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Crime Iphone The Courts Apple Your Rights Online

Judge Orders Gizmodo Search Warrant Unsealed 526

Posted by Soulskill
from the plot-thickens dept.
gyrogeerloose writes "The same judge who issued the warrant to search Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's apartment has now ordered it unsealed, ruling against the San Mateo County district attorney's office which had argued that unsealing the documents may compromise the investigation." You can read the entire affidavit here (PDF). It has a detailed description of the police investigation that led to the seizure of Chen's computers. It turns out Steve Jobs personally requested that the phone be returned, prompting Gizmodo's Brian Lam to try negotiating for a public acknowledgment that the phone was real. Apple was tipped off to the man who found/stole the prototype by his roommate.
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Judge Orders Gizmodo Search Warrant Unsealed

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  • best of my knowledge.

    There's the problem.

  • Re:Hrmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:25PM (#32214052)

    I'm sure getting the house raided and the guy near arrested tops that.

    Not according to Steve Jobs ;-)

    She did it to avoid getting caught up in the rest of this sht. Seems like she was the only one who thought that this could come back to bite them in the ass. She was right.

  • Where on Earth did they get $100 US Treasury notes?! Some fives were issued in the sixties, but all I have in my pocket is this Federal Reserve junk.

    -Peter

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:27PM (#32214084)

    Yea, I think its pretty clear what the journalist did was unethical. But to his defense he can claim he was trying to verify ownership of the item. Just because Apple claimed they wanted it doesn't initially mean it was theirs; it could have been a forgery (which Apple may have wanted, but not necessarily their property).

  • Re:Roommates (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:28PM (#32214092) Homepage
    I prefer not to live with people who have no problem with "finding" other peoples' property. You have to invest in big locks.
  • by AdmiralXyz (1378985) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:35PM (#32214176)

    It turns out Steve Jobs personally requested that the phone be returned, prompting Gizmodo's Brian Lam to try negotiating for a public acknowledgment that the phone was real.

    Let me make sure I understand this: these guys were in possession of stolen property, and they tried to negotiate conditions for its return? Gizmodo, you run a decent gadget blog, but Jesus Christ you need better lawyers. You are about to be one-two punched by the law, and you have no one to blame but yourselves.

  • Pretty .. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AnonymousClown (1788472) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:35PM (#32214184)

    Gizmodo dropped a bombshell on the gadget world April 19 with a detailed look at the iPhone prototype, which an Apple employee named Robert “Gray” Powell had lost at a bar.

    Does anyone else think this whole thing is pretty fucking ridiculous for a lost prototype by a careless worker? A CELL PHONE prototype - not plans for a nuke or plans for a sub or for a stealth fighter - a stupid fucking cell phone.

    A young man is in a shit load of legal problems because the cops think A STUPID FUCKING CELL PHONE is important. This STUPID FUCKING CELL PHONE is more important than the crimes going on in their area. If I were a victim of a violent crime in that area, I'd be throwing bags of dogshit at the cops and at the prosecutor.

    Really, does anyone else think this is an idiotic waste of police and tax payer money to "protect" the property rights of some corporation?

    There are many people who really need to get their priorities in order.

    STUPID FUCKING CELL PHONE.

  • Re:Pretty .. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush (643681) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:41PM (#32214242)

    A young man is in a shit load of legal problems because the cops think A STUPID FUCKING CELL PHONE is important. This STUPID FUCKING CELL PHONE is more important than the crimes going on in their area.

    Whilst you and your hoodie friends might not realise it, stealing a cell phone *is* a crime.

  • Re:Pretty .. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mjwalshe (1680392) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:42PM (#32214262)
    so its trade secret and prototypes of new tech do have a considerable value hers a clue SV's major industry is tech and there are entities that go in for industrial espionarge.
  • Re:Hrmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tomhudson (43916) <barbara DOT huds ... a-hudson DOT com> on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:42PM (#32214264) Journal

    ... and because they cooperated over and above the requirements of the actual search warrant, at other locations.

    Read the part where the cops were allowed a warrantless entry into 247 Hillview. Dumb move. Hogan, by cooperating with the cops, ended up getting his own cell phone seized. He also ended up implicating himself. No warrant, no search. No statements unless legal counsel is present, who will tell you to SHUT YOUR F*ING MOUTH! Because nothing you say can be used to help you, but it can and will be used against you, as this case demonstrates.

    Not to mention that you can't use a digital camera to "make a copy of the phone". It's a digital camera, not a replicator.

