The Electronic Frontier Foundation is reporting that the District Attorney’s office in San Mateo County has been granted the right to withdraw the search warrant the issued earlier this year, to gain access to Gizmodo editor Jason Chen’s apartment after the stolen iPhone 4 prototype story broke. As EFF repeatedly noted at the time, the […]
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Search Warrant Withdrawn From The Gizmodo Stolen iPhone 4 Prototype Case

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is reporting that the District Attorney’s office in San Mateo County has been granted the right to withdraw the search warrant the issued earlier this year, to gain access to Gizmodo editor Jason Chen’s apartment after the stolen iPhone 4 prototype story broke.

As EFF repeatedly noted at the time, the warrant-backed search of Chen’s home was illegal as it violated California Penal Code section 1524(g)’s prohibition against the issuance of warrants for “unpublished information obtained or prepared in gathering, receiving or processing of information for communication to the public.”

The withdrawal means that everything taken from Chen must now be returned. The case is not dismissed however. Instead, the District Attorney’s office could request a subpoena for the same items.

The reasons for the withdrawal you ask? Well, it appears that Gizmodo has agreed to cooperate with the police now.

The San Mateo County judge overseeing the Gizmodo case on Friday ordered the search warrant to be withdrawn and the materials taken from Mr. Chen to be returned to him. Gawker Media Chief Operating Officer Gaby Darbyshire said Gizmodo has agreed voluntarily to give the district attorney materials that a court appointee “deems relevant to the case.”

Chris Feasel, deputy district attorney for San Mateo County, said Friday that the investigation into Gizmodo is ongoing. “Mr. Chen and Gizmodo have agreed to cooperate with our investigation,” he said.

Guarantee this isn’t the last we’ll hear of this. Besides, Gizmodo bought stolen goods. Reporting on someone else’s illegal dealings is one thing, but taking part in them is another.

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