Hearing on unsealing Gizmodo warrant in next-gen iPhone imbroglio scheduled for Friday

invisibleSHIELD case for iPad“A judge in Silicon Valley will hear arguments later this week in a dispute over unsealing records about the criminal investigation into what may have been a prototype iPhone purchased by a gadget blog,” Declan McCullagh reports for CNET.

“San Mateo County Judge Clifford Cretan has scheduled a hearing for 9 a.m. PDT Friday in his courtroom in Redwood City, Calif. Cretan previously approved a police request to search the home office of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen…,” McCullagh reports. “Media organizations including CNET, the Associated Press, and Bloomberg are planning to ask Cretan to unseal an affidavit prepared by a San Mateo County detective asking to search Chen’s home”

McCullagh reports, “The coalition says that under California law, the affidavit became a public document after 10 days and that its release could reveal whether prosecutors followed proper procedures when searching a newsroom.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. Bloggers are not entitled to shield law protections as they are not investigative Journalist. Bloggers are Rumor Mongers, Conjecture analysts and Link Bait evangelists. Show me one Blogger that is a creditable Investigative Journalist and I’ll show you tens of Thousands that can’t and shouldn’t be called Journalist and Jason Chen would be in the top 10 of Bloggers that should never be considered a journalist.

    And Gawker’s Blogs should not be considered news outlets any way because Gawker’s owner has repeated over and over in the real press that Gawker’s blog properties are not news organizations and have no pretense to be news outlets. With that repeated claim by Gawker’s owner I’d say that there is no gray area Gizmodo is not a news organization and Jason Chen is not a reporter, he’s just a Blogger and entitled to no special protections extended to Journalist and their should be no questions about that status at all.

    He purchased stolen property which is CA is a class one felony. It’s clear that Gawker and Gizmodo are not news organizations because they published and release the name of the source and the fact that Chen had committed a Felony by purchasing the device. They then compounded their Felony by damaging the device after they purchased it, by taking it apart. Even a reporter is not exempt from following the law. The details of the next iPhone is not a whistle blower report. No public interest was served and no criminal wrong doing was exposed. In short a Blogger broke the law and the so called borderline journalist are attempting to rally for publicity.

    He’s a Blogger not a Journalist get over it. Bloggers are not Journalist and the laws do not protect bloggers they protect journalist. If Journalist want the shield laws to be extended to protect Bloggers too, then why not extend the shield laws to allow everyone to commit crimes blog about the and then be protected. That is basically the claim that all these so called news agencies and news blogs want to happen.

  2. So…If I start have a blog and can write whatever I feel like I’m protected by the SHIELD law? I’m in!!! Oh wait, common sense just kicked in and reminded me that BLOGGING is really nothing more than unsubstantiated biased comments. Never mind…

  3. @DUH!, @Demon, @SOFOD001

    Sorry, guys. I made the same argument years ago when a Mac-oriented site leaded information about a project code-named Asteroid. Apple sued to get the name of the leaker, but the EFF & others contended that bloggers are journalists, and entitled to shield law protections. That case was lost, and is now precedent.

    It isn’t that I disagree with you; I don’t. But I seriously doubt that Apple can win this if shield laws are ruled applicable in this case, and my money sez they will. In the meantime, maybe Zeke has a point; I’m not sure.

  4. @ Kevin J. Weise
    I’m superficially aware of that (Asteroid rumour) case, but not completely.

    Did the Asteroid case also involve the purchase of stolen property, and/or incitement to break the law (repeated, public call to others to “acquire” private property, to then sell to the “journalist”/blogger) ?

    I think the difference here (from the Asteroid case) are the possible crimes of theft, and purchase, and possession, of stolen property, in this iPhone case.

    Can you illuminate further whether you think the shield law would apply the same to this iPhone case as to the Asteroid rumour case?

    – Thanks.

  5. “Bloggers are Rumor Mongers, Conjecture analysts and Link Bait evangelists. “

    Right. So, the guy reporting on a physical object is a “rumor monger” using “conjecture”. How about Chen’s actual history of stories? Have you looked at those? Or do you mean that every blogger is equivalent regardless of the merits of their work? If so, does that make any sense to you?

    “He purchased stolen property which is CA is a class one felony.”

    Chen purchased it? My understanding was that Gawker Media purchased it. Chen has not yet been charged with anything. Evidence was seized from his residence.

    It was stolen? When was it exactly stolen? It has not been established that it was stolen. You seem incredibly certain of the facts when the only sources of information so far are “rumor mongers” and “conjecture analysts”.

    “…by damaging the device…”

    Taking apart a device and damaging it are not the same thing.

    “That is basically the claim that all these so called news agencies and news blogs want to happen.”

    I’m sure they do. I hope that previous precedents in this regard are upheld.

    You have every right to your opinion, but I suspect that things are much less black and white than you paint them. It they were as clear cut, Chen would have been charged already. From what I’ve read, there are plenty of issues in this case where the correct legal resolution is not entirely clear.

  6. Mariner, do you mean Epimenides of Knossos, Crete?

    Whence Epimenides is a liar, so ∃ a Cretan who is not a liar. Could it be Epimenides? Then Epimenides is not a liar. Thence all Cretans are liars. Hence Epimenides lies and thus, not all Cretans are liars. But Epimenides is thus a liar. ARRRRRGH!

  7. @Demon

    I can share your slippery slope concern over extending protection to anyone who posts comments on the internet, or, similarly, to a blogger. But, as technology advances, there are real concerns over whether internet journalists (or call them whatever name you wish, say…Kangaroos), whether Kangaroos get protected by laws passed decades/years ago. The intent here is to give First Amendment protection (and similar protections) to people who report news–rather than worry about who is a blogger, fool, idiot, journalist, internet essayist, Kangaroo, or what have you.

    Personally, and mostly off topic, I think the First Amendment about free speech in the US is the single most important right to fight the government there is.

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