Feeds

iPhone 4 prototype journo off the hook

Curtain comes down on Der Ring des Gizmodophonelungen

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The saga of the Gizmodophone – the iPhone 4 prototype found in a bar and exposed on the web – is nearing its end: prosecutors have decided that Gizmodo's Jason Chen won't be charged with wrongdoing in the long-running phone follies.

"The difficulty we faced is that Mr. Chen and Gizmodo were primarily, in their view, engaged in a journalistic endeavor to conduct an investigation into the phone and type of phone it was and they were protected by the shield law," San Mateo County assistant district attorney Morley Pitt told the Associated Press.

For those of you who were trekking through Tierra del Fuego last spring and missed the entire imbroglio, here's a mercifully abbreviated summary:

  • Apple engineer Gray Powell leaves a prototype iPhone 4, disguised in an iPhone 3GS case, in Gourmet Haus Staudt, a beer garden 20 miles north of Apple's Cupertino headquarters.
  • Photos of the prototype soon appear on Engadget, and the phone itself is bagged by Gizmodo from one Brian Hogan for a reported $5,000.
  • Apple contacts Gizmodo and asks that the phone be returned, essentially verifying that it is, indeed, an iPhone 4 prototype.
  • A media frenzy erupts over the outed iPhone 4, which late-night talk show host David Letterman mocks with "Top Ten Excuses of the Guy Who Lost the iPhone Prototype".
  • Gizmodo editor Jason Cheng's home is invaded by cops armed with a search warrant, who take away a laundry list of computer equipment as evidence.
  • Gizmodo's lawyer argues that the warrant should be judged invalid, claiming protection under a provision of the California penal code that protects journalists.
  • A wealth of excruciating detail about the caper is uncovered, including that Apple CEO Steve Jobs personally contacted Gizmodo, seeking the protoype's return, and that phone-finder Hogan, when friends argued that he'd ruin phone-loser Powell's career if he sold the phone, said "Sucks for him. He lost the phone. Shouldn't have lost the phone."
  • The San Mateo judge allows a court-appointed agent to begin searching Chen's equipment for evidence of possible wrongdoing.
  • The district attorney ask the court to withdraw the warrant used to search Chen's home. His request is granted, and Chen gets his equipment back.

And that's where the matter lay until this Wednesday, when assistant district attorney Pitt decided that enough was enough.

"We concluded it is a very gray area, they do have a potential claim and this was not the case with which we were going to push the envelope," he said.

Chen's lawyer expressed relief. "We feel there was not a crime to begin with and still believe that, and are pleased the DA's office has an appropriate respect for the First Amendment," he said

Hogan, however, is not yet off the hook. Prosecuters have filed misdemeanor charges against him and an accomplice, the wonderfully named Sage Wallower.

Hogan and Wallower were both charged with misappropriation of lost property; Wallower was also charged with possession of stolen property. They both could receive a maximum of a year in the county slammer, plus fines and probation.

Sucks to be them. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
PwC says US biz lagging in Internet of Things
Grass is greener in Asia, say the sensors
Ofcom sees RISE OF THE MACHINE-to-machine cell comms
Study spots 9% growth in IoT m2m mobile data connections
O2 vs Vodafone: Mobe firms grab for GCHQ, gov.uk security badge
No, the spooks love US best, say rival firms
Ancient pager tech SMS: It works, it's fab, but wow, get a load of that incoming SPAM
Networks' main issue: they don't know how it works, says expert
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.