California’s REACT task force searches Jason Chen’s home, seizes computers and other items.
The tale of the lost fourth-generation iPhone prototype, and its subsequent acquire by Gizmodo for $10,000 in cash, is well known and much debated. Even with the phone now safely returned to Apple, the leak fiasco today has taken a wild and ugly turn. Gizmodo reports that its editor Jason Chen was apparently raided by California’s Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT) task force under the authority of a search warrant. According to Jason Chen’s account of the events, the police had broken in and started searching his place without him present. Several of his computers and items were seized.
TechCrunch spoke to Stephen Wagstaffe, Chief Deputy at San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office, who said that nobody has yet been charged in the case, and at this point it is “just an investigation”. Wagstaffe said that investigation is “looking at any hand that touched or had something with the phone” and is not targetted to Gawker (Gizmodo’s parent compnay) or the person who originally found the phone.
Gawker has defended the case with California’s Shield Laws, meant to help protect journalist from having to turn over their sources and unpublished information they may have collected as part of their reporting. However, Gizmodo could be found guilty of a crime when they paid the phone’s finder for the device.