Police Seize Gizmodo Editor's Tech Gear
Another great big shoe has dropped in the lost iPhone 4G saga: Gizmodo is reporting that California police used a search warrant to knock down the door at the home of Jason Chen (author of the first story on the phone) and enter it when he wasn’t present. They removed a bunch of computers, related items like phones, flash drives, and cameras, and…his business cards. Gizmodo’s stance is that California’s journalist shield law protected Jason from search warrants, and the proper action on the police’s part would have been to seek a subpoena.
As I usually say when writing about legal stuff, I’m not a lawyer–I don’t even play one on TV. But I do believe that blogs like Gizmodo (and, hey, Technologizer) deserve exactly the same protections that more traditional journalistic enterprises get. If Gizmodo has a case here that the warrant was unlawful, I hope it presses it successfully.
And in this particular case, I don’t pretend that I can discuss Jason as an individual or Gizmodo as an editorial operation from a sober distance: Three years ago, they said some nice things about me that bucked up my spirits when I really needed it. For that reason, I’m not even going to try and provide dispassionate analysis. I’m in favor of everybody involved complying with the law–journalists and police–but I’m also very sorry to read about the seizure, and hopeful that things work out okay for him.