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Police Seize Computers Over Next Generation iPhone Prototype
engine




msg:4122757
 11:55 am on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Police Sieze Computers Over Next Generation iPhone Prototype [news.bbc.co.uk]
Police in California have seized computers belonging to the editor of a gadget blog which was involved in the purchase of an iPhone prototype.

Gizmodo had admitted it paid $5,000 to an unnamed individual for the next generation device, which was reportedly left in a bar by an Apple employee.

Editor Jason Chen published photographs and videos of the phone last week.

Gizmodo may have violated a California law covering the appropriation of stolen property for personal benefit.

 

BillyS




msg:4124286
 12:47 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm not so sure anyone's guilty of anything here. Did you guys read the story? The person that found the phone had been trying to return the phone for weeks.

They bricked the phone the day after he left it in the bar. No one intended on keeping the phone, once Apple got its act together and asked for the phone back they got it right away.

StoutFiles




msg:4124315
 1:22 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

The person that found the phone had been trying to return the phone for weeks.


He may have had the phone for weeks but the only efforts he made were a call to customer service, trying to get the OS working again, and searching on Facebook which makes no sense. Then he decided it was time to make some calls and sell to the highest bidder.

Had he REALLY wanted to return it, he could have driven over to Apple and shown it to them, but that wouldn't be as good as $5,000 would it? He could have also given it to the police and after no one claiming it in X number of days it would be his, but he didn't do that either. No, he made just enough effort at returning it to be able to say he made some effort.

Really though, when you see a phone at a bar, don't take it! The person who lost the phone will go back to the bar to look for it. If you honestly want the phone returned to its rightful owner you just leave it there, give it to the bar management, or give it to the police.

buckworks




msg:4124350
 1:55 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

give it to the bar management, or give it to the police


I agree with that.

At the recent PubCon in Dallas there were two ... yes, two ... people who left their backpacks in one of the restaurants where people were gathering after hours. One of them had a laptop in it.

In both cases the backpacks were turned in to the restaurant management and held safely for their owners to retrieve as soon as they were able to get back to the restaurant.

Zamboni




msg:4124375
 2:24 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Let me get this straight. They phoned Apple and told them they had a lost phone, Apple "Gestapo" shows up looking for the phone and they don't give them the phone? Doesn't sound like they were trying to hard to return the phone.

StoutFiles




msg:4124379
 2:26 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Let me get this straight. They phoned Apple and told them they had a lost phone, Apple "Gestapo" shows up looking for the phone and they don't give them the phone? Doesn't sound like they were trying to hard to return the phone.


The "Gestapo" came AFTER the phone had been returned. They wanted more evidence to use against Chen and the other guy in court, most likely because of the article written about the phone.

BillyS




msg:4124419
 3:37 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

The "Gestapo" came AFTER the phone had been returned. They wanted more evidence to use against Chen and the other guy in court, most likely because of the article written about the phone.

Right, and when they couldn't get in themselves, they had the police break into someone's home and take their equipment. Again, after they already had the phone back.
This happened in the good old US of A. The land of the free and the home of the "now scared."

wheel




msg:4124567
 6:44 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Let me get this straight. They phoned Apple and told them they had a lost phone, Apple "Gestapo" shows up looking for the phone and they don't give them the phone? Doesn't sound like they were trying to hard to return the phone.

Nope, you got your story wrong.
They called apple (though some folks seem to think calling apple support isn't the 'right' phone number to call). Apple blew them off, basically said they knew nothing about it.

Then the story got released on the web, along with an offer that if apple simply confirms that it's their phone, they can have it back. Apple confirmed, they immediately returned the phone.

After Apple has the phone they have their computer SS squad raid the blogger's house.

See?

This is all about intent. Clearly the blogger wanted the phone to break the story. And clearly Apple didn't want the story to be broken.

But an effort was made to return the phone to apple - and it was actually returned immediately upon Apple asking. So the only thing Apple cares about at this point is retribution. They have the phone, they got it back as soon as they asked. And the fact that the blogger took the opportunity to blog about the product while apple's getting through enough beauracracy to actually claim the phone - that doesn't make the actions of the blogger any more of a theft.

I got your phone, I call your staff and say I have your phone. Your staff ignore me. I blog about it. You finally get your act together and call me for the phone, I give it back right away. that's not theft in any reasonable version of 'I stole it from you'.

grandpa




msg:4124579
 6:55 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Jon Stewart did a humorous skit [thedailyshow.com] re: the role reversal of Apple and MSN. It begins about one minute into the program. So far that's about the only funny thing I can see about this entire affair.

