Court begins examining Gizmodo’s Jason Chen’s computers, devices for 4G iPhone info

HOT Apple Computers + FREE Shipping“Authorities have finally begun examining the computers, server, and other electronic gear seized from a Gizmodo editor as part of the investigation into a missing iPhone prototype,” Greg Sandoval and Declan McCullagh report for CNET.

“Stephen Wagstaffe, chief deputy district attorney for San Mateo County, told CNET on Wednesday that a court there had appointed a ‘special master’ to search the items seized from the home of Jason Chen in late April,” Sandoval and McCullagh report. “The court has asked the special master to collect only information that pertains to Gizmodo’s dealings with an iPhone prototype that the blog purchased for $5,000.”

Sandoval and McCullagh report, “Wagstaffe said his staff considered whether reporter shield laws applied and then decided to proceed. Once Chen’s gear was confiscated, it couldn’t be searched until the issue of whether the search was lawful was addressed. Wagstaffe said his department and Chen’s attorney, Thomas Nolan, came to an agreement on how Chen’s computer and other equipment could be searched. Nolan did not respond to an interview request.

“According to Wagstaffe, a special master is an unpaid agent appointed by the court to make sure judicial orders are followed. Special masters are typically volunteers, mostly former judges or law professors, Wagstaffe said. They are supposed to be unconnected to the cases they are working on. Wagstaffe said he was under court orders not to reveal the identity of the special master reviewing Chen’s possessions,” Sandoval and McCullagh report. “After the search is concluded, the special master will send his findings of what he believes is relevant to the case on to the judge, who will then present it to Chen and his lawyers so they can make any objections. The judge will then decide what to forward to the district attorney.”

More info in the full article here.

D8: Steve Jobs on the Gizmodo Story: Jobs talks candidly about Apple’s situation with Gizmodo, the site that bought an iPhone prototype found in a bar.

Direct link to video via AllThingsD here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]


  1. “Hope they find some kiddy porn on there too for good measure”

    They couldn’t use it in court, or even to begin a separate investigation, since it would be contrary to the agreement, and thus, an illegal search.


  2. How do we know the phone was actually “lost”?

    Just because some blogger says so doesn’t make it true.

    How do we know the Apple employee was drunk at the bar?

    Just because some blogger says so doesn’t make it true.

  3. “… then present it to Chen and his lawyers so they can make any objections.”

    Gee, I wonder if they will have any objections if any smoking guns are identified by the special master? The question is, will they have any *legally valid* objections?

  4. deepdish:

    How do we know Gizmodo isn’t the initiator and instigator of the lifting the phone?

    We do know they were so desperate to get Apple secret info or prototypes, though, so desperate they instigated Apple employees and the public at large by publicly offering a bounty for any such bounty.

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