There are so many issues surrounding the search and seizure of Jason Chen’s property that I hardly know where to begin except to say this could be the story of the year for legal professionals!
The short version of the story: The next-gen Iphone prototype was inadvertently left in a bar by Apple insider Gray Powell. It was then found and sold to the Japanese corporation Gizmodo and an editor, Chen, created a video to show it off to the world. Although Apple never reported the device as lost or stolen to the local police department, they screamed “FOUL” and a search warrant was executed.
For the sake of argument, let’s say Chen knew that the phone was considered “stolen”.
Section 485 of the California Penal Code states:
- [o]ne 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.
How many times has this particular law EVER been used to break down someone’s door for the search and seizure of computers? Is Chen a potential pedophile or murderer and the media forgot to mention it?
Also, why does the Powell still have his job if the situation resulted in potential felony charges?
What about the Constitutional rights of Chen as a blogger/journalist under the California shield law? § 1524(g) forbids search warrants for materials covered by the shield law.
Once again I can’t help thinking of OJ. If it weren’t for fame, OJ would have been “Orenthal the bus driving murder” (Chris Rock) and his conviction would have been cut and dry.
In Chen’s case, he disrupted the fame of the Apple cart! This in your face political power is downright scary! Who the hell does Steve Jobs play golf with to have generated this warrant in the first place?
While I don’t necessarily agree with what Gizmodo did, Apple needs to suck it up and revisit their security procedures for new products.
In the meantime I’m going to sit back and enjoy watching the state of California and Apple fighting off lawsuits! Popcorn anyone?