  • Re:Hrmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:45PM (#32214300)
    From TFA:

    Martinson [the roommate] turned Hogan in, because Hogan had plugged the phone into her laptop in an attempt to get it working again after Apple remotely disabled it. She was convinced that Apple would be able to trace her Internet IP address as a result. "Therefore she contacted Apple in order to absolve herself of criminal responsibility," according to the detective who wrote the affidavit.

    Seems to me that her roommates are the ones acting in bad faith here by using her computer while dealing with something that is obviously of shady legal ground.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:45PM (#32214302)

    "But to his defense he can claim he was trying to verify ownership of the item."

    No he can't. He specifically requested that the recognition be made *public*. Ownership could easily be verified privately, and even this was unnecessary because Gizmodo had already established to their own satisfaction that it really was an Apple device. He wanted *public* recognition for his own personal gain, and he suggests that he is unwilling to return property that he knows belongs to Apple unless he gets that recognition.

    So in summary:
    1. An Apple employee lost a prototype at a bar
    2. A college student obtained the phone, became aware of its owner by looking at the Facebook app on the phone, yet made no effort to contact the owner. He further violated California law by failing to turn it over to the bar's proprietor (the place where the true owner was most likely to look), the police, or make truly reasonable attempts to contact Apple. Therefore, under California law, THIS WAS A STOLEN PHONE.
    3. Gizmodo purchased the phone with the obvious hope that it was in fact stolen (in the sense that they hoped they would be able to discern that it truly belonged to Apple and would be able to use it for their own benefit before returning it.) After discerning that it belonged to Apple, they published information that was highly damaging to Apple's sales and their advantage over their competitors. Even though they were admittedly SURE that it was an Apple product, they were hesitant to return it until they got PUBLIC (not PRIVATE) acknowledgment, once again for their own personal benefit.

    Solution? Asshole student who found the phone goes to prison. Asshole "journalist" who bought a device with the hope that it was stolen and the intent to use it for his own benefit goes to prison. Gawker Media is held liable for civil damages to Apple--likely they go bankrupt because of it.

    They're all criminals, they should all pay.

  • by Estanislao Martínez (203477) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:46PM (#32214324) Homepage

    But to his defense he can claim he was trying to verify ownership of the item.

    Except that they knew it was Apple's already, so the claim is simply bullshit.

  • Re:Pretty .. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pclminion (145572) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:51PM (#32214388)

    Whilst you and your hoodie friends might not realise it, stealing a cell phone *is* a crime.

    A crime that deserves worldwide news coverage that goes on for weeks and weeks? Please.

    Next week, maybe we'll see 5,000 stories on Google news about how somebody stole a lawnmower.

  • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:52PM (#32214396)

    Before you can call it stolen property you need to confirm that it is actually something that was owned by the person claiming it was stolen.

    There's was a big fucking Apple logo on the back, I think it's safe to say it was Apple's phone since no phone like that was supposed to exist. Second, there's a world of difference between proving that the phone belongs to Apple and what Gizmodo was asking for, which was a public announcement that the phone is theirs. That of course, would have done more financial damage to apple by raising the profile of this case even further.

  • by Above (100351) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:52PM (#32214408)

    The guy who stole/found the phone doesn't look too good from this report, but remember when Gizmodo was talking to him they didn't have Apple's side, or a full police report. They believed the guy tried to return it to Apple. If he didn't, that's on him, not Gizmodo. In that sense I think the receiving stolen property charge is bogus, they didn't know it was stolen, and indeed, even based on what the guy did I'm finding hard to believe it was stolen. Should he have made a better effort to return it to the police or Apple, probably, but at the root it sounds like he did find it.

    However, it's clear to me where the Gizmodo guys went wrong was to disassemble the device. Had they taken pictures of it intact, put it on their blog and said "can anyone help us find the rightful owner" they would be making an attempt to return the device in the same condition they found it. I think the journalism shield laws can and should have protected them from the trade secret charge. But on the damaging the property, they are out there all on their own. There's no reasonable way to think disassembling it would have told you more about who owned the phone, there was simply no reason to do that. Even with pictures of just the outside of the device they still would have had one heck of a scoop.

    I do think the most ludicrous claim is that this cost apple millions of dollars in lost sales. This didn't hurt Apple sales one dime. This likely boosted interest in the next generation phone. It's totally made up solely to make law enforcement think the case was worth pursuing, and I wish law enforcement would take a more skeptical eye of such intangible damages.

