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In response to a recent Gizmodo story about an iPhone prototype found left behind at a bar, police in Silicon Valley raided the home of a Gizmodo editor.  They charged him with possession of stolen goods (apparently "forgotten" equals "stolen") and took four computers as evidence.  They were informed that it's illegal to confiscate the property of a journalist, but proceeded anyway.

Yahoo! News article.


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 27th, 2010 12:13 pm (UTC)
From my understanding, it's illegal to confiscate things from a journalist to get their sources. This has nothing to do with that law, they're dealing with stolen goods. And under California law, if you take something of significant enough value, even if it was forgotten, you have to return it to either its owner, or the police. You aren't allowed to keep it and sell it to a blog for $5000.
Apr. 27th, 2010 02:08 pm (UTC)
It's not, even under California law, stolen goods. Period. end of discussion. The Apple employee even admitted to losing the phone.

Regardless, the fact that the police burglarized this guy's home while he was away and took ALL of his equipment, not just the prototype is HIGHLY illegal, journalist or not. Just another example of how billion dollar corporations run this fascist country and control the police. Do you think for a second that if you had something worth 5000 stolen from you that you could get a squad of cops to break down someone's door and steal all of their electronic equipment? That kind of treatment is reserved for terrorists and people who cross big business. Make no mistake.
Apr. 27th, 2010 02:22 pm (UTC)
The cops had a warrant. And Apple has yet to take legal action.
Apr. 27th, 2010 03:47 pm (UTC)
What does Apple taking legal action have to do with the price of tea in Guam? They obviously filed a police report when they saw the news story on their prototype. Do you think the cops just decided to randomly break into this guy's house without being directed to do so by Apple?

You also seem to have ignored my query regarding if you believed that you could order this kind of raid if you misplaced your 5k$ item. Im assuming you ignored if because you know the answer and it doesn't support your argument.

Also, under the Fourth Amendment, searches must be reasonable and specific. This means that a search warrant must be specific as to the specified object to be searched for and the place to be searched. Under what authority did they steal his servers and electronic equipment when they had nothing to do with the property in question (the prototype)? This kind of seizure is common with hacking cases, but in regards to missing items it certainly doesn't make any legal sense.
Apr. 27th, 2010 04:16 pm (UTC)
Apple not taking legal action is significant only due to your comment "That kind of treatment is reserved for terrorists and people who cross big business."

Also, no, I couldn't. But the theif of that supposed $5000 item probably didn't take it apart and expose my trade secrets to the world and my competitors.

I'm through with this debate, to be honest, I really don't give a fuck about either side, and I have better things to do.
Apr. 27th, 2010 06:10 pm (UTC)
"I really don't give a fuck about either side, and I have better things to do."

In other words: "I cant win this debate because Im wrong so Im taking my toys and going home whilst showing my maturity level by using unnecessary explicits."

For someone who doesn't "give a fuck about either side" you sure have a lot to say about it sport. If Apple didn't want their 'trade secrets' (a word misused so often these days it's almost as bad as 'democracy') on the internet maybe they shouldnt have hired a guy who goes bar hopping, loses his prototype, and cant even remember which bar it might have been left in he was so trashed. If Apple wants to go after someone for leaking trade secrets, maybe it should be the drunk employee who left a prototype in a bar after already showing questionable judgment by BRINGING the thing with him when he was planning to drink. Naw, that would be way too reasonable.
Apr. 27th, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC)
No, in other words, the argument has moved to attacking each other here personally instead of the topic. No one has to spend time fighting other people's battles if all they can do is talk about it, especially if they start to become the target when they had nothing to do with it.
Apr. 27th, 2010 08:18 pm (UTC)
If you could kindly point out where I attacked him personally before he started in with the vulgarity I will concede to your point. Nobody asked him to spend his time fighting anyone's battle. He posted here of his own free will, if he wished to discontinue the discussion he was free to do so at any time without resorting to childish vulgarity and infantile behavior.
Apr. 27th, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC)
You also seem to have ignored my query regarding if you believed that you could order this kind of raid if you misplaced your 5k$ item. Im assuming you ignored if because you know the answer and it doesn't support your argument.

He can post of his own free will, and he can decline to post as well. It doesn't help to insinuate agendas behind either decision. If you call out "Crybaby!", you don't look any better.

Adults use adult language sometimes, and it can express a person's feelings better than some PC euphemism. I assume you're mature enough to take it like an adult.

In other words, he doesn't have to take shit from you, so don't be a dick about it.
Apr. 27th, 2010 11:01 pm (UTC)
"Adults use adult language sometimes, and it can express a person's feelings better than some PC euphemism. I assume you're mature enough to take it like an adult."

So you're saying that despite the fact that he came in here swearing and acting like a child of his own volition, somehow I am the one who's not being adult here. Right.