Frankly I think common sense and honor have flown the coop.
  • Apple's tight security was breached, by one of their own.
  • The person who picked the phone up in the bar sold out - recognizing a rare opportunity.
  • I think the lawyers for Gizmodo would have said 'No' - both to the purchase of the phone and to the posting of images (were they consulted?) (do they even exist?).
  • Apple seemingly abused their position on the steering committee of the REACT task force (my assumption).
  • Gizmodo plans to file suit regarding the raid.


    There are so many wrongs here that none of it will ever be right. And for what? A fancy telephone with a crappy service provider.

    Thou knowest that the fashion of a doublet, or a hat, or a cloak is nothing to a man.

  • StoutFiles




    msg:4124583
     7:06 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

    They called apple (though some folks seem to think calling apple support isn't the 'right' phone number to call). Apple blew them off, basically said they knew nothing about it.


    Apple is a large company with multiple departments. Unless the people working the support lines were told "Hey, be on the lookout for an unlikely lost phone call", well, of course they wouldn't know anything about the new phone.

    It'd be like you losing your phone and I call your house and get the voicemail. Well, I tried, right? Time to sell your phone to some guy who will post your text messages on the internet for all to see. Not my problem though, I made an effort to get the phone back to you.

    So far that's about the only funny thing I can see about this entire affair.


    I enjoyed the Dilbert take on it.
    [dilbert.com...]

    buckworks




    msg:4124594
     7:22 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

    I got your phone, I call your staff and say I have your phone. Your staff ignore me. I blog about it.


    Wheel, the person who called Apple to say he had the phone is not the person who blogged about it. The original finder turned around and sold it even though he knew who the rightful owner was.

    If someone found your phone, and arranged for a bunch of your private information to be published (for their own gain, of course) before they returned it to you, would you be okay with that?

    Demaestro




    msg:4124610
     8:01 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

    Time to sell your phone to some guy who will post your text messages on the internet for all to see


    Why do you keep saying that? No one posted anybodies' text messages. No one has ever contended that the phone was sold in order to read the text messages, the phone was known to be bricked already. Selling it to make text messages public is a whole different thing.

    The hardware of the phone isn't protected by any privacy laws, text messages are.

    Why you keep making arguments supporting their actions with things that didn't happen, have nothing to do with this and aren't mentioned in any story relating to this incident.

    It is one thing to support their actions, it is another to excuse it with things that never happened.

    wheel




    msg:4124616
     8:12 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

    If someone found your phone, and arranged for a bunch of your private information to be published (for their own gain, of course) before they returned it to you, would you be okay with that?

    OK with that? No, that's a ridiculous question. And not even the point.

    To continue this ridiculous line of reasoning, in that case I'd be PO'ed.

    And then I use my connections in the police department to have the police raid your house and rifle through your personal possessions.

    You're OK with that? That's an appropriate response?

    To be honest, it doesn't even seem rational to me to suggest the police raiding the blogger (or theft charges for that matter) are any kind of sane, when Apple's sitting with the 'stolen' property in their hands. Again this is clearly not about theft - they got their stuff back and the idea that it was stolen is tenacious at best. This is about retribution by Apple, and their use of the police department for their own ends.

    arieng




    msg:4124618
     8:15 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

    It seems to me the sticking point is the fact that the finder sold the phone to the blogger. How would the situation differ if the blogger had paid $5000 for a peek and some photos of the phone, but the finder maintained possession? Would that indemnify Chen/Gizmodo?

    buckworks




    msg:4124640
     8:52 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

    this ridiculous line of reasoning


    Wheel, when you say you'd be unhappy if someone published your sensitive information to the four winds before they returned your own lost phone, you are effectively agreeing that the atoms-and-molecules aspects of getting the physical phone back is by no means all that matters here!

    If your own phone were lost, the sensitive info would be things like messages, calling history, maybe some photos, and so on.

    When the Apple prototype phone was lost, the intellectual property at issue was not text messages or the like, but the very configuration of the phone itself. The features, the dimensions, the colors, everything about the prototype phone was Apple's intellectual property, just as surely as your own calling history would be for you.

    Someone recognized the value of that, and more than one person in the chain of events chose to misappropriate it for their own gain instead of safeguarding it for the rightful owner.

    wheel




    msg:4124649
     9:11 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)


    Wheel, when you say you'd be unhappy if someone published your sensitive information to the four winds before they returned your own lost phone, you are effectively agreeing that the atoms-and-molecules aspects of getting the physical phone back is by no means all that matters here!

    that's not what I said. But OK.

