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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tech Blogger Off the Hook for iPhone Exposé

Posted By on Thu, Aug 11, 2011 at 9:40 AM

Screenshot from Jason Chen's video, April 2010
  • Screenshot from Jason Chen's video, April 2010
Gizmodo tech blogger Jason Chen has been let off the hook for buying and writing about an unreleased iPhone 4 prototype left in a Redwood City bar by an Apple engineer. Chen, a senior editor at Gizmodo, made headlines last April when he released photos and a detailed analysis of the prototype phone, enraging Apple and kicking off a debate about checkbook journalism and journalists' First Amendment rights.

Yesterday, San Mateo County Assistant District Attorney Morley Pitt announced that no charges would be brought against Chen, citing California's shield laws that protect the confidentiality of journalists' sources.

However, Brian Hogan and Sage Wallower, who picked up the phone in the first place and sold it to Chen, have been charged with misappropriation of lost property and possession of stolen property. When the two men found the phone, they sold it to Chen for $5,000 after unsuccessful attempts to contact Apple.

Apple was understandably infuriated by the exposé, but some felt that Apple went over the top by having the Superior Court of San Mateo issue a warrant so California's REACT (Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team) could raid Chen's residence, seizing four computers, two servers, and flash drives.

The saga is finally over. Gizmodo's parent company Gawker Media released this statement yesterday: "While we have always believed that we were acting fully within the law, it has inevitably been stressful for the editor concerned, Jason Chen, and we are glad that we can finally put this matter behind us."

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Caroline Chen


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