The latest chapter in the ongoing storm regarding a lost 4G iPhone, involves the search and seizure of hardware owned by an editor at the tech blog Gizmodo. To give you a quick recap: someone found a not-yet-released upgraded iPhone in a bar. The 4G iPhone caused a stir throughout the online community, and Gizmodo (which covers the world of new tech gadgets and products) asked to purchase the lost iPhone from the person who discovered it at the bar. Well, one person’s “lost” is another person’s “stolen.” And, as this report from CNET states, California law forbids that kind of transaction for products worth over $400:
Editors at Gizmodo, part of Gawker Media’s blog network, last week said they paid $5,000 for what they believed to be a prototype of a future iPhone 4G. The story said the phone was accidentally left at a bar in Redwood City, Calif., last month by an Apple software engineer and found by someone who contacted Gizmodo, which had previously indicated that it was willing to pay significant sums for unreleased Apple products.
CNET has not been able to confirm whether the investigation is targeting Gizmodo, the source who reportedly found the iPhone in a bar, or both. Apple has acknowledged that the lost device is its property. Calls to law enforcement sources on Monday were not immediately returned.
The tale of a lost iPhone may sound trivial, but Apple goes to great lengths to protect the secrecy of its products, and the company has not been afraid to take aggressive legal measures in the past. It filed a lawsuit against a Mac enthusiast Web site, for example, to unearth information about a leak. A state appeals court ruled in favor of the Web site.
The news of the arrest has also sparked a debate over the Privacy Protection Act, and whether the rights of the Gizmodo editor were violated. On Twitter, various film journalists began to discuss the case, and used it in reference to their own industry beat.