370)

    I'm pretty anti-Apple... but Apple isn't calling the shots, here. It's the state that is prosecuting, not Apple. Gizmodo bought a stolen device, blogged about it to the world for pagehits, and, worst of all, posted the poor guy's name and photo who lost the device. I don't see why you think this thread is bringing out Apple apologists. Gizmodo did a sleazy, illegal thing, and that would be true if the company involved were Palm, Nokia, Microsoft, whatever. Hating on Giz for this doesn't equal love for Apple.

  • by jaysones (138378) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @04:21PM (#32004232)
    How do you recommend they field test a new cell phone? Only on the Apple campus? I'm fine with being called an apologist for people who don't want their lost or stolen items sold by whoever happens to stumble along.

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