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Monday, April 26, 2010

Police Raid Gizmodo Editor's Home Following Lost iPhone

So first, scroll through Gizmodo's post on the affair.

Police have seized a number of computers and other equipment from Jason Chen's home, without him present. It is interesting that they seemed to have also seized a note from Gawker's COO explaining that as a journalist, such a seizure of Chen's property might not be entirely legal.

A interesting cross-roads then: Chen is a respectable full time blogger. The iPhone was obtained through fairly innocent meansby paying $5,000 and returned to Apple upon request. Gawker is claiming a legal defense based on journalistic grounds. As The Woz himself points out, there wasn't even anything earth shattering about the leak: most of the features were already rumored or assumed. Apple, according all obtainable facts, hasn't even fired the engineer responsible for losing the iPhone in the first place.

Is Apple really going to gain more with the gestapo approach here? This doesn't seem like anything more than a threat towards bloggers for creating leaks, no matter how the information was obtained.

And ironically - it looks Chen liked his Macs.


Thomas said...

Both Dan Gillmor of the Knight Center and Ryan Chittum of the Columbia Journalism Review have commented on the conflicts of interest that were already present in the App Store--how can a newspaper fairly cover the corporation it's working closely with to sell its product? How can the media truly value a free press, then sell through Apple's tightly-controlled walled garden, especially after the Fiore fiasco, and after they've revealed that they, too, could be pulled from the store for "objectionable" material?

It should be noted that we don't have evidence that Apple actually instigated this seizure. I think it's likely that they did, by pressing charges, but we don't know.

But that said, I think it's increasingly evident (if it wasn't before) that Apple is not a press-friendly company. At the very least, institutions who have been speculating that they would "save the industry" might want to think again. And I'd think it's about time now, for any organizations that have actually partnered with them, to do some deep soul-searching about the company with whom they've jumped into bed.

Josh said...

The real question is whether the investigation is after Gawker for purchasing the phone (purchase of stolen property) or the person who stole it (Chen's anonymous source) or both. I'm probably guessing Apple is going after anything they can, with as much of a "release the hounds" attitude as possible.

The Woz article is interesting. Apparently an Apple employee who showed him an iPad 3G *was* fired, whereas this guy was not. Woz describes it as the "Corleone" effect - make a mistake, be forgiven. Betray the company, and it is the boat for you.

The App Store's success is its most powerful weapon. Companies can't resist the audience, and Apple has the most thriving development community in its entire history. Though why anyone needs an app (other than Mobile Safari) to read the news is still a bit beyond me. It's a two feet, one door situation - they want to charge for some things, but to do that they need the App Store.

NPR seems to have it right - distribute the information through as many channels as possible (for free).