    Demaestro




    msg:4124650
     9:13 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

    The features, the dimensions, the colors, everything about the prototype phone was Apple's intellectual property, just as surely as your own calling history would be for you.


    The difference being that call history, text messages and emails are all subject to privacy laws. A person has a reasonable expectation of privacy in regards to those things.

    Features, the dimensions, the colors are not protecting by any privacy laws, and there can be ZERO expectation of privacy to the color, dimensions and camera details of a phone when you have your employees using it in bars.

    Features couldn't be reported on because the phone was bricked. All they could report is what they could see holding the phone, you can't argue there is a right to privacy for those visual attributes when the phone is left out in the public mistakenly or not.

    [edited by: Demaestro at 9:17 pm (utc) on Apr 29, 2010]

    buckworks




    msg:4124654
     9:16 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

    all subject to privacy laws


    Trade secrets have legal protection too.

    IanKelley




    msg:4124658
     9:19 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

    Actually the phone was protected by a superficial case that made it appear to be an iPhone 3G instead of a 4G.

    But I agree that comparing external impressions of the hardware (none of which came as a surprise to anyone) to posting someone's personal correspondence, is an unreaonable comparison.

    I also agree that whatever questionable choices the seller, or blogger, might have made, it does not justify vigilante justice.

    Demaestro




    msg:4124659
     9:26 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)


    Trade secrets have legal protection too.


    Not legal protection from someone reporting what they see, and clearly not in this case because they are being charged with Theft not something stemming from legal protection of trade secrets.

    Are you arguing that color, and dimensions as well as lens and camera flash details which can all be seen simply by looking at someone holding the phone can be called a trade secret when you have people using them in public?

    You can bet if there was a law broken that had anything to do with what you are talking about Apple would have pressed charges on those grounds instead we are left to debate the merits of a charge of theft.

    So far the arguments here for supporting a charge of theft are.

    1) Trade secrets have legal protection too. Nothing to do with theft.

    2) How would you like it if someone published your text message. Not what happened and nothing to do with theft.

    3) Intellectual property can be stolen too. The charge isn't theft of Intellectual property nor is that the contention.

    4) Apple support line isn't a "reasonable" way of attempting to contact the true owner as describing under California law. This is the only real argument I see for supporting a charge of theft, but it applies to the guy that found it not Chen.

    What exactly are the arguments supporting a charge of theft for against Chen?

    whoisgregg




    msg:4124660
     9:32 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

    "Finders keepers, losers weepers" is not the law.

    Finders have a legal obligation to hold property until the losers claims it. If the Finder is unwilling to accept that responsibility, then they don't pick up the lost property. Once the Finder sells the property, it is legally equivalent to theft regardless of intent.

    If the law didn't work this way, then anyone could claim any property that the owner isn't currently touching.

    Leave an umbrella outside the store? Lost property.
    Leave your car parked in a public lot? Lost property.
    Set down your wallet on a counter and turn away for a moment? Lost property.

    buckworks




    msg:4124670
     10:03 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

    How would you like it if someone published your text message. Not what happened and nothing to do with theft.


    OF course that's not what happened, that's an ANALOGY ... to make the point that publishing someone else's sensitive information is highly problematic.

    StoutFiles




    msg:4124673
     10:13 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

    Why do you keep saying that? No one posted anybodies' text messages. No one has ever contended that the phone was sold in order to read the text messages, the phone was known to be bricked already. Selling it to make text messages public is a whole different thing.


    It's an example of how Apple feels. The hardware contents of their phone, until officially released to the public are private, much like your text messages. A lot of people are saying that Apple shouldn't be angry at all! I'm just saying how would you feel if someone posted your personal information all over the internet? You would not be happy at all, regardless if you got your phone back or not.

    We can debate the legality of who did what and who is in the wrong for days but the courts will decide that eventually. Right now I'd say they're all guilty of something illegal. I'm just saying if it was MY phone and someone released all MY information to the world before handing it back to me, you better believe I'd be very angry and I'd do whatever I could legally do to punish them for it.


    Finders have a legal obligation to hold property until the losers claims it. If the Finder is unwilling to accept that responsibility, then they don't pick up the lost property. Once the Finder sells the property, it is legally equivalent to theft regardless of intent.


    Thank you! I'm glad someone here understands that taking things you don't own without permission is still illegal.

    Demaestro




    msg:4124675
     10:25 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

    that's an ANALOGY


    An apples to oranges one. You can't compare the privacy expectation of private messages with the color of a phone being used in public.

