The lesson of the following story is: Don't mess with Apple, especially when it comes to revealing the secretive giant's new technology.
Gizmodo editor Jason Chen found that out when police in California entered his house and seized computers after he published a story about an iPhone prototype that was apparently found in a bar.
Last week's report on Gizmodo, which quickly went viral around the globe, featured pictures of the device and a full story on what it can do. An Apple engineer reportedly left it in a bar. (No word yet if he's still residing in the Apple Dungeon.) Gizmodo admits it paid the person who found it $5,000 for the phone. The legality of that transaction is in question right now.
Gizmodo may try to claim that it is a "bona fide good-faith purchaser," which is legalese for "we thought the seller had a legal right to sell the good." If that's accurate, Gizmodo wouldn't be liable for anything. If anyone is responsible, Gizmodo may argue, it's the seller -- not us. Then again, it may look to protect the seller as a "journalistic source."
But putting aside those legal wranglings and definitions, we do know these facts: When Chen arrived home Friday night, he found his front door bashed-in and police swarming his house. They ended up taking 4 computers and 2 servers.
Gizmodo's attorneys had emailed Chen to tell him this might happen, and that he should tell the officers that a search warrant is not valid because journalists are protected. As you will read in Chen's account of the incident, published on Gizmodo, the officers disregarded that: