Monday, April 26, 2010

Police seize Gizmodo editor's computers in raid related to iPhone 4G affair

Is this all going a bit too far? I don't know, but it is getting serious for tech site Gizmodo and their editor Jason Chen.

According to Gizmodo, California's Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team entered Jason Chen's home on Friday night and removed four computers and two servers. Gizmodo does not say why they are only now reporting on the incident. Gizmodo is owned by Gawker Media which has filed an objection to the police department's actions and requested that the taken property be returned.

The police action stems from articles Gizmodo posted last week purported to be a look at Apple's next generation iPhone. The phone, which the site claimed was lost at a bar in Redwood City, ended up being the center of numerous articles supporting or rejecting the premise that this phone was the real deal. Most ended up believing it is, and Apple's attorney Bruce Sewell eventually wrote Gizmodo's editorial director a very short letter stating that Apple wanted it back. "It has come to our attention that Gizmodo is currently in possession of a device that belongs to Apple. This letter constitutes a formal request that you return the device to Apple." The iPhone was returned.

Complicating things for Gizmodo is the revelation that the site paid $5000 to get its hands on the iPhone -- opening it up to charges that the media property was buying stolen property. Nick Denton, head of Gawker Media tweeted to defend the acquisition: "Does Gizmodo pay for exclusives? Too right!"