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

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:48PM (#32214336)

    Do you know how much the cell phone prototype was worth? If you think that the cost of parts was a few hundred dollars, you'd be wrong. Prototypes like this phone might have thousands of dollars worth of parts. Since it was a prototype, parts of the phone had to be custom made and were not mass-produced. Apple probably only made a dozen or so prototype chips. That alone raises the nominal value of the cell phone.

    Then there's the trade secrets aspect. Competitors knowing what features are present in the phone can duplicate quickly them reducing their catchup time from a few months to no time. Also Apple has a point: People knowing a new model is about to be released may not purchase a current model which means loss of sales to Apple.

  • Spell check? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:53PM (#32214412)

    Whoever filled out the "Search Warrant Inventory" seriously needs to learn how to type...

    • "MediaSmart searver"
    • "exsternal HD"
    • "Canon reblel"
    • "Apple MacBook Pro e/ power cable"
    • "Apple airport exstream"
    • "Ioemega stor Center"

    I thought you could get warrants thrown out for just that sort of error? Also, they took his "Ipad [sic]"... That's a dick move... Although it does also mean that the iPad is a business device now since it was, supposedly, "used as the means of committing a felony".

  • Re:Hrmm (Score:1, Interesting)

    by dangitman (862676) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:55PM (#32214442)

    Now even the regular apple joe-sixpacks who aren't hardcore fanbois know about Gizmodo.

    Right. But knowing about Gizmodo doesn't mean they'll visit. I know plenty of people who did read Gizmodo, but no longer will after this sordid publicity stunt. As for tipsters and potential leads, they are going to give Gizmodo a wide berth now. Lesson learned: deal with the Giz, you might be in the Shiz.

  • by jeko (179919) on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:15PM (#32214672)

    Reading the affidavit, the thing that disturbs me most is that Apple seems to have pet police detectives at their beck and call. The affidavit basically says "Apple wants to search this guy's place and take everything there, right down to any credit cards they find."

    We can't even get the cops to investigate half of the violent crimes reported, but we're willing to call in SWAT to keep Steve Jobs' "Oh, and one more thing" moment in tact?

    How about this? How about we let the police detectives focus on the mountain of unsolved violent crimes around San Francisco, and Steve, for your moment in the Sun, just hold up the phone and say, "Hey, look what we found in a bar!"

    It'll be a big laugh, and some bloody victim will thank you for it.

  • Re:Hrmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Naturalis Philosopho (1160697) on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:36PM (#32214898)
    So, how do I get something defined as a trade secret so that I can sue people who photograph it? If it's a "secret", then how can a person possibly know beforehand that that they are committing a felony by photographing it? I mean, if the company was denying the existence of this product, how could anyone know that they were doing something wrong until Apple sent the letter stating that the device belonged to them. Once they did that, everyone handed the phone over. Heck, if there's a red-light photo of Grey using the phone in public, does that mean that the State of California is guilty of trade secret "violations"?
  • Re:Priorities (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cowscows (103644) on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:42PM (#32214972) Journal

    Just to counter your anecdote, my car's side window was smashed at work in New Orleans, a city renown for it's failure of a police department, and when I called the cops they had someone there in about 20 minutes. And when that cop say some decent fingerprints, they called out a crime lab guy who inspected even more. All this for a car break-in, where I'm not even sure what (if anything) was stolen.

    Sorry your local cops are so worthless that they make the NOPD look helpful. Maybe you should complain to your elected officials instead of /.

  • by jeko (179919) on Friday May 14, 2010 @08:04PM (#32215142)

    But you think theft(and this is, according to the law, theft-- even if Hogen didn't slip it out of the guys back pocket) shouldn't be enforced until... all violent crime is solved?

    Funny, that's exactly what the cops told me. "We can't investigate the theft of your car, we're too busy chasing murderers."

    They told a buddy of mine, "We can't investigate the burglary of your house, we're too busy chasing rapists."

    They told a woman I know, while she was still in the emergency room, "We can't enforce your restraining order, we're too busy chasing murderers."

    Following each excessive force complaint, the cops reflexively claim, "We don't have time to mess around and be polite. We're chasing killers."

    So, yeah, the cops exactly argue they shouldn't investigate theft until all violent crime has been solved.

  • Before you let your roommates know you've possibly committed a felony make sure they won't turn you in.

    Actually, one interesting thing I noted from the affidavit is that, at least as far as the detective understood, the roommate didn't seem to realize that Hogan may have been committing a felony. The affidavit says that she tried to convince him not to sell the phone because she was concerned it might ruin Gray Powell's career. If this is true, she seems to have been as ignorant about theft laws as all those Slashdot posters who insist that selling a lost phone you found isn't theft.

  • by KahabutDieDrake (1515139) on Friday May 14, 2010 @09:10PM (#32215826)
    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.

    The lot of you crucifying Gizmodo for doing exactly what you want them to do, are a bunch of hypocrites.
  • Re:Priorities (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 15, 2010 @09:08PM (#32223472)

    A woman is being threatened with guns and violence so she evicts the room-mate (/ex-fiance), gets a restraining order and he's escorted off her property the next day. He walks off with the security system, valuable art and multiple other valuables..grand theft. She calls the police and is told that it's a domestic matter.

    In the mean time the guy's nephew is squatting in her house so she's staying in a battered woman's shelter. She has to evict the loser and he gets 30 days. He never paid rent and there was never a written or verbal agreement between the home owner (her) and the nephew.

    Do the cops want to talk to the nephew about the stolen goods? Nah. Do they want to help her convince him to leave? Nope.

    Police are pretty incompetent usually. Remember the "papers please" article recently? I heard down at the skate park the cops are having kids stand and deliver...who are you, let me pat you down. Such BS.

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