    So, the guy who found it, probably not guilty of theft in my mind, but probably guilty of not trying to return the property, which I'm sure is a crime somehow. Gizmodo, probably guilty only of damaging the device, they shouldn't have tried to open it.

    All things considered some very poor decision making all the way around.

  • Re:Pretty .. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by abigsmurf (919188) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:54PM (#32214418)
    I disagree. I think it's very important that the baseline of what it acceptable, ethical journalism is made clear.

    Today it's a prototype phone left on a barstool, sold to a tech blog, tommorrow it's Lindsay Lohan's pickpocketed Cellphone sold to TMZ so they can rifle through her text messages and voicemail.

    Likewise the concept of 'finders keepers' needs to be constantly debunked as theivery. (Car analogy alert). If someone finds my car keys, I don't want them to drive it around for a week before returning it to me (after I go to a fair amount of effort to track it down)
  • Re:Pretty .. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:55PM (#32214444)
    So, the people doing this aren't the regular police, anyway - it's some sort of a high-tech taskforce, which I guess is appropriate to have in and around Silicon Valley.

    Under CA law, it was stolen. Seems pretty cut and dried. There are things you have to do before you can just sell stuff you find lying around - give to the barkeep, successfully contact the owner, and then give to the police for 90 days.

    This is a top-secret prototype for a business worth $13B last year. You could buy several small countries with that sort of cash - of course it's worth the police attention.
  • Re:wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gnasher719 (869701) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:56PM (#32214448)

    Please tell how you would go about putting a value on a prototype.

    Well, Gizmodo paid $8500 for a _stolen_ prototype, opening them up for all kinds of risks. How much would Apple have received if they had started an auction for one iPhone prototype to the highest bidder? There were offers from other outfits for $10,000 (which were retracted when these guys figured out the phone was stolen). So obviously Apple had no intention to sell that prototype, but they could easily have sold it for say $20,000 to $50,000.

    Or lets say Apple has a big event when the next iPhone is released, and one lucky journalist in the audience wins a real iPhone prototype (no trade secret anymore because it is the event of the actual release, just the rarity). You could probably sell that prototype for a few thousand.

  • Oh, I understand (Score:1, Insightful)

    by AnonymousClown (1788472) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:58PM (#32214474)
    A corporate trade secret is worth more than catching murderers and rapists. Got it.

    A prototype that I seriously doubt has any custom tech designed (Apple uses mostly off the shelf stuff, get over it) is more important than finding some missing child.

    Gotcha.

  • by Achromatic1978 (916097) <robert AT chromablue DOT net> on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:58PM (#32214476)

    There's was a big fucking Apple logo on the back

    Oh, well, if there was an Apple logo on the back!

    You heard him, all you millions of people who think you own an iPhone, or iPod, or Mac Book Pro... if it's got "a big fucking Apple logo on the back", it's reasonable to assume it belongs to Apple.

  • by Estanislao Martínez (203477) on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:00PM (#32214496) Homepage

    Before you can call it stolen property you need to confirm that it is actually something that was owned by the person claiming it was stolen.

    No. If the circumstances would have led a reasonable person to conclude that the item they were buying did not belong to the seller, nor that the seller was an agent of its owner, then they were buying stolen goods. Whether the owner has claimed it was stolen is just irrelevant--the owner doesn't even need to be aware that they've lost the item.

    Think about it. You go on a backpacking trip to Europe, and your uncle the drunk stays at your house in the meantime. Some dude steals your car and abandons it at an isolated road, and your uncle doesn't even notice. Another guy finds your car, finds identification that ties the car to you in the glovebox, and drives it to your home to return it to you. But when they get there, your drunken uncle tells him that you don't have a car, and to fuck off. Does the guy now get to sell your car?

    In the end, Gizmodo reported that they bought a phone for $5,000 from a guy that they knew neither owned it nor was an agent of the owner. That's basically an admission of a felony.

  • by gnasher719 (869701) on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:03PM (#32214514)

    Jobs is going to end up (if not already) looking like a real jerk in this whole case. He just needs to swallow his pride and leave well enough alone. Apple will gain nothing by taking revenge on these people. And it is revenge. Sad.

    The thief, Brian Hogan, was asked by his friends to return the phone, because the loss would likely destroy the career of Gray Powell. His answer: "Sucks for him. He lost his phone. Shouldn't have lost his phone." So to Brian Hogan I would say "Sucks for you. You stole the phone. Shouldn't have stolen the phone".

