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Gizmodo Off the Hook In iPhone 4 Investigation

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the no-harm-no-foul dept.

Iphone 145

An anonymous reader writes "When Gizmodo ran photos of Apple's iPhone 4 months before Apple even officially acknowledged it existed, the blogosphere exploded with excitement. But when details leaked explaining how Gizmodo came to find itself in possession of a pre-release iPhone 4, that excitement quickly turned into indignation, and for some, anger. Now, Gimzodo and Gizmodo editor Jason Chen have been let off the hook by the San Mateo DA's office."

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145 comments

Good. (1, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049964)

They didn't steal it.

They openly acknowledged how they got it.

They stated, simply, that if it did belong to Apple, which was not a 100% certainty but was likely, that all Apple had to do was to ask for it back through proper channels.

Instead, we saw what happened. I would rather a judge have found for them and dismissed with prejudice, but at least it appears to be working out.

Re:Good. (1, Insightful)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050046)

What you see here is a corporation abusing the legal system for no other reason than to protect their ass.

Funny thing is that in the end, it didnt hurt them at all.

Of course if the guy had been given the chance to debug the device, perhaps he would have found that pesky little antenna issue.

Re:Good. (1)

MichaelKristopeit501 (2018074) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050086)

what other purpose does a legal system serve than protecting?

Funny thing, you're an idiot.

Re:Good. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37050312)

And you're completely pathetic
Hide behind your chosen pseudonym some more feeb

Re:Good. (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050756)

And you're A. Coward.
Hide behind your given pseudonym all you want.

Re:Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37052286)

And you're A. Coward. Hide behind your given pseudonym all you want.

Apparently you aren't familiar with the MichaelKristopeit trolls.

Re:Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37052934)

Whoosh, Fucking newfags.

Re:Good. (-1, Troll)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050098)

What you see here is a corporation abusing the legal system for no other reason than to protect their ass.

How did Apple abuse the system? What exactly did they do?

Of course if the guy had been given the chance to debug the device, perhaps he would have found that pesky little antenna issue.

What "antenna issue"? The one that is so awful that Apple has sold many tens of millions of iPhone 4's, making the iPhone 4 the most popular smartphone out there? Even over a year after its release?

Wow, that's some issue!

Re:Good. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37050202)

What "antenna issue"? The one that is so awful that Apple has sold many tens of millions of iPhone 4's, making the iPhone 4 the most popular smartphone out there? Even over a year after its release?

It bothers me when people say "just because Windows sold 400 million copies doesn't make it good," but then Apple apologists will use the same logic for the iPhone.

400 million copies? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37050484)

How many people deliberately went down to their local future shop and bought Windows. How many people deliberately went to their mobile carrier and bought the iPhone? People get Windows on accident. People get iPhones on purpose. Your parent commenter remains correct.

Re:400 million copies? (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050936)

How many people deliberately went down to their local future shop and bought Windows.

I did; XP and 7 worked quite well for me.

How many people deliberately went to their mobile carrier and bought the iPhone?

I did that too, but not an iPhone 4. I'm quite happy with my 3G and I'm in no rush to get a newer model.

People get Windows on accident. People get iPhones on purpose.

One doesn't "accidentally" buy stuff.

Your parent commenter remains correct.

The mods disagree apparently, but what the hell do they know, eh? It's not like there's been much in the way of logical arguments so far.

Re:400 million copies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37052250)

People don't get Windows. They get a Dell. They get a Vaio. They get a Samsung. I believe that was the point gp was trying to make.

And I'm not entirely sure how `I did' is in any way an answer to `How many people deliberately went down to...' Nor how your opting to go for a 3G over a 4 (or before the 4 was out) is relevant. Anecdotes. Useless as answers to questions about broader trends.

Re:400 million copies? (0)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37053134)

People don't get Windows. They get a Dell. They get a Vaio. They get a Samsung. I believe that was the point gp was trying to make.

And I'm not entirely sure how `I did' is in any way an answer to `How many people deliberately went down to...'

What was implied was that no-one deliberately bought Windows, only incidentally got it as part of a pre-built computer. What I'm saying is that this is untrue: I went out and bought boxed versions for my home build and I'm obviously not the only person ever to do this.

Nor how your opting to go for a 3G over a 4 (or before the 4 was out) is relevant. Anecdotes. Useless as answers to questions about broader trends.

You're right, it's not relevant, it's just an aside to saying I bought an iPhone too. What I'm trying to say is that people buy Windows and iPhones deliberately.

Re:400 million copies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37051034)

How many people deliberately went down to their local future shop and bought Windows. How many people deliberately went to their mobile carrier and bought the iPhone? People get Windows on accident. People get iPhones on purpose. Your parent commenter remains correct.

Oh bullshit you're actually saying nearly 1/2 a billion people accidentally got windows but didn't want it? People are constantly arguing that apple's computer prices are not higher than other manufacturers and that there is no 'apple tax' which means that many people are actively choosing windows over osx.

Re:400 million copies? (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#37051156)

No, he's saying that few people specifically choose Windows, they choose a "computer". Windows is just what comes with a "computer". Few people who buy PCs buy it specifically for Windows.

Most people don't engage in the stupid platform wars that nerds do. They just really don't give a shit, just like they don't care which FPGA their TV set uses.

Re:400 million copies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37051290)

Right, so then they can just as easily accidentally get Apple stuff when they choose "computer" (insert "smartphone" if you like) since most people "don't give a shit".

Re:400 million copies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37051468)

No, he's saying that few people specifically choose Windows, they choose a "computer". Windows is just what comes with a "computer". Few people who buy PCs buy it specifically for Windows.

Then - if windows had 'pesky little issues' - they'd buy a mac, but they don't. Even if 90% of those were OEM sales and you consider that no-one who bought a PC chose to buy a windows-based one that still leaves tens of millions of people that actively chose it over osx or linux.

Re:400 million copies? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052888)

No, he's saying that few people specifically choose Windows, they choose a "computer". Windows is just what comes with a "computer". Few people who buy PCs buy it specifically for Windows.

Most people don't engage in the stupid platform wars that nerds do. They just really don't give a shit, just like they don't care which FPGA their TV set uses.

Few people specifically choose gasoline engines when the choose a "car". Gasoline engines are just what comes with a "car". Few people who buy cars buy them specifically for gasoline engines. Most people don't engage in the stupid drive wars that hipsters do. They just really don't give a shit, just like they don't care which FPGA their TV set uses.

See what I did there?
Dismissing Windows or gasoline engines as "not specifically requested" does not work. Just because an item is not specifically requested, doesn't mean it is not commonly desired. Most prefer gasoline / Windows to diesel / Linux (too much hassle), hybrids / Macs (too much money and the only real benefit is your image), pure electrics / Unix (impractical, backwards for the environment), or solar cars / Whatever Google's trotting out (permanent beta).

Re:Good. (-1, Flamebait)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#37051118)

What "antenna issue"? The one that is so awful that Apple has sold many tens of millions of iPhone 4's, making the iPhone 4 the most popular smartphone out there? Even over a year after its release?

It bothers me when people say "just because Windows sold 400 million copies doesn't make it good," but then Apple apologists will use the same logic for the iPhone.

What's this red herring got to do with my post? Is it somehow meant to debunk the notion that people aren't having some sort of horrible experience with the iPhone 4's antenna?

This issue has been extremely exaggerated. Sales numbers back this up. At the time it was a big news story, people were saying this is some sort of critical flaw, that Apple would have to issue a recall, etc., etc.

Clearly none of that is the case.

But Slashdot is so extremely out of touch with reality, simply pointing out two very obvious fundamental flaws with jhoegl's post gets modded "Troll" simply because it isn't "rah-rah, let's hate Apple!" These flaws are so incontrovertible, you couldn't even actually address them, just bring up a red herring and call me an "apologist"!

It's truly pathetic around here these days.

Re:Good. (1, Flamebait)

Falconhell (1289630) | more than 2 years ago | (#37051496)

"It's truly pathetic around here these days."

Yeh, whiney mac fanboys like you really give me the shits. There is nothing that Apple does that can be critcised
without the faithful bleating endlessly.

Re:Good. (2)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#37051506)

This issue has been extremely exaggerated.

The post you replied to referred to it as a 'pesky little issue', nothing more, hell even Apple admitted it was a an issue and issued a fix. Yes it has been exaggerated, but certainly not in the context of the post you replied to.

But Slashdot is so extremely out of touch with reality, simply pointing out two very obvious fundamental flaws with jhoegl's post gets modded "Troll" simply because it isn't "rah-rah, let's hate Apple!"

But there is no flaw with his post, he said it was a 'pesky little issue', Apple even agrees with that, they issued bumpers as a fix. You would be absolutely 100% correct if had have been making out as if it was a major problem because that is completely untrue, but he didn't, on the contrary he trivialised it about as much as he could.

Re:Good. (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052914)

What "antenna issue"? The one that is so awful that Apple has sold many tens of millions of iPhone 4's, making the iPhone 4 the most popular smartphone out there? Even over a year after its release?

It bothers me when people say "just because Windows sold 400 million copies doesn't make it good," but then Apple apologists will use the same logic for the iPhone.

What's this red herring got to do with my post? Is it somehow meant to debunk the notion that people aren't having some sort of horrible experience with the iPhone 4's antenna?

This issue has been extremely exaggerated. Sales numbers back this up. At the time it was a big news story, people were saying this is some sort of critical flaw, that Apple would have to issue a recall, etc., etc.

Clearly none of that is the case.

But Slashdot is so extremely out of touch with reality, simply pointing out two very obvious fundamental flaws with jhoegl's post gets modded "Troll" simply because it isn't "rah-rah, let's hate Apple!" These flaws are so incontrovertible, you couldn't even actually address them, just bring up a red herring and call me an "apologist"!

It's truly pathetic around here these days.

Do we have to cover this again?
Antennae are tuned to pick up specific frequencies.
To tune an antenna, you adjust its electrical length. This is determined by the electrical properties of the antenna, as well as its length.

The iPhone 4's antenna is external. When a human hand bridges the edge of the phone where the antenna is, the electrical length is changed (humans are kind of wet, salty, conductive, and capacitive), and thus the antenna is detuned. This causes severe signal loss, on the order of 20 dBi or higher. This can cause call quality to degrade, calls to fail, data speeds to drop, etc.

Mitigation efforts were put in at the software level. These efforts basically consisted of:
1 - Hide the problem in the signal quality display.
2 - Jump around and look for different towers when you see a sudden drop in signal quality.

The external antenna is a severe design flaw and shows that there was no real world testing.
If there was a variable resistor attached to the antenna, it could simply be retuned on the fly, though this of course is no substitute for a proper design.

I expect the iPhone 5 to either ditch the external antenna design, or to include a variable resistor to retune it on the fly. Either way they'll tell people it's their best antenna yet.

Re:Good. (0)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052466)

The best part is the fact that even when holding the iPhone4 wrong ... it STILL gets better reception than almost every other phone on the market ...

Yes, on its bad day, its still light years beyond pretty much anything else you hold next to it, but hey, the Razr doesn't have that problem! Of course, its best signal is worse than an iPhone4s 'death grip' signal.

Re:Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37052880)

The best part is the fact that even when holding the iPhone4 wrong ... it STILL gets better reception than almost every other phone on the market ...

