AP and the NY Times are reporting that San Mateo County investigators raided the Fremont home of Gizmodo editor and blogger Jason Shao Chen on Friday after he posted pictures and details of a lost iPhone prototype. Chen is shown at left holding the iPhone 4G in an image from Gizmodo.
A computer-crime task force, the Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team, made up of multiple law enforcement agencies, searched Gizmodo Chen’s house and car, seizing computers, digital cameras, a cell phone, an American Express bill and copies of checks.
A search 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, spokesman for the San Mateo County District Attorney’s office, confirmed the warrant’s authenticity to the AP.
According to AP:
- 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, 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- Gawker Media said California law, which protects journalists from having to turn over anonymous sources or unpublished material to law enforcement during a search, should apply to Chen’s property.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.