  • by dangitman (862676) on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:06PM (#32214554)

    Before you can call it stolen property you need to confirm that it is actually something that was owned by the person claiming it was stolen. I don't care how over inflated Jobs's sense of self important is, if he were to call me and ask me to give him something I'd sure as hell want proof that it was his to begin with.

    This had already been established. If you read the actual email, Gizmodo was asking for more information about the phone and their production of it:

    Hey Steve, this email chain is off record on my side.

    I understand the position you’re in, and I want to help, but it conflicts with my own responsibilities to give the phone back without any confirmation that its real, from apple, officially.

    Something like that — from you or apple legal — is a big story, that would make up for giving the phone back right away. If the phone disappears without a story to explain why it went away, and the proof it went to apple, it hurts our business. And our reputation. People will say this is a coordinated leak, etc.

    I get that it would hurt sales to say this is the next iphone. I have no interest in hurting sales. That does nothing to help Gizmodo or me.

    Maybe Apple can say it’s a lost phone, but not one that you’ve confirmed for production — that it is merely a test unit of sorts. Otherwise, it just falls to apple legal, which serves the same purpose of confirmation. I don’t want that either.

    This is not an innocent request from somebody who wants to honestly return the phone.

  • Re:Pretty .. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush (643681) on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:07PM (#32214562)

    No one stole anything.

    I'm afraid you don't know the law, not to mention morals. If you take a cell phone that doesn't belong to you from a bar, and neither return it to the person/company you know it belongs to, nor to the police, you have stolen it.

    A worker left it laying around and from the stories I read, there was an attempt to return it but Apple was too stupid to take it.

    There is no evidence been presented of ANY attempt to return it. But even if there was a phone call to Apple tech support, and Apple tech support knew nothing about the phone, that doesn't make it the "finder's" property to sell. Many other reasonable avenues were open to return it to the owner or the police, none were taken. Instead it was sold as stolen property.

    I'll ignore the "hoodie" part.

    Don't ignore it. If you want to behave like you have no respect for the law, and back a thief rather than the victim, then the name fits. You could have "wannabe gangsta" instead if you prefer.

    Let's say that is was stolen even though is WAS NOT, but let's say it was - do you really think all of this police and court attention is warranted for a goddamn cell phone?

    Yes. This is a serious theft of a valuable item.

    Over people who really need police help?

    People who've had valuable items stolen from them are not deserving of the police investigating?

    PRIORITES, bud.

    Come back when you've grown a sense of morality.

  • by abigsmurf (919188) on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:09PM (#32214588)
    Apple are doing quite well so far.

    Their only communications regarding this are through legal documents. They've not released any statements thus, they're not getting into a war of words. As time goes on, the only extra information coming out is details of the crime.

    It's possible a public trial will force them to start publically laying into the people involved though.
  • Re:Hrmm (Score:1, Insightful)

    by dj961 (660026) on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:10PM (#32214618) Journal

    Grats on the selective quoting. It actually reads "499c(b)(3) PC - Theft; Without authority make or cause to be made a copy (definition includes photograph) of any article representing a trade secret (a felony)"

  • Re:Pretty .. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:13PM (#32214650)

    And the lawnmower in question won't even support Flash!

  • by Wovel (964431) on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:18PM (#32214712) Homepage

    And in their first article after taking the device they published Powell's name, suggesting they knew as well...

  • Re:Pretty .. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:23PM (#32214768)

    Next week, maybe we'll see 5,000 stories on Google news about how somebody stole a lawnmower.

    If it was the highly anticipated successor to John Deere's line of lawnmowers that has generated over 10 billion in income, yes you would see 5,000 stories on Google News about it.

    A crime that deserves worldwide news coverage that goes on for weeks and weeks? Please.

    That's an interesting thing for somebody who commented in the middle of the comments section of one of these 5,000 news stories to say. Not newsworthy at all, right?

  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:24PM (#32214784)
    Which really undermines their "we were trying to find the original owner and return it to him" story. If both Gizmodo and the "finder" really wanted to return the phone, (besides turning it to the bar or the police) they could have just drove up to Apple's campus and left it at the front desk. "This belongs to one of your employees, Powell"
  • Wtf? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by adbge (1693228) on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:30PM (#32214830)
    I'm not sure why Apple apologists think it is the media's responsibility to protect Apple's trade secrets.

    It is not reasonable to expect other people to guard your secrets. Don't put them out into the open.

    Bringing litigation against Gawker Media for trade secret violations would be an abuse of the legal system and, I think, irresponsible. Apple would essentially be attempting to acquire compensation for misplacing their own device.
  • by phantomfive (622387) on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:38PM (#32214920) Journal

    How about this? How about we let the police detectives focus on the mountain of unsolved violent crimes around San Francisco,

    They wouldn't anyway.

    Although they should do both.

  • Re:Hrmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tomhudson (43916) <barbara DOT huds ... a-hudson DOT com> on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:39PM (#32214928) Journal

    You might want to check the definition of a trade secret. It is no longer a trade secret once its leaked [wikipedia.org].

    In the United States, trade secrets are not protected by law in the same manner as trademarks or patents. Specifically, both trademarks and patents are protected under Federal statutes, the Lanham Act and Patent Act, respectively. Trade secrets arise out of state laws. Most states have adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA). Only Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Texas have not adopted the UTSA. One of the most significant differences between patents and trademarks and trade secrets is that a trade secret is only protected when the secret is not disclosed.

    and further

    (The holder of the trade secret is nevertheless obliged to protect against such espionage to some degree in order to safeguard the secret. As noted above, under most trade secret regimes, a trade secret is not deemed to exist unless its purported holder takes reasonable steps to maintain its secrecy.)

    Leaving a trade secret in a bar for anyone to pick up is pretty much the definition of what not to do to maintain secrecy.

    "But it's a secret!" doesn't cut it when your own negligence is the ONLY reason it is no longer secret.

  • Re:wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:44PM (#32214996) Homepage

    How much was it worth to Apple's competitors (such as RIM, Samsung, Nokia, etc.) to find out that Apple's next phone had a front facing camera? That it had a flash? Getting an extra 2 or 3 months head start on that information could be very important. It could be the difference between their next models coming out with the same features, or having to wait an extra product cycle to match Apple's new features.

    And that difference, those phone sales, could easily run into the millions.

    It's one thing with an analyst says "I think Apple will do X". It's quite different when someone finds an Apple device that does X just two to three months before it will be released (based on Apple's summer iPhone release pattern).

  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:45PM (#32215004)

    So, the guy who found it, probably not guilty of theft in my mind, but probably guilty of not trying to return the property, which I'm sure is a crime somehow.

    The crime of theft in fact. So why is it not theft in your mind when its theft in law?

    That "Finders keepers" saying from childhood really stuck, didn't it? But it's no basis for adult morality. Not if you want to find your car in the street where you left it when you return.

  • Re:wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by luis_a_espinal (1810296) on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:47PM (#32215012) Homepage

    Manufacturing cost is a good place to start. It's not like this is a one of kind prototype that took years to make and there are no schematics to build a replacement. Like most device companies, they sent an NDA and schematics to a manufacturer in china. I wouldn't be surprised if they had hundreds of these prototypes passed out for QA purposes.

    You haven't done much R&D and product development have you?

  • A phone? Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:48PM (#32215024)

    That seems like a lot of police work, DA work, etc for a piece of shit phone. People will cry about IP and lost sales. Bull shit. Steve Jobs says people will stop buying iPhones because they now know a new one is in development? Are you fucking kidding me Steve? You guys release a new model every fucking year. Only a dipshit retard wouldn't know that July is new iPhone month.

    My neighbor beats her daughter and locks her in a closet and we call the Police, children's services, and they blow us the fuck off. To busy with real crimes like a missing iPhone.

    Sad. Get a fucking grip people.

  • Thieves (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DeanFox (729620) * <spam.myname@g m a i l.com> on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:57PM (#32215086)

    Apple also told the police that the publication of Gizmodo's story was "immensely damaging" to the company, because consumers would stop buying current generation iPhones in anticipation of the upcoming product. Asked the value of the phone, Apple told the police "it was invaluable."

    As far as I'm concerned they're both thieves. But, that's just me.

    -[d]-

  • by dhovis (303725) on Friday May 14, 2010 @08:05PM (#32215160)

    Would you be this vehement if it weren't an Apple prototype?

    I certainly would. Whether it was stolen from Palm, Google, or Nokia. The circumstances were still a criminal act regardless of who it was stolen from.

  • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Friday May 14, 2010 @08:26PM (#32215386)
    You know, you really aren't accomplishing much by misquoting me. This is what I said:

    There's was a big fucking Apple logo on the back, I think it's safe to say it was Apple's phone since no phone like that was supposed to exist.