Could you maybe point out where I said that he 'had to post'? My comment that you quoted directly relates to his cherry-picking portions of my post to respond to and ignoring the ones that are inconvenient to him, which is a valid thing to point out and is certainly not (under ANY definition of the word) making it 'personal'. If he didnt want to continue the debate, he was free to not make the second post. He did. His choice. But Im magically the bad guy who held his balls to a fire and made him keep coming back to the point where he lost it and blew up. Yeah, thats MY fault, how silly of me. I didnt give him any shit and HE went off on ME so I reserve the right to be a 'dick' about it. Maybe if he had kept things civil and acted like a rational human being this wouldn't have been a problem.
Apr. 28th, 2010 11:54 am (UTC)
"It's not, even under California law, stolen goods. Period. end of discussion." Strong words, implying the other hasn't got a clue of the topic at hand. However, it looks like you are wrong.
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.

So the finder managed to not identify Apple as the rightful owner of the property, yet came up with the idea of selling it to gizmodo. Riiiiight. Sorry, in my reading of the above code, this was theft. I understand, that the search seems to be a hot button issue with you, but to me it looks like gizmodo was knowingly buying stolen property. Now they are suffering the consequences.

So, first you attacked sunookitsune, because you were mistaken and didn't bother to verify. In your next reply you took it further to the personal level: "... Do you think for a second that if you had something worth 5000 stolen from you that you could ... " (emphasis added).

Alternatively, your first response could have started:
"I don't think there is any such law, please show me the code ..."
Your second could have gone along the lines "... if Joe Sixpack had something worth 5000 stolen ...", keeping it not to the person.

So while I understand the house searches are a hot button issue with you, it was you who took this discussion to a personal level right from the start.
Apr. 28th, 2010 04:52 pm (UTC)
Since you have obviously not read up about this case, I'll outline a few facts for you:

1) The original person that found the phone tried for WEEKS to return it. He even has ticket numbers from Apple customer support where he tried to report the thing and they didnt take him seriously.

2) Gizmodo gave the phone back to Apple as soon as Apple contacted them with no muss or fuss, all documentation as to this exchange has been posted on Gizmodo's website including Apple and their emails back and forth.

In other words, neither of them are guilty of theft by your quoted definition. The most recent raid happened AFTER all of this for reasons currently left unclear in the media.

"So, first you attacked sunookitsune, because you were mistaken and didn't bother to verify. "

Looks like Im not the one who didnt bother verifying facts of the case. I didnt attack anyone. I made a statement of fact. Im sorry that neither of you appear to care about the facts of this case, but if you're going to continue insulting me, you should at least know what the hell you're talking about before you go on a long-winded rant which not only proves your ignorance of the case at hand, but also makes you look like a condescending blowhard.

I asked him if he believed that the average person (him for example) would be able to command a police raid like that. That is HARDLY making a personal attack. If you take something like that to be a personal 'attack' then you must be rather new to the internet or debate in general.
Apr. 28th, 2010 06:56 pm (UTC)
From Gizmodo:
[Finder gets the iPhone, which the software engineer forgot on a stool next to him, pushed into his hands by a random drunk, plays around with it, waits for the owner and goes home]
Thinking about returning the phone the next day, he left. When he woke up after the hazy night, the phone was dead. Bricked remotely, through MobileMe, the service Apple provides to track and wipe out lost iPhones. It was only then that he realized that there was something strange that iPhone. The exterior didn't feel right and there was a camera on the front. After tinkering with it, he managed to open the fake 3GS.

He reached for a phone and called a lot of Apple numbers and tried to find someone who was at least willing to transfer his call to the right person, but no luck. No one took him seriously and all he got for his troubles was a ticket number.

He thought that eventually the ticket would move up high enough and that he would receive a call back, but his phone never rang. What should he be expected to do then? Walk into an Apple store and give the shiny, new device to a 20-year-old who might just end up selling it on eBay?

The Aftermath

Weeks later, Gizmodo got it for $5,000 in cash. At the time, we didn't know if it was the real thing or not. It didn't even get past the Apple logo screen. Once we saw it inside and out, however, there was no doubt about it. It was the real thing, so we started to work on documenting it before returning it to Apple. We had the phone, but we didn't know the owner. Later, we learnt about this story, but we didn't know for sure it was Powell's phone until today, when we contacted him via his phone.

That's their spin of the story. In my unhumble opinion, the finder was more or less fine up to the next morning. What he should have done: NOT try to open it, NOT give it to Gizmodo for $5000 in cash, but give it to the police or lost and found, at the minimum leave his address at the bar, where the rightful owner was bound to search for the phone.

