ACTING ON A COMPLAINT by Apple, Inspector Knacker of the Cupertino Yard raided the home of the editor of Gizmodo and confiscated his computers.
The raid was carried out in apparent retribution for the online magazine having published an article about an Iphone 4G prototype that was found in a bar last week.
Apple filed a theft complaint against Gizmodo using an out-of-date but never repealed California law.
After it ran its story on the 4G Iphone, Gizmodo said it returned the phone to Apple. Apparently that was not enough for Jobs' Mob, which proceeded to sic the coppers on it.
It apparently told the rozzers that the phone had been used in the commission of a felony, so the police got a warrant that implied that the phone was still in Chen's house.
California's Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team entered Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home when he was not present and took four computers and two servers.
Gaby Darbyshire, COO of Gawker Media, which owns Gizmodo, said that the police search warrant to remove these computers was invalid under section 1524(g) of the California Penal Code. That gives news media editors and reporters freedom from these sorts of searches.
It has been interesting that coverage of the raid in the Apple friendly traditional US press has described Chen as a "blogger" rather than as a journalist, clearly hoping to put an Apple sympathetic spin on the raid.
If the warrant turns out to be invalid then any "evidence" that the police might find will be unusable in any court of law.
It is fairly clear that Apple wants to stick the frighteners on any media outlets that do not print its press releases. Or pay cash for leaks of unreleased Apple gadgets.
What is perhaps surprising is the speed at which the local plod reacted to Jobs' Mobs' order. Clearly they have sorted out all the computer crime in California, leaving them with time free to make it their number one priority to enforce the autocratic secrecy obsession of a toy company.
We are not sure that visiting retribution on members of the US press on the orders of a paranoid computer firm ranks as part of the remit of a specialist computer crime unit that was designed to hunt paedophiles, identity thieves and hackers. µ
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