    See that second half of the sentence there, the part after the comma? That's what you refer to as a qualifying statement, it means that my intent is NOT that all things with the apple logo on the back belong to apple. Are you really so dense to believe that the guy who "found" it and the guys who bought it didn't know what it was they had? Really?! You know, if you believe that, I've got a bridge to sell you that I just happened to find. It's in some pretty prime real estate, Brooklyn, and you'll be able to make money on tolls for years.

  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Friday May 14, 2010 @08:56PM (#32215680)

    Just to point out the most obvious nonsense in your post, the exact text of the request from Gizmondo to Apple is contained in TF Affidavit, and it wasn't "I have this item please confirm it is your before returning it." Nor anything slightly resembling what you describe in your post.

    Is it that you don't read the fucking articles, or that you do read them and then just make shit up anyway?

  • by AresTheImpaler (570208) on Friday May 14, 2010 @09:06PM (#32215776)

    That seems like a lot of police work, DA work, etc for a piece of shit phone. People will cry about IP and lost sales. Bull shit. Steve Jobs says people will stop buying iPhones because they now know a new one is in development? Are you fucking kidding me Steve? You guys release a new model every fucking year. Only a dipshit retard wouldn't know that July is new iPhone month.

    It's not just Apple And Steve being butt hurt about the stole/found phone. It's about the law enforcement groups being butt hurt too. People get in trouble for posting the stupid things they have done on youtube, facebook, etc all the time. Gizmodo posted a story about what it might be a stolen iphone and on top of that said they paid for it. Very retarded of them. The news was all over the world. Now the "law" has to save face and demonstrate that if you do something illegal you will pay for it. Else, what's the point of having punishments for doing illegal stuff if you are never going to be punished. Of course, this doesn't mean that what happened is really illegal, but since it kinda seems like it might be this is why the police is investigating.

    My neighbor beats her daughter and locks her in a closet and we call the Police, children's services, and they blow us the fuck off. To busy with real crimes like a missing iPhone.

    If your neighbor would make a post like gizmodo about it and it would make news around the world, I bet the police and chidren's services would be there in no time. Said that, I kinda not believe you that children's services is not doing anything. Here in Texas, even parents that do nothing wrong and love their children are afraid of them. If you are really wanna do something about it, tape your neighbor and call your police. If that doesnt work, call your local TV station and/or newspaper. Once it's news the police wont have another choice than investigate. Just like they are investigating Gizmodo.

  • by Estanislao Martínez (203477) on Friday May 14, 2010 @09:06PM (#32215780) Homepage

    So If I found it, (and took it like the guy did), I would be stealing - but really only from this Powell guy as I would have no idea the phone wasn't a regular old iPhone in which Apple would have no interest at all. I'd have just turned it in at the bar though as I wouldn't want an iPhone anyway.

    No, if you found it and returned it to the bar, you wouldn't be stealing. If you honestly find somebody else's property, keep your use of it to a reasonable minimum necessary to identify the owner, honestly try to give it back in a reasonable amount of time, and failing that turn it in to the police as lost property, you've committed no crime at all. Really, the key words here are honest and reasonable; your actions have to be consistent with a desire to respect other people's property, which means returning stuff to its owner promptly, and not using things you don't have permission to use.

    The law only starts asking whether it's theft when there's evidence that you're not being honest and reasonable in those regards. So, if on the contrary, after you find the phone, you keep it for a long time without trying to locate the owner or turn it in to the cops, use it for your own benefit or sell it to somebody, well, then you probably have committed theft.

    There are very few exceptions. For example, if the lost item is a perishable good and is in danger of spoiling, you may sell it and then give the money to the owner.

  • by crossmr (957846) on Friday May 14, 2010 @09:21PM (#32215918) Journal

    If Apple doesn't say it's theirs HOW THE FUCK CAN ANYONE KNOW IT WAS APPLES!

    It doesn't have to be Apple's. It was certainly someone's. They didn't turn it over to the police immediately. They disassembled it and made a public show out of it. End of story. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

  • Irrelevant. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gary W. Longsine (124661) on Friday May 14, 2010 @09:25PM (#32215946) Homepage Journal
    Gizmodo knew that the device did not belong to the person who sold it to them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 14, 2010 @10:03PM (#32216234)

    Given that apple gets to choose what you can & can't install on the phone you think you own, I'd say it's reasonable to assume that's apples view exactly ;)

  • by Estanislao Martínez (203477) on Friday May 14, 2010 @10:09PM (#32216270) Homepage

    IIRC, they did figure out who the guy was, talked to him, and gave it back. Kind of undermines the whole theft thing, doesn't it.