Yeah you just keep telling yourself that, one serious apple fanboy you must be to have accepted that the problem was not with the phone, but that you were holding it wrong. apple couldn't be wrong, it must be the fault of the user.

Re:Good. (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050990)

How was that abuse? They went after those involved in taking their prototype. That's not abuse.

Re:Good. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37050082)

They didn't steal it.

No, but they knew it was stolen. And they bought it anyway.

Re:Good. (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 2 years ago | (#37051148)

Ah yes, but can we truly "know" anything. Your honor, I call Socrates to the stand.

Seriously though, the thieving bastards are innocent until proven guilty and apparently no wrongdoing on their part can be proven.

Re:Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37050138)

They openly acknowledged how they got it.

Yes, they admitted paying 10,000 dollars for stolen property. They could have just contacted the police after having been offered the stolen item. Instead, they chose to buy, inspect and photograph it.

Try it yourself sometime. Buy a TV from someone unknown in a bar. When the police want to arrest you for it, you can say that you were just keeping it until the original owner requested it back.

Re:Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37050176)

Paying for misappropriated property and then dismantling it was perhaps considered to be a little unorthodox, maybe even irksome. Doesn't matter that they acknowledge how they got it. What matters is that they bought property that the seller had no right to sell, and dismantle the fucker. It's not quite the same as opening a lost wallet to look for ID to help trace the owner. Gizmodo took a chance with the law in order to get a scoop and fortunately for them it didn't turn sour - in fact they got a bit of press out of this.

Re:Good. (4, Insightful)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050284)

They bought it for $10,000 after the "seller" explained to them he thought it was a lost prototype iPhone. Both parties even knew who owned it from the phone's info; selling/buying someone else's property seems like dealing in stolen property to me. And then to make it worse, they disassembled it and broke it while trying to put it back together.

If they didn't think it was really a lost prototype from Apple, why would they have done any of those things? Intent is an important consideration in legal matters like this, and their actions clearly showed their intent...

Re:Good. (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050414)

Depending on how they couched the previous press releases, they may have contended that they paid $10,000 for the rights to a story about the new iPhone, and the "finder" gave them the hardware to prove that his story about the new iPhone details was real.

Re:Good. (2, Insightful)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050796)

Depending on how they couched the previous press releases, they may have contended that they paid $10,000 for the rights to a story about the new iPhone, and the "finder" gave them the hardware to prove that his story about the new iPhone details was real.

...so the defense would be: "No, sir, we didn't buy this phone we knew to be stolen; we rented it in order to profit by dismantling it and putting photos of it in our website. (And yeah, sorry for breaking it!)" Yeah, that's gonna work great.

I don't understand why the DA isn't going after them.

Re:Good. (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37051572)

I agree. The case appears to be a slam dunk for the DA. The idiot troll Gizmodo editors didn't even bother consulting an attorney, didn't even occur to them that there was any moral or legal issue with purchasing a stolen corporate secret prototype ... fools.

I wonder though, with all the trouble and loss of revenue Gizmodo caused with the Antennagate BS, if Apple made some deal with Gizmodo to have the charges dismissed if the quasi-journalists' stop being such asshats. Doesn't seem likely... as Apple mercilessly killed ThinkSecret, and they never even approached the bullshit that Gizmodo pulled last summer.

Re:Good. (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052500)

I agree. The case appears to be a slam dunk for the DA. The idiot troll Gizmodo editors didn't even bother consulting an attorney, didn't even occur to them that there was any moral or legal issue with purchasing a stolen corporate secret prototype ... fools.

I wonder though, with all the trouble and loss of revenue Gizmodo caused with the Antennagate BS, if Apple made some deal with Gizmodo to have the charges dismissed if the quasi-journalists' stop being such asshats. Doesn't seem likely... as Apple mercilessly killed ThinkSecret, and they never even approached the bullshit that Gizmodo pulled last summer.

Unlikely. The Gizmodo thing probably cost Gizmodo more in the end - Apple's basically blackballed them, and Apple brings in LOTS of clicks. In fact, at WWDC 2010, they were BEGGING for a press pass. Why they didn't think to purchase a ticket instead (sure, the press pass is free, but the iPhone4 reveal made that super unlikely).

These days, Gizmodo's basically dead. The Gawker CEO enforced some screwed up site design that barely works anymore (people are constantly complaining about the new layout), all the big names at Gizmodo have left (Jason Chen, Brian Lam, etc. have left to pursue other activities).

And if Gawker was smart, everything they did would've been over the phone or in-person. They weren't charged because there's simply no evidence. They said they paid $10,000, but the only evidence was a posting.

Re:Good. (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052638)

They weren't charged because there's simply no evidence. They said they paid $10,000, but the only evidence was a posting.

I don't think $10K can change hands without other available evidence existing (bank records, $10K check being cashed, or even if it was cash, there had to be a withdrawal). This would be circumstantial, because the money exchanged could have been for anything... except what you said, Gizmodo posted the story of their acquisition. But by the time the DA wants a deposition/testimony from the writers, I'm sure they're lawyered up and protected by the 5th Amendment from incriminating themselves. I suppose that was the deal they brokered, that if they give up their source they'll avoid charges.

Re:Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37050426)

Maybe the person paying for it would have to give it back. But go to jail? No.

Gizmodo wasn't all in the right here, but bringing down the police like they're personal security guards for Apple is a bit much. I couldn't get that much action in SJ if my car got stolen.

Re:Good. (2, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050836)

"Bringing down the police like they're personal security guards"? What are you smoking?!

Apple told the police that one of their prototypes was stolen, and had a pretty good idea who had it, since they posted about it on the internet, with self incrimination that they purchased stolen property (however you slice it, the law in California is very specific about what you can do with something you "find" - you cannot sell it right away, you have to register it as a lost item with the local sheriff's office, and if it goes unclaimed, then you can sell it).

This was not "personal security" from Apple, it was *the bread and butter day job of the police*. You just don't like it because someone who was not Apple was the bad guy in the whole palaver.

Re:Good. (0)

vux984 (928602) | more than 2 years ago | (#37051238)

Slow down cowboy.

a) Gizmodo did not steal it. Gizmodo bought it knowing it was problably stolen.

however you slice it, the law in California is very specific about what you can do with something you "find" - you cannot sell it right away, you have to register it as a lost item with the local sheriff's office, and if it goes unclaimed, then you can sell it).

a) Gizmodo didn't find it. They bought it, knowing that it was either fake or stolen. If it was fake, no harm done. If it was stolen, they had every intention of returning it to the original owner... they contacted Apple about it.

b) Gizmodo didn't try and sell it.

c) The reason you register it with the sheriff's office is because you don't know who it belongs to and can't return it. Gizmodo already knew who it belonged to and called them directly, and offered to let Apple pick it up.

Apple hung up on them UNTIL they realized they actually were missing a prototype... and then they sic'd the cops on the very guy who had CONTACTED THEM OFFERING TO RETURN IT.

That is why its being framed as using the cops as personal security. There was no need to involve the cops... Gizmodo had ALREADY approached apple and offered to return it.

If someone finds your wallet on the street, and uses the ID in it to phone you and let you know he has your wallet and invites you to pick it up... do you send the cops to arrest him for theft because he didn't turn it into the sheriff's office? Or do you just go down and pick up your damned wallet?

Apple sent the cops...

The only difference is that gizmodo didn't find the prototype on the street, they paid the guy who was trying to unload it. But that's irrelevant. Going back to the wallet example... some bum on the street finds your dropped wallet and puts it up for sale on his blanket... you see it, buy it, and then see the ID inside... and then call the original onwer.

Meanwhile you write about it on your blog and generate some hits. Should that be illegal? Maybe "you" are Steve Jobs, and the wallet story is kind of a big deal, so it generates a lot of hits. Same difference. Hell... if you noticed the drivers licenses was still in the wallet when you bougth it from the Bum and that's WHY you bought it ... to write about it on your blog... as long as your first steps included contacting the owner and try and return it ... I still don't see anything even slightly wrong.

Re:Good. (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#37051336)

a) I know, I mentioned it in my post, that you quoted.

b) I know Gizmodo didn't try and sell it, and they they didn;t "find" it initially - they bought it. The point of talking about what is and isn't legal when you "find" something in California is that knowing purchasing stolen property is also a crime. I'm not accusing them of stealing the phone, I'm pointing out that they incriminated themselves by stating on their website that they bought the phone from a guy who had "attempted to return it to Apple".

The only difference is that gizmodo didn't find the prototype on the street, they paid the guy who was trying to unload it. But that's irrelevant. Going back to the wallet example... some bum on the street finds your dropped wallet and puts it up for sale on his blanket... you see it, buy it, and then see the ID inside... and then call the original onwer.

You might think it is irrelevant but it is *against the law in CA* to do what the guy who "found" the phone did, and to do what Gizmodo did, knowing that the guy did not own the phone himself. There is simply no getting around that fact, as inconvenient as it is, because it puts Apple as the non-bad-guy in a story on slashdot, but it's simply the reality of the matter.

If you purchased a wallet from a guy who said he found it on the street and you are pretty certain that it is not his, you are knowingly receiving stolen property by the strict definition of the law in CA which state found items must be reported. They cannot simply be sold on without that procedure.

You might not "see what is wrong" but the law doesn't work that way.

Re:Good. (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#37051536)

The point of talking about what is and isn't legal when you "find" something in California is that knowing purchasing stolen property is also a crime. I'm not accusing them of stealing the phone, I'm pointing out that they incriminated themselves by stating on their website that they bought the phone from a guy who had "attempted to return it to Apple".

Exactly. Which in fact goes back to my original comment about *intent*. Was their intent to buy it just so that they could be good Samaritans and return it to Apple? No, that was their excuse. Their intent was to do whatever they needed to do to get an exclusive scoop on an unreleased Apple product, clearly resulting in a lot of traffic and revenue to their site. They knowingly bought stolen property with the intent to profit from their actions. Sounds like at least a half-decent case to me.

And actually, equally incriminating (to the seller and buyer) as well as surprising that no one mentions: why did both parties assume *Apple* was the owner, unless they knew it was a prototype? Regardless of who *manufactured* the phone, from the point of view of both of these parties, the person who lost it (and who's contact info was IN THE PHONE) was the owner. If they had given it to the restaurant where it was lost, the police, or the guy who lost it rather than calling some random Apple support number to "pretend" to return it or trying to extort a scoop, no one would have questioned anyone's actions in the matter...

Re:Good. (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052950)

a) I know, I mentioned it in my post, that you quoted.

b) I know Gizmodo didn't try and sell it, and they they didn;t "find" it initially - they bought it. The point of talking about what is and isn't legal when you "find" something in California is that knowing purchasing stolen property is also a crime. I'm not accusing them of stealing the phone, I'm pointing out that they incriminated themselves by stating on their website that they bought the phone from a guy who had "attempted to return it to Apple".

The only difference is that gizmodo didn't find the prototype on the street, they paid the guy who was trying to unload it. But that's irrelevant. Going back to the wallet example... some bum on the street finds your dropped wallet and puts it up for sale on his blanket... you see it, buy it, and then see the ID inside... and then call the original onwer.

You might think it is irrelevant but it is *against the law in CA* to do what the guy who "found" the phone did, and to do what Gizmodo did, knowing that the guy did not own the phone himself. There is simply no getting around that fact, as inconvenient as it is, because it puts Apple as the non-bad-guy in a story on slashdot, but it's simply the reality of the matter.

If you purchased a wallet from a guy who said he found it on the street and you are pretty certain that it is not his, you are knowingly receiving stolen property by the strict definition of the law in CA which state found items must be reported. They cannot simply be sold on without that procedure.

You might not "see what is wrong" but the law doesn't work that way.

It is not against the law. Now matter how many asterisks you put around your little ranting phrases.
Laws are written with a purpose, and to violate this law in a criminal fashion there has to be criminal intent. There was none - to the contrary, they went above and beyond what they were required by law to do. They contacted the probable owners themselves and offered to return the device. They could have just registered it as "a lost phone" at some podunk Sherrif's office, waited 2 weeks, and then taken it as their own.

Judges do this funny thing where the consider both the letter and spirit of laws. There's a reason Gizmodo won. They were right, Apple was wrong. Deal with it.

Re:Good. (1)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050878)

Maybe the person paying for it would have to give it back. But go to jail? No.

So how would you write theft and other related laws so that either (a) paying somebody $10,000 for a phone you know doesn't belong to them is not theft or a substantially similar crime, or (b) it is theft, but you shouldn't go to jail because after you got caught you said you were gonna give it back?

Re:Good. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37051452)

They bought it for $10,000 after the "seller" explained to them he thought it was a lost prototype iPhone. Both parties even knew who owned it from the phone's info; selling/buying someone else's property seems like dealing in stolen property to me. And then to make it worse, they disassembled it and broke it while trying to put it back together.

Gizmodo was more than happy to give the phone back to Apple for free, if only Apple would publicly acknowledge it was theirs -- that's quite reasonable. Imagine the uproar if Gizmodo had given it back to anyone who claimed the phone was theirs with no public evidence to back it up. It's also not yet clear whether the phone was stolen or was lost in a bar. The court case will decide that, but it's not clear to unbiased observers which is the case.

Furthermore Gizmodo did not break the phone, Apple purposefully disabled it over the air.

The charges should never have had been laid and the linked article is biased in the extremes. Gizmodo wasn't let off the hook, they were never on the hook in the first place. A fairer headline would have been "Charges against Gizmodo dismissed after no supporting evidence found"

Re:Good. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37051482)

Gizmodo was more than happy to give the phone back to Apple for free, if only Apple would publicly acknowledge it was theirs

So you can add extortion to the charges on top of it.

Re:Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37051574)

They should have given it to the first Chinese knock-of factory who claimed it was theirs instead?

Re:Good. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37051964)

They bought it for $10,000 after the "seller" explained to them he thought it was a lost prototype iPhone. Both parties even knew who owned it from the phone's info; selling/buying someone else's property seems like dealing in stolen property to me.

Before the seller sold it to Gizmodo, he called Apple and explained he had one of their prototype phones. He did this multiple times. At first they told him that could not be the case, then they took his information and just never got back to him.

At that point, it's abandoned property. Once he sold it, Gizmodo also attempted to contact Apple, explaining that all they needed to do is to acknowledge that the phone was indeed theirs (which would be great for them, because it would confirm it was a legit prototype). Perhaps because Apple didn't want to give them that confirmation, Apple initially refuse to acknowledge the phone was theirs. So, after Apple repeatedly claimed that the phone was not theirs, and after they refused to take it back despite many offers, they show up with the police on a raid and grab the phone.

Basically, you can't blame either Gizmodo or they guy they bought the phone from. The Apple employee was careless and Apple the company literally abandoned the phone before deciding that actually, they did want it back. Which would have been fine if they asked for it, but that's not what they did.

Re:Good. (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052794)

Before the seller sold it to Gizmodo, he called Apple and explained he had one of their prototype phones. He did this multiple times. At first they told him that could not be the case, then they took his information and just never got back to him.

At that point, it's abandoned property.

That's absurd. 1) why would he think it was *Apple* property unless he knew it was a valuable prototype phone? It was lost by a guy in a bar - a guy who's name and contact info he already knew. If someone found your iPhone phone and really wanted to return it to you, would they call Apple?? 2) in an even less impressive display of token ass-covering he called a random customer support number of one of the largest consumer electronics companies in the world. He probably told some random outsourced support tech he had an Apple phone and wanted to return it, and they of course had no clue what he was talking about.

Once he sold it, Gizmodo also attempted to contact Apple, explaining that all they needed to do is to acknowledge that the phone was indeed theirs (which would be great for them, because it would confirm it was a legit prototype).

Again, what did this really have to do with Apple unless they knowingly bought a stolen prototype? They also had the chance to return it to the guy who lost it, to the police, or to the place it was found, but they knew what they bought and so decided to extort Apple for a story...

If the "finder" or Gizmodo had any interest in being a Samaritan vs pure selfish profit or promotion, this should have been NO different from any other person losing their phone. Trying to pretend all parties were just "trying to do the right thing" is either totally naive or intentionally distorting what happened...

Re:Good. (1)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052804)

No, Apple demanded it back. Steve Jobs even personally called, but Gizmodo refused [telegraph.co.uk] :

According to newly released California state court documents Jobs, also the company's chief executive, personally contacted Brian Lam, the editor of Gizmodo.com which obtained the sensitive device, asking they return it.

The New York-based technology gadget website said it would only return the device if Apple confirmed its authenticity.

Sounds like extortion to me.

Re:Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37053550)

No, Apple demanded it back. Steve Jobs even personally called, but Gizmodo refused [telegraph.co.uk] :

According to newly released California state court documents Jobs, also the company's chief executive, personally contacted Brian Lam, the editor of Gizmodo.com which obtained the sensitive device, asking they return it.

The New York-based technology gadget website said it would only return the device if Apple confirmed its authenticity.

Sounds like extortion to me.

Not really. If you call me up and ask me to send you a phone that I bought on E-bay, I am going to start by asking you if it is your phone. If you say,"I can neither confirm not deny that the phone is mine. But, send it anyway." Why would I send it to you?

Re:Good. (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050984)

Taking a phone in a bar is considered stealing. And paying money for said objects is Paying for Stolen Goods, which is against the law.

Re:Good. (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37051432)

They didn't steal it.

No, technically they didn't steal it. But they did knowingly purchase property they knew did not belong to the seller - which by the way is also against the law.
 

They openly acknowledged how they got it.

In most places, this is known as "publicly admitting guilt".
 

Instead, we saw what happened. I would rather a judge have found for them and dismissed with prejudice, but at least it appears to be working out.

I'd have love to see the end up in front of a judge too - only I wanted them to be held accountable for their actions.

Re:Good. (1)

mlingojones (919531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052120)

They didn't steal it.

They openly acknowledged how they got it.

In California, not turning in to the authorities a found object with a value greater than $100 is considered stealing.

They stated, simply, that if it did belong to Apple, which was not a 100% certainty but was likely, that all Apple had to do was to ask for it back through proper channels.

Because it only confirms that it belongs to Apple if Apple makes a public announcement, not asks for it back privately, right?

Instead, we saw what happened. I would rather a judge have found for them and dismissed with prejudice, but at least it appears to be working out.

I realize there's a presumption of innocence and they haven't been found guilty of anything, but come on, man. They publicly acknowledged purchasing property they knew was stolen, destroyed it, and when the owners asked for it back they wouldn't listen unless the owners would announce publicly that it was theirs. They indisputably broke the law in more than one way, and it sucks to see them getting off scot-free.

Re:Good. (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052428)

Instead, we saw what happened.

Yeah, they got their publicity. And Apple asked for it back. And Gizmodo gave it to them.

And if you buy something off of the back of a truck from a guy who refuses to show his face, by law that's enough proof that you knew it was stolen. One would have to jump through an *awful* lot of mental gymnastics to think this guy who admitted to finding it in a bar was the rightful owner. Right there, ownership does not change hands until it is declared abandoned property by a proper authority.

Re:Good. (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052458)

They openly acknowledged how they got it.

By law, that makes them just as guilty as the original thief, slightly different charge with slightly lower punishment (assuming you don't withhold evidence, which they did by not telling where they got the phone from).

They stated, simply, that if it did belong to Apple, which was not a 100% certainty but was likely, that all Apple had to do was to ask for it back through proper channels.

They were certain enough to run a story claiming it was an apple iphone stolen from an employee at a bar, again, this alone is reason enough to nail them to the wall.

When the cops showed up, and they didn't give it back, what exactly WAS the proper channel in your opinion?

Gizmodo showed the world for the umptenth time at that point that they are nothing but douche bags. This is the same group of fucks that thought they were bad ass because they went to a conference and turned off a bunch of displays with a universal remote ...

They thought they were bad ass because they 'hacked' a system who's security was 'we dont need to worry about people messing with it, this is a conference for ADULTS WITH MANNERS'

If you were a judge, you'd have been shot by now for being ignorant.

The Gizmodo staff is a bunch of juvenile idiots who don't deserve to be allowed into any sort of public event as they clearly do not know how to act in public.

they also said they tried to return it (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052718)

Even though when asked, the owner of the bar said he had received two calls a day from the guy who lost it and none from the gizmodo people.

There's a simple explanation for both of these seeming inconsistencies.

The gizmodo editors are liars. They bought stolen property with no intention of returning it and then when the realized they could actually be convicted of a crime they just tried to lie their way out of it.

Common criminals. Not worth your attention and not worth the "but we're journalists" crap.

Still on the hook, however (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37050034)

for being a bunch of douchebags...

See:
1.) iPhone 4 fiasco was still shady as all hell
2.) google: gizmodo tv b gone

Re:Still on the hook, however (2)

lowlymarine (1172723) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050406)

Not to mention this egregious editorial [gizmodo.com] . Wherein, among other things, they claim they can't be "biased journalists" because they aren't really journalists. That's odd, I could have sworn they were whistling a different tune when the cops were breaking down their doors...

Re:Still on the hook, however (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37050900)

THIS. Cannot believe they still have readers after writing this editorial and the editor "Joel" whines about the commenters. Utterly ridiculous. You want to know why a lot of people left Gizmodo, the reasons the GP listed and this editorial. Just read it and the hundreds of comments (many you wont see b/c they were banned) and you'll understand. Thankfully Joel no longer works there according to the about page.

Re:Still on the hook, however (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37050820)

Let alone some editorial last year about complaining their readers were jerks and ended up banning many of them, myself included, for simply disagreeing with them (very few were justified except one editor was "butt hurt" or something about his past). I don't remember his name but they still have Diaz which is just as bad--worthless. They lost my business that day and I haven't been back also due to their atrocious layout on the Gawker sites.

Re:Still on the hook, however (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37051028)

The thing that really pissed me off about the iPhone 4 shit was not that they bought the prototype. They're sleazy, and would be somewhat expected to do such things. No, what really got me is that they published the details and Facebook page of the poor guy who lost the phone. Right there was when they lost any and all credibility to me, and lost any possible sympathy for having Apple come after them.

Nobody cares. There are real crimes to investigate (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37050052)

There are certain areas of major Californian cities like LA and Oakland where real crimes happen on a daily basis. These places are rife with gangs who partake in drug trafficking, prostitution, violence, theft, vandalism, and just plain out thuggery. This activity is what the police forces and courts should be investigating and punishing.

Aside from a relatively small number of trust fund babies, most real people don't give a fuck about Apple, or whatever their next device will be, or whenever this information is leaked prematurely.

Re:Nobody cares. There are real crimes to investig (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37050106)

and you care so little, you'll go out of your way to make sure we all know how little you care.

Re:Nobody cares. There are real crimes to investig (0)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052956)

and you care so little, you'll go out of your way to make sure we all know how little you care.

Or maybe he cares little about Steve Jobs's hissy fit, and a lot about not getting shot in Compton.
Maybe he cares enough about how little the police care about people getting shot, and how much they care about Apple's embarrassing fumbles, to make a post about it.

Re:Nobody cares. There are real crimes to investig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37050274)

Theft...

According to the article, the other two involved in this case are as lucky as Jason Chen/Gizmodo...

they can start by makeing pot not a crime any more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37050286)

they can start by makeing pot not a crime any more

Re:they can start by makeing pot not a crime any m (1)

coolgeek (140561) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052774)

It's not. Go see one of them medical marijuana doctors and get diagnosed with glaucoma or soft tissue damage and get your license.

investigating real crimes poses real risks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37050300)

investigating real crimes poses real risks. doing so could involve injury or death. busting techies... is a substantially less risky endeavor. choices choices...

Re:Nobody cares. There are real crimes to investig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37050486)

"These places are rife with gangs who partake in drug trafficking, prostitution, violence, theft, vandalism, and just plain out thuggery."

"Theft" is exactly what occurred in this case, idiot.

Oh and white-collar crime didn't make your list for whatever fucking reason. I guess it's cool to ignore that.

Re:Nobody cares. There are real crimes to investig (1)

EmperorPsiblade (1376261) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050640)

Yeah, nobody gives a fuck about one of the most valuable companies in the world.

Re:Nobody cares. There are real crimes to investig (1)

Kylon99 (2430624) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050828)

That's right. Nobody gives a fuck if there's no harm to the company that can actually be proven in court. Who cares how much the company is worth? That's just a specious argument.

We do care about one of the most valuable companies in the world using cash and lawsuits to censor information that causes no harm, however.

Um, what? (1)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050994)

That's right. Nobody gives a fuck if there's no harm to the company that can actually be proven in court.

Ok, for the sake of argument, let's leave aside the whole angle where they revealed confidential information about Apple's business, that can be used by competitors to unfair advantage. Let's assume there is no harm in that.

They deprived Apple of some of its property for three weeks, during which they disassembled and broke it. How is that not harm?

Re:Um, what? (1)

Kylon99 (2430624) | more than 2 years ago | (#37051090)

The main point is what people actually care about, and not whether there was harm or not. If someone stole 10 cents from you, it is harm technically. Do people care? Probably not.

Let's not leave aside the problem of revealing confidential information. Gizmodo could have harmed Apple's business interests and this is something that can be shown in court. I'm not saying Apple has given up on this; they should pursue if they can show it. But at the least, the San Mateo DA has given up, indicating he doesn't think there could be much of a criminal case on this.

So because neither side will pursue their cases (yet), we don't give a fuck. (Quoting the original grand parent post who used rude language as if that makes his point stronger.)

Re:Nobody cares. There are real crimes to investig (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37051066)

Yeah, you can't show that there was no harm. However, it can be very readily proven that Gizmodo took part in the buying and selling of stolen property.

Re:Nobody cares. There are real crimes to investig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37050964)

Aside from a relatively small number of trust fund babies, most real people don't give a fuck about Apple, or whatever their next device will be, or whenever this information is leaked prematurely.

And yet most competing corporations do, and leaked information can have a real economic impact.

Re:Nobody cares. There are real crimes to investig (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37051052)

These places are rife with gangs who partake in drug trafficking, prostitution, violence, theft, vandalism, and just plain out thuggery.

Theft? Like taking someone's phone from a bar? Thuggery? Like selling that same phone to a bunch of scumbags?

Re:Nobody cares. There are real crimes to investig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37053444)

These places are rife with gangs who partake in drug trafficking, prostitution, violence, theft, vandalism, and just plain out thuggery.

Theft? Like taking someone's phone from a bar? Thuggery? Like selling that same phone to a bunch of scumbags?

You're a dumbass if you think the "theft" and "thuggery" of an iPhone prototype is equivalent to having a gun in your face. I don't fear gizmodo editors purchasing misplaced goods when I drive at night in the street, I fear real fucking criminals. Oh NOES!!! My fucking iPhone4 marketing thunder got stolen and shit. Fucking 1st world white collar corporate problems.

Cooperative Witness (1)

hchaput (544841) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050114)

The police got what they wanted from Jason Chen and Gizmodo: their source. And now people know that, if they want to leak information to the press, they might want to go with a more reputable news outlet that knows how to secure their notes and would sooner go to jail than reveal their sources.

Re:Cooperative Witness (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050556)

I suspect that the money changing hands for the phone was enough justification for the police to void any shield laws. Had Gizmodo paid to look and possibly dismantle the phone but not receiving possession, there may have been more grey legal areas.

indignation? (0)

cynop (2023642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050128)

Indignation? Anger? Really? For managing to obtain one of the best kept secrets in the cellphone bussines because some Apple employe left it at a bar? I think not. After the way Apple handled the whole affair, using every legal trick in their arsenal which led in ,among other things the raiding of a gizmodo writer [csmonitor.com] , i think all the bad feelings were pointed at them. They just didn't have a solid case on them.

