Police seize tech gear from Gizmodo iPhone blogger

Posted: April 28, 2010 in 1st Amendment, police brutality

FOLLOW UP STORY:: Gizmodo considers suing police after iPhone raid

c/o AP >> The Daily Journal 

Authorities seized computers, digital cameras, a cell phone and other items from a technology blog editor who posted pictures and details of a lost iPhone prototype.

A computer-crime task force made up of multiple law enforcement agencies searched Gizmodo editor and blogger Jason Chen’s house and car in Fremont on Friday, according to a statement and search warrant documents provided by Gizmodo.

The warrant, issued by a Superior Court judge in San Mateo County, said the computers and other devices may have been used to commit a felony. Steve Wagstaffe, San Mateo County chief deputy district attorney, confirmed the warrant’s authenticity.

Members of the Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team took several computers, hard drives, digital cameras, cell phones and other gadgets, plus Chen’s American Express bill and copies of his checks.

Last week Gizmodo had one of the Web’s hottest scoops when it posted photos of an Apple device that appeared to be a next-generation iPhone. It had been found in a bar in Redwood City, which is in San Mateo County, and sold for $5,000 by an unknown person to Gizmodo, a gadget blog owned by Gawker Media Inc.

After Chen, 29, posted photos and details about the phone, Apple acknowledged the device belonged to the company, and Gizmodo returned it.

Gawker Media said California law, which protects journalists from having to turn over anonymous sources or unpublished material to law enforcement during a search, should apply to Chen’s property.

“Are bloggers journalists? I guess we’ll find out,” Nick Denton, who runs Gawker Media, wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

Wagstaffe said the district attorney’s office is examining that issue.

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling declined to comment.

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