San Francisco – San Mateo County, Calif.
prosecutors have suspended their examination of computer equipment seized from
the home of the reporter who posted a story about a prototype Apple (NASD: AAPL) iPhone 4G
left in a bar, while they examine whether their search violated laws protecting
the privacy of journalists. An attorney for Gizmodo, the blog that reportedly
paid $5,000 to the person who found the lost smartphone in a bar, told CNET
News.com the company may file suit over the handling of the search of reporter
Jason Chen’s residence.
County chief deputy
district attorney Stephen Wagstaffe told CNET that the journalist privacy issue
was considered before the search was conducted, but that the prosecutor
"had some good reasons why he and the judge felt the warrant was properly
Some legal spectators have posited that the privacy protection
laws for journalists don’t apply if the journalist is suspected of a crime,
while others maintain that a subpoena for the equipment should have instead been
issued, and that law enforcement is at fault.
Meanwhile, Wired.com reports that
Apple may have identified the person who originally found the lost iPhone
prototype, and that "people identifying themselves as representing Apple
last week visited and sought permission to search the Silicon Valley address of
the college-age man," citing a source close to the matter.
The source also
recounted that the finder of the iPhone attempted to notify Apple, but was
(San Francisco Chronicle)
(DMW previous coverage)