Gizmodo Blogger's Computer Seized

April 28, 2010


Wow, this could be an interesting test case, folks.

Gizmodo editor and blogger Jason Chen has had his house raided and his computer and other equipment confiscated by a California computer crime task force in Fremont, CA (in the SF Bay Area.) Gizmodo is a tech and gadget oriented blog from the Gawker empire, which acquired what appeared to be a prototype for the next generation of iPhone. Apparently, this prototype "was found" (do you like the passive voice there?) in a bar and sold to Gizmodo for $5000. The blog posted about the iPhone and then Apple acknowledged that the gadget had been stolen. Gizmodo returned the prototype. (You can read Gizmodo's account of the whole story here.)

That should have been it, but then the raid happened.

Chen said a detective told him the search stemmed from "a misunderstanding that could be cleared up if I answered some questions." He refused to answer questions, according to the New York Daily News.

That sounds an awful lot like the raid was a strong-arm tactic to get Chen to give up the name of the person/s who "found" the prototype and sold it to Gizmodo. Gawker Media is claiming that Chen's stuff is protected under a California law that prevents authorities from prying into a journalist's sources. It remains to be seen if Chen, a blogger, is to be considered a "journalist." I don't know about you, but I'm hoping to see this go to court. Could be important.