    First of all, I haven't seen anything that says that Gizmodo or Hogan ever talked to Powell. Citation, please.

    But that's not my main point. The main point is that, god, I feel like we're talking to second-graders here. Here's some very elementary moral rules that we adults teach kids in, um, elementary school:

    • If somebody loses something, you find it, and you are able to return it, you should do so promptly.
    • You shouldn't use something that's not yours unless you have permission from the owner.
    • However, there's a few exceptions: it's ok to make minimal use of somebody else's lost item if it's necessary to return it to them. If the item is perishable, it's ok to sell it and then give the owner the proceeds (the law in California actually states this).

    This is all part of basic respect for other people's property. People who follow those rules don't run into trouble with the law when they find other people's lost property. Such people, finding a lost cellphone, would look through the contents of the phone to try and identify the owner or somebody who knows the owner, and then try to return within a couple of days. If they were unsuccesful in their attempts to return it, they wouldn't claim it for their own before consulting the law. What they wouldn't do is start using the phone for their own personal calls for a whole month before returning it, because that's wrong.

    If Hogan and Gizmodo had followed those elementary rules, well, they'd be clear. Hogan might have started like that on night 1 (using the phone to find out the name of the guy who lost it), but it's becoming pretty clear by this point that as he realized the value of the prototype, he stopped following those rules, and his priority became how to benefit from somebody else's property, not how to return it to them.

  • by gyrogeerloose (849181) on Friday May 14, 2010 @10:16PM (#32216302) Journal

    It would be considered stolen by any rational people.

    FTFY. Because I'm a rational person and I would consider it stolen. I'm also a resident of California and I know what the law says about found property; as fellow CA residents, Mr. Chen and Mr. Hogan should have known too.

  • by Whuffo (1043790) on Friday May 14, 2010 @10:42PM (#32216460) Homepage Journal

    This move looks to be intended to deflect some unwanted attention from the court - the judge got some bad information that he based the search warrants on and now he wants the truth to be known. While the existence of the crimes alleged are arguable - some of the items listed on the search warrant aren't remotely related to any crime; they're intended to cause the suspect as much inconvenience as possible. Yeah, grab his credit cards and driver's licence while you're at it.

    Normally, the corporate / police connection would trash the suspect's life and see him convicted on a whole laundry list of crimes - mess with Apple (or a number of other SV corporations) and they'll teach you a lesson you'll never forget. But this time the press got involved; the target was a reporter and a whole bunch of other reporters felt insecure because of it and now they're going to defend themselves and their occupation - and they won't stop until they feel they've made a difference.

    This is going to be interesting to watch as it plays out - as the truth emerges the police and the folks at Apple are going to be revealed as the lying assholes they really are and it'll be reported by the media over and over again. That "say something negative and you'll never get another press release from us" stuff only works when you're targeting one reporter. When the whole news media turns against them, they won't have anything to use to defend themselves.

    What Jason Chen and the other players in this little drama did was a little less than ethical - but Apple screwed up big time when they decided to attack a reporter. That corporate arrogance that leads to great products also produces a big blind spot that doesn't let them see that they're just a small part of a big system. Now they'll get to come to the understanding that the media's opinion of them does indeed matter and they'll get to measure the losses as their education proceeds. They were worried about the marketing loss from the premature showing of the new phone? That's nothing compared to what they bought for themselves when they overreacted. We'll just have to wait and see how long it takes them to realize their stupidity.

    Maybe when Steve has his big reveal of the new products and the media doesn't slobber over them he might get a clue? Or maybe it'll take longer for him to realize that in the big picture he's just a bit player and there's others that have even more power than he does - and he's pissed them off. It won't be blatant but Apple's luck has changed for the worse and all the marketing money they can throw at it won't change a thing.

  • Re:wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Space cowboy (13680) * on Friday May 14, 2010 @10:52PM (#32216512) Journal
    Um, fuck you.

    the room-mate was the only individual to come out of this with integrity. Good on her, is what I say.

