California Police raid home of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen

Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's house was raided this past Friday in the wake of Gizmodo's purchase of Apple's next-generation iPhone for $5,000

Well, I sure wouldn't want to be Gizmodo editor Jason Chen right about now. 

On Friday evening, California's Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team entered Chen's house while he was out with his wife and seized a laundry list of electronic devices, including a few of Chen's personal computers. The search and seizure comes just a few days after Silicon Valley Policed announced an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the now infamous iPhone 4G prototype that leaked out onto the web last week. Given that a warrant to search Chen's home was green-lit by a Judge, it would appear that California authorities are poised to pursue this case.

Meanwhile, Gizmodo attorney Gaby Darbyshire is arguing that the warrant used for the search was illegal because of journalistic shield laws which protect journalists from having to identify sources used during the course of writing a story. The flaw with that argument, however, is that the warrant was explicitly issued because Police have reason to believe that Chen's computers were used "as the means of committing a felony", which presumably refers to Gizmodo's purchase of the device, and not necessarily the fact that they plastered images and info about the device all over their webpage last Monday morning.

To be clear, though, no one has been charged with a crime just yet. The police are simply conducting an investigation to collect evidence which they will present to the District Attorney who will ultimately decide how to proceed. But still, I doubt Gizmodo envisioned their iPhone scoop playing out like this.

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