Police Return Gizmodo Editor's Computers

The San Mateo District Attorney has withdrawn the warrant it used to seize Gizmodo Editor Jason Chen's property over the lost iPhone 4 prototype.

Eric Zeman, Contributor

July 16, 2010

1 Min Read

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation and The Wall Street Journal, San Mateo agreed to drop the warrant and return Chen's belongings after Gawker Media (Gizmodo's parent company) brokered a deal to share information relevant to the lost iPhone 4 prototype.

Gizmodo paid for a lost iPhone 4 prototype earlier this year and published a large report about the device in April. The report was met with skepticism until the details surrounding the case became clearer. Once Apple learned that the device -- which was originally lost by Apple employee Grey Powell -- was sold to Gizmodo, it asked that the local police look into the matter to see if a crime had been committed.

Several days after the original post was published, Sam Mateo police broke into Jason Chen's home and took a large number of his personal belongings, including computers, laptops, cameras, video cameras, among other items, to see if evidence of a crime was contained therein.

After Chen's belongings were taken by police, Gawker Media complained that the San Mateo's District Attorney office had acted inappropriately. It called the raid "illegal" under California's Shield Law and sought the return of Chen's belongings.

It appears that Gawker Media and Chen have come to an agreement, which will lead to the return of Chen's belongings. Chen will get his stuff back as long as he turns over documents that the Sam Mateo District Attorney's office believes are pertinent.

This doesn't mean that Chen is in the clear, however. The Wall Street Journal notes that Chris Feasel, deputy district attorney for San Mateo County, said the investigation still under way. "Mr. Chen and Gizmodo have agreed to cooperate with our investigation," he said.

About the Author(s)

Eric Zeman


Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies.

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