    A man is charged with theft, after returning something that doesn't belong to him. His home raided and front door broken down by a taskforce for computer fraud and i.d. theft, his computer seized and house trashed, but that is ok because... how would you feel if someone published your private message.

    Not sure how to respond to that.

    [edited by: Demaestro at 10:59 pm (utc) on Apr 29, 2010]

    Demaestro




    msg:4124681
     10:33 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

    Finders have a legal obligation to hold property until the losers claims it


    Chen did hold it until the owner, or using your words, the loser claimed it.

    Once the Finder sells the property, it is legally equivalent to theft regardless of intent.


    Then charge the guy who sold it. The guy who bought it did as you described, he held it until it was claimed and when it was he returned it.

    whoisgregg




    msg:4124686
     10:48 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

    Purchasing stolen goods is universally recognized as a crime of it's own, as the sale of stolen goods represents the greatest incentive to commit the crime.

    The fact that the purchaser of stolen goods publishes the act doesn't grant them any special protection. In other words, if a TV news anchor does a story about how they bought a plasma TV out the back of a pickup truck on the side of the road, that doesn't invoke any laws that would protect the anchor or the person who sold the TV.

    So, we're left simply with:
    ē a person who committed theft by selling someone else's property
    ē a company who publicized their purchase of stolen property

    Demaestro




    msg:4124694
     11:03 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

    So, we're left simply with:


    We are left with a journalist charged with theft, raided by a taskforce for computer fraud and i.d. when charged with theft, an illegally seized computer, a front door kicked in and a house trashed.

    And the justification for this is what?

    whoisgregg




    msg:4124706
     11:27 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

    Being a journalist isn't a blank check to purchase stolen property or commit any other crime.

    They publicized their purchase of stolen property. I'm pretty sure that was the justification.

    Demaestro




    msg:4124710
     11:39 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)


    They publicized their purchase of stolen property. I'm pretty sure that was the justification.


    Calling it stolen is pretty thin by any stretch.

    You think that publicizing the purchase of a stolen phone is justification for being raided by a taskforce for computer fraud and ID theft, having your home computer seized, your door kicked in and your house trashed? Maybe it happens/happened lots in places like former the former Soviet Union, China, Iraq, but I bet in places like Canada, the USA and the UK it has happened once... this time.

    Even if Chen had followed Jobs around waited for him to put his phone down then grabbed it and ran that wouldn't justify this action.

    I guess if that is what you think then good for you but I find that disgusting.

    How many 1 time, 1 phone thieves do you think have had their front doors kicked in by a taskforce and had their home computer seized and their homes trashed?

    I guess the reporters who bought "stolen" confidential internal documents from tobacco companies' employees and reported on it should consider themselves lucky that they didn't have their offices raided, files seized and charged with theft.

    [edited by: Demaestro at 11:46 pm (utc) on Apr 29, 2010]

    whoisgregg




    msg:4124713
     11:44 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

    This article contradicts a number of Gizmodo's details:
    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/04/iphone-finder/ [wired.com]
    A friend of Hoganís then offered to call Apple Care on Hoganís behalf, according to Hoganís lawyer. That apparently was the extent of Hoganís efforts to return the phone.

    After the friendís purported efforts to return the phone failed, several journalists were offered a look at the device. Wired.com received an e-mail March 28 ó not from Hogan ó offering access to the iPhone, but did not follow up on the exchange after the tipster made a thinly veiled request for money.

    Emailing a bunch of tech journalists to see who would pay seems to cross the ethical line here, if not the legal one.

    whoisgregg




    msg:4124715
     11:50 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

    How many 1 time, 1 phone thieves do you think have had their front doors kicked in by a taskforce and had their home computer seized and their homes trashed?

    I don't really see how it being a first time offense would affect how law enforcement collects evidence. I also don't think that asking for evidence politely is an effective approach.

    The recourse here if Chen is innocent is for him to sue the government for damages. It sucks that the door gets knocked in, but if the government action was truly illegal, I'm sure he'll recover enough to buy a new door... Heck, probably a new house.

    Demaestro




    msg:4124719
     11:55 pm on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

    Emailing a bunch of tech journalists to see who would pay seems to cross the ethical line here


    Yes you are right, taking info that reporters would love to have and contacting them to see if they are interested in a story is wrong.

    Selling a story to reporters is unethical and illegal and is reason to nail the reporter who buys any story to the wall.

    We can't send a message to people that selling info and stories to reporters is allowed in the USA.

    This 106 message thread spans 4 pages: < < 106 ( 1 2 [3] 4 > >
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