Police Seize Gizmodo Editor’s Computer in iPhone Leak Investigation

Gizmodo Editor Jason Chen found himself short a few computers after police confiscated several pieces of equipment from his residence Friday night. The computers, along with hard drives, an iPad and iPhone, were taken as part of an investigation into whether or not a crime was committed when the tech blog Web site took possession of a potentially stolen iPhone prototype.

The iPhone prototype was allegedly found in a bar and then later sold to Gizmodo. The site eventually posted photos and video of the device proclaiming it the next generation iPhone. Apple’s legal department contacted Gizmodo demanding the return of the device.

Gaby Darbyshire, COO for Gawker Media, Gizmodo’s parent company, claimed the search warrant was invalid because “search warrants may not be validly issued to confiscate the property of a journalist.” That didn’t, however, stop law enforcement officials from confiscating the electronics they were interested in.

Issuing and executing a search warrant doesn’t necessarily mean Mr. Chen has broken any laws, and in the United States, suspects and potential suspects in crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court. Base on the fact that law enforcement officials were able to obtain a warrant, however, there’s a good chance investigators think that Mr. Chen may have had evidence related to Gizmodo’s involvement in obtaining the iPhone prototype, and that a crime may have occurred.