I'm from Germany, so I don't know California's details on lost property. In Germany, if you find and pick up anything worth more than $15, you have to return it to the rightfull owner (not just try) or bring it to the lost and found or the police, otherwise you are guilty of theft. If the item is reclaimed within 6 months, you are entitled to 3-5% of its worth as reimbursement for your trouble, if it's not reclaimed then it's yours after that time. I fail to believe, that in the US there are not similar laws governing this situation. A short stop-over at wikipedia reveals: "A finder of property acquires no rights in mislaid property, is entitled to possession of lost property against everyone except the true owner, and is entitled to keep abandoned property." You can forget about abandoned in this case, and I would argue for misplaced. Even if it was lost, the finder would still have had to give it to the proper authorities. And no, I do not think that giving up on the phone line is a "reasonable and just efforts to find the owner and to restore the property to him" (see link in previous post), especially if you know the name of the guy who misplaced it.

BTW, my previous post was a good faith effort to explain the other side of the argument to you. I'm often enough a bonehead myself, who needs his head set straight; proven by the fact, that I could not just shrug and walk away, but wrote this lengthy reply to someone I've never had contact with and whome I'll likely never have contact with again. Yes, I know the beam in my eye. So I think I'll join sunookitsune, coming in here swearing and acting like a child of my own volition, taking my toys because I can't win the argument and leaving resorting to childish vulgarity and infantile behavior. OK, strike the vulgarity part for me.

The last word on this affair is yours, have fun with it.

My apologies to Coyoty for this scene.
Apr. 28th, 2010 07:22 pm (UTC)
And in summation:

Quote that agrees with everything I have said.

A German hypothesizing incorrectly about US law; oddly after already quoting the relevant California state law in a previous post which does not substantiate his random and irrelevant musings.

Claiming that his previous post was in 'good faith' when it featured a great deal of 'you are wrong', 'you attacked', and 'you should have done this'. All of which were essentially factually inaccurate aside from the latter of course which is a matter of opinion.

And leaving the last word to me. How kind of you to butt into a thread that didnt involve you, tell me what I should have said in a patronizing arrogant fashion, make proven factually inaccurate claims, and then leave the last word to me. I think I'll add you to my Christmas card list.

I will however mirror the apology to Coyoty since I had planned to leave this thread behind last night before you came in and resurrected it.
Apr. 28th, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
Marmoe did not "butt into a thread that didn't involve you". He's a friend and this discussion is open to anyone, even people who aren't on my friends list. He's a guest here like you are, and of course other guests are going to be upset if you talk to them like they're intruders.
Apr. 28th, 2010 09:47 pm (UTC)
The thread I referred to was the discussion between me and sunookitsune, not the entirety of this post. When things started to get ugly and personal last night, I left and decided to let it be. Then marmoe came in and had to give his opinion on the (by that point) personal matter. I dont care if he wants to talk about the subject of this post, he can do whatever he wants in that regard, but his butting into a personal matter that both and myself and sunookitsune had let rest, telling me how I should have posted and that my facts were wrong (when he himself is obviously wrong as anyone who takes 5 minutes to fact-check can plainly see) and not only that, but talk down to me in a condescending fashion... well, he pissed me off.

He DID intrude on that personal matter and I reserve the right to say as much. For some mysterious reason you seem intent on defending a person who swore at me for no reason and someone who came in after the issue was dead and buried to lecture me on how I need to post when the conversation had nothing to do with him and on top of it try to shovel completely incorrect drivel into the debate.

But whatever, Im done here. It's obvious that these people can say whatever they want to me/about me and Im not allowed to defend myself here. I generally enjoy your postings, but if this is the way Im going to be treated and you can't so much as acknowledge that marmoe unnecessarily goaded me, I think Im done here. This is obviously one-sided to you. I mysteriously managed to force marmoe to post on this topic flamebaiting me, I forced him to tell me that I "haven't got a clue" when every piece of information I have posted here is factually accurate. Who is he to come in here, tell me im clueless, talk down to me, tell me how to speak, when he doesnt even know the first thing about the topic at hand? But you're right, I'M the asshole here. Im the one that came in insulting. Seriously, did you READ this thread or what?
Apr. 28th, 2010 10:14 pm (UTC)
This is MY journal. You don't get to decide what parts of it are for your personal use only or what parts of it are only between you and someone else. If you want to do that, take it private and don't hijack a conversation that wasn't "yours" to begin with. You're in public. You're at MY party. Everyone can "hear" you. You couldn't piss me off any more right now if you tried. I've asked you several times to behave, and if you can't do that, I'll have to throw you out.

(I've got to get a toothy Florence Ambrose Grin type icon.)

Edited at 2010-04-28 10:17 pm (UTC)
Apr. 28th, 2010 10:31 pm (UTC)
If they're allowed to insult me and talk down to me and im not so much as allowed to reply and prove them wrong, you dont need to throw me out. I know the way. Im not interested in reading the thoughts of someone who encourages others to treat me like scum and then gets all high and mighty with me when I dare defend myself. I have better things to do than be attacked by you and your henchmen.
Apr. 27th, 2010 08:38 pm (UTC)
that just doesn't seem right
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