Re:indignation? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37050180)

I take it that if you left something - a nearly one of a kind item - in a bar, someone found it and sold it to someone else who had 100% knowledge of both where the item was found and that it was not the property of the seller....you'd be ok with that?

Cool -- where do you live? Lets go out for a drink! I'll buy!

Re:indignation? (1)

cforciea (1926392) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050690)

Sure, if the person who bought it promptly turned around and offered to return it to me at no charge!

Re:indignation? (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37051082)

No charge my ass. You know damn well there was a charge, it just happened to not be in money.

And what about the part where they broke it?

Re:indignation? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052518)

Or the part where they tried to extort them before giving it back ... and 3 weeks later is not 'turned around and offered to return it to me'. Especially when its AFTER the cops have kicked your door in.

Re:indignation? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050612)

See the problem with labels is this. Police with a warrant seizing evidence from a person you may not like = police doing their duty. Police with a warrant seizing evidence from a person you like = omgz RAID. It's the same thing. In this case Gizmodo let the whole world know they had the phone and they acquired from someone they knew didn't own it. In most places, police label that as receiving stolen property.

Re:indignation? (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37051074)

Taking a phone from a bar is called Theft. Selling that phone is Selling Stolen Property.

Think Different (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37050364)

You know, this was when I decided to not buy another iPhone. I have owned Android phones and even Windows Phones since then and found out I'm honestly much happier that way.

Thank you Apple for being so abusive- you have improved the quality of my life.

Re:Think Different (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37051094)

I like how prosecuting theft and the selling of stolen property is "abusive" these days.

Apple vs. Gizmodo: whoever loses, we win (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050672)

that excitement quickly turned into indignation, and for some, anger.

Hey, don't forget schadenfreude.

Business Opportunity in San Mateo? (1)

techoi (1435019) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050786)

So, knowingly purchasing/receiving stolen product is now legal now? Fence you way to legal riches ($$$) in sunny San Mateo!!!!

Re:Business Opportunity in San Mateo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37051106)

Only if you are a fake journalist like Chen and the other scum at Gawker Media.

Boycott Gizmodo (1)

mbourgon (186257) | more than 2 years ago | (#37051994)

I still don't visit their site if I can help it. Guilty or not, they're still scumbags. Everyone still remember that they released the

Re:Boycott Gizmodo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37052366)

Did they perhaps release the Candle Jack? Because THAT would be a

good decision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37051998)

Good decision here. Journalists have to be afforded the full protection of the law no matter what you may not like about what they had posted. Yeah they got a phone prototype, so what? Why did this one get so much attention? Because it was an apple phone prototype. If it had been say a nokia phone prototype that had been leaked, no one would care.

Like this one that wasn't acknowledged as much:

https://neerajvohra.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/nokia-windows-phone-prototype-leaked-including-front-facing-camera/

Has there been legal action? Nope.

As for those talking about the iphone 4 antenna problems, those are real. An expert in designing antenna's demonstrated it. When apple finally acknowledged it, instead of taking responsibility for it, they blamed it on the press. But then I would expect nothing less from apple when problems arise. They are so concerned more about their image then about their customers, always have been.

And I remind you all that journalists do pay for access to exclusive things sometimes. Gizmodo surely wasn't the first, and they won't be the last. Yet it never came up before as being a problem, until it involved Apple. Then it's a huge problem and they should be burned at the stake right?

Now all of you can claim they bought stolen property and should be punished, but until they are convicted of it, they are innocent.

Btw, this is the whole reason why I never bought an iphone 4 in the first place.

Hope it was worth it, Gizmodo. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37052288)

I really hope Gizmodo's 15 minutes of fame was worth being banned from every Apple event for the rest of their lives. Here's the question they should have asked themselves:

Is an extra 100,000 page views next week worth the millions of page views they are going to lose from being banned from Apple events for the rest of their existence?

Steve jobs has a loooong memory; he won't forget this any time soon. Apple was NOT happy about their competitors getting a look at their iPhone a few months early and having that much of a chance to copy their product. That's why they said the price was invaluable. Cause, you know, its not like Apple has a big problem with people copying their products or anything. And giving their competitors a 3 month advantage on copying the product would have seriously, seriously pissed Apple off.

But hey, Gizmodo just didn't know what they were doing, right? It's not like Gizmodo ran an article offering to buy information on stolen products months before this happened, right? And didn't take the story down until they were contacted by Apple legal threatening them? Oh wait, yes they did. That's exactly what they did. And then they have the balls to call up and ask to come to Apple's WWDC event? Give me a fucking break!

A class act, that Gizmodo bunch. A real class act.

Re:Hope it was worth it, Gizmodo. (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052536)

Is an extra 100,000 page views next week worth the millions of page views they are going to lose from being banned from Apple events for the rest of their existence?

Steve jobs has a loooong memory; he won't forget this any time soon.

Actually, people who knew Gizmodo knew they should be banned from ANY EVENT EVER after the whole TV-B-Gone event where they acted like 13 year old boys and thought they were bad ass because they could turn off a bunch of monitors/TVs at a conference ... where the monitors didn't have any special security features since it was a given that the conference was for adults ... not 13 year old boys pretending their blog made them journalists (which they also claim they aren't depending on what you're accusing them of).

What they accomplished by fucking over Apple in this way is that they will now likely not be invited to ANY event by ANY tech company. MS and Google aren't going to want them either, they certainly don't NEED Gizmodo, but I think the other way is not the case.

No one wants a bunch of douche bags like the Gizmodo morons at their event, they are just obnoxious little fucks the world would be better off without.

Jason Chen is a scumbag. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37052548)

Jason Chen is a scumbag. Gizmodo are scumbags. They bought stolen property. They gave up their "source" when the police came knocking. They publicized the name and personal details of the guy who lost the iPhone. Assholes.

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