    Simon
  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Friday May 14, 2010 @11:23PM (#32216714)

    Interestingly, Gizmodo did nothing wrong here. They got a tip about a possible newly leaked product, they did what every news agency does, they went after it. They got it. Then they gave it back to the rightful owner, as soon as that owner was confirmed. EVERYONE involved knew it didn't belong to any of the parties involved. However, that doesn't make it "stolen" and it doesn't make it illegal. If apple wanted to protect their secrets, they wouldn't have let the phone out of the building. PERIOD.

    Have you been reading anything? It is illegal to receive stolen property in all states. In California's case receiving "found" property is also a crime if the finder did not do his/her best return it to the rightful owner. By your own admission, if everyone knew that the phone was "found" then they committed crimes by transferring money and not returning it to the owner. In the latest affidavit, it seems both the finder and Gizmodo knew who the owner was but did not return it. Instead Gizmodo paid money for the phone. Instead, Gizmodo dismantled and posted it. That's possible trade secret violations. Instead, Gizmodo tried to negotiate with Apple to publicly acknowledge their phone.

  • by Estanislao Martínez (203477) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @01:26AM (#32217416) Homepage

    the room-mate was the only individual to come out of this with integrity. Good on her, is what I say.

    From the cop's affidavit, I'd say it's mixed. Point in her favor: she thought it was wrong to sell the phone because she was worried it might ruin Gray Powell's career. Points against her: (a) it's not clear that she understood clearly that keeping somebody else's phone for three weeks in order to sell it is theft; (b) she only acted to stop it when she feared that she might be blamed for the situation.

  • by gyrogeerloose (849181) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @02:05AM (#32217602) Journal

    Interestingly, Gizmodo did nothing wrong here.

    Remind me to never hire you as my attorney. You apparently haven't read the relevant California criminal and civil code sections that have been reprinted all over the Web since this thing first hit:

    Section 2080. Duties of finder
    Any person who finds a thing lost is not bound to take charge of it, unless the person is otherwise required to do so by contract or law, but when the person does take charge of it he or she is thenceforward a depositary for the owner, with the rights and obligations of a depositary for hire.

    In other words, if you take charge of a found object, you are as responsible for taking care of it as you would be if the owner had placed it in your care. Selling it off to the highest bidder hardly satisfies that, nor does disassembling it (and damaging it in the process), as Chen did.

    They got a tip about a possible newly leaked product, they did what every news agency does, they went after it. They got it. Then they gave it back to the rightful owner, as soon as that owner was confirmed.

    Nope:

    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.

    The minute the finder offered it up for auction to the highest bidder, as per his room mate's statement, he was "[appropriating] such property to his own use, or to the use of another person not entitled thereto" and guilty of theft. Gizomodo, by bidding on it, was guilty of buying stolen property.

    EVERYONE involved knew it didn't belong to any of the parties involved. However, that doesn't make it "stolen" and it doesn't make it illegal.

    Actually, under California law, it does make it illegal. The relevant law:

    Section 2080.1. Delivery to police or sheriff; affidavit; charges
    (a) 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.

    In other words, the only legal thing for someone who finds lost property to do is either make a good-faith attempt to return it to it's owner or turn it over to the local law enforcement agency. If you don't wish to do either of those things, then you should just let it lie there.

    If apple wanted to protect their secrets, they wouldn't have let the phone out of the building. PERIOD.

    That's totally absurd. It was a cell phone. Cell phones need extensive testing out in the real world before they hit the market. Would you want to buy one that hadn't been tested out on the street first?

    The lot of you crucifying Gizmodo for doing exactly what you want them to do, are a bunch of hypocrites.

    No, I want Gizmodo to do good tech journalism, not write checks stolen goods. Print leaked info, by all means but do not commit felonies in the name of page hits.

  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara DOT huds ... a-hudson DOT com> on Saturday May 15, 2010 @02:44PM (#32221218) Journal
    No, because the trade secret - the existence of the phone - was already exposed to someone else - the finder of the phone - by Apple's negligence. Once a trade secret is exposed by the trade secrets' owner through their own negligence, it is no longer a trade secret.

    If I find the formula for Coka-cola in a bar because an employee of Coke left it there, it's no longer a trade secret due to Coke's negligence. I can't be convicted of subsequently selling a trade secret because I obtained it legally, and it lost its "trade secret" status forever at that moment.

    So person B making photos of the iPhone after it lost its "trade secret" status because it was divulged to person A through Apple's negligence is not "copying a trade secret."

You can bring any calculator you like to the midterm, as long as it doesn't dim the lights when you turn it on. -- Hepler, Systems Design 182

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