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Thread: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

  1. #1
    Senior Member stephengilbert's Avatar
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    Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    As a California criminal lawyer who's read and heard of many instances of outrageous governmental conduct, even I find this surprising. Police executed a search warrant at the home/office of the Gizmodo editor who wrote of the next gen iPhone found in a bar. (http://gizmodo.com/5524843/police-se...hens-computers)

    You'd like to think that the Fourth Amendment's requirement that a neutral and detached magistrate stand between us and overzealous police officers and Apple CEOs would have prevented this, but apparently that's not the case in San Mateo County.

    I wonder if the Apple employee who lost the iPhone is still alive?
    Last edited by stephengilbert; 27th April 2010 at 12:59.

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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    I saw that earlier and was shocked to read what had actually happened.

    Perhaps they reopened Alcatraz to lock up the people involved in the leak?

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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    While I was waiting in a line awhile ago I heard that Gizmodo's lawyer is going to use the defense of Chen being a journalist who is protected under CA law.

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    Senior Member stephengilbert's Avatar
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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    Defense to what? Chen hasn't been charged with a crime, and likely didn't commit one. Yet they broke into his house and seized his computers. The only thing likely to be discovered by the search is his writings or photos, neither of which should be subject to seizure.

    I guess it's trite to remind people of Apple's famous 1984 commercial. Who's Big Brother now?

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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    I might have used the wrong word--but as I understood it, they are saying that he cannot be charged because he is a journalist and they are protected under CA law.

    I did go back and look at that commercial the other day though.

    Is there also not a CA law that says something to effect that if you accept stolen or lost property and don't return it you are essentially having or keeping stolen property--and the fact that he then sold it---I don't know--I'm getting in too deep here, but they (Apple I guess) is citing that particular CA law from what I read.

    Apple is way out of line here IMO---but if there is a law that they can use I expect they will use it.

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    Senior Member stephengilbert's Avatar
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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    California Penal Code section 496 prohibits the knowing receipt of stolen property: "(a) Every person who buys or receives any property that has been stolen or that has been obtained in any manner constituting theft or extortion, knowing the property to be so stolen or obtained, or who conceals, sells, withholds, or aids in concealing, selling, or withholding any property from the owner, knowing the property to be so stolen or obtained, shall be punished by imprisonment in a state prison [for up to three years], or in a county jail for not more than one year."

    The property wasn't stolen at all, wasn't received with knowledge that it was stolen, wasn't concealed, sold, or withheld by Gizmodo. Plus, I doubt that there was ever been a search warrant seeking evidence of a violation of section 496 unless the suspect was believed to be in the business of dealing in stolen property. The warrant and affidavit I saw on Gizmodo doesn't seem to state what crime the officers were allegedly investigating. I'd like to know.

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    Senior Member kevinparis's Avatar
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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    Apple have nothing to do with this - this is a criminal investigation. Apple may later take civil action, but i somehow doubt it

    Gizmodo openly admitted that they purchased from an unknown third party an object that had been found in a bar.

    Despite the fact that this person seemed to have known who the owner of this phone was, they did not seem to have made the appropriate efforts to return it - by keeping it and selling it it became stolen under californian law. Gizmodo then paid to take possession of the 'stolen' phone, thus committing a felony.

    Just because the editor is a journalist doesn't allow him to commit a crime and get away with it

    This subject is being discussed endlessly on all the mac forums and all the major press

    bottom line.... this is not Apple doing this.... its the law

    peace

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    Senior Member stephengilbert's Avatar
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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    "Found in a bar" does not equal "stolen." I don't know whether Apple had anything to do with the search, but neither do you. The notion that police engage in large scale investigations of misplaced cell phones is contrary to my experience of police practice, but I'm just a lawyer, so I might not be as well informed as others.

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    Senior Member kevinparis's Avatar
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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.


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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    I agree with Kevin here.

    I think there is zero possibility that Gizmodo didn't know that a real iPhone out in the wild was not intended by Apple and was "hot" propery (pick your own meaning they all work).

    It doesn't take a genius to realize the phone is either stolen and was lost. The legal advice they should have sought is exactly what Stephen quoted What is the penal code for obtaining this property.

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    Senior Member stephengilbert's Avatar
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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    I hate to be lawyerlike, but this is a legal issue. "Stolen" has a legal meaning in the law, and however you feel about Gizmodo, acquiring something that a person offers to you is not a crime unless that something is stolen, and you know or should know so. The phone wasn't stolen. The criminal law imposes no duty to track down the true owner and return his property. It may well be that Apple can sue Gizmodo in civil court for some sort of privacy invasion, but the police conducting the raid at issue here is just wrong.

  12. #12
    DougDolde
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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    I agree !

    Quote Originally Posted by stephengilbert View Post
    I hate to be lawyerlike, but this is a legal issue. "Stolen" has a legal meaning in the law, and however you feel about Gizmodo, acquiring something that a person offers to you is not a crime unless that something is stolen, and you know or should know so. The phone wasn't stolen. The criminal law imposes no duty to track down the true owner and return his property. It may well be that Apple can sue Gizmodo in civil court for some sort of privacy invasion, but the police conducting the raid at issue here is just wrong.

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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    not wanting to impinge on your superior legal knowledge..

    but John Gruber of Daringfireball.net in his coverage of the whole thing cites this

    http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/cacode/PEN/3/1/13/5/s485

    One who finds lost property under circumstances which give him knowledge of or means of inquiry as to the true owner, and who appropriates such property to his own use, or to the use of another person not entitled thereto, without first making reasonable and just efforts to find the owner and to restore the property to him, is guilty of theft.

    I'm not a lwyer... but that looks like a law


    K

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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    Quote Originally Posted by stephengilbert View Post
    I hate to be lawyerlike, but this is a legal issue. "Stolen" has a legal meaning in the law, and however you feel about Gizmodo, acquiring something that a person offers to you is not a crime unless that something is stolen, and you know or should know so. The phone wasn't stolen. The criminal law imposes no duty to track down the true owner and return his property. It may well be that Apple can sue Gizmodo in civil court for some sort of privacy invasion, but the police conducting the raid at issue here is just wrong.
    I thought there was more to the definition of what can be considered stolen (actually Kevin just cited the bit that I had read earlier in the week). So, if it wasn't stolen, who did Gizmodo think owned the property? They guy selling it? If it was found, don't you generally give it to the bartender, store owner etc. Don't you answer it when it rings and the person is trying to find it? Reports were the person who lost it called it repeatedly before it was bricked? Gizmodo knew the facebook information from person who lost it.

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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    Quote Originally Posted by kevinparis View Post
    One who finds lost property under circumstances which give him knowledge of or means of inquiry as to the true owner, and who appropriates such property to his own use, or to the use of another person not entitled thereto, without first making reasonable and just efforts to find the owner and to restore the property to him, is guilty of theft.

    I'm not a lwyer... but that looks like a law


    K
    If anyone finds an iPAD, should they call SteveJ to turn it in?

    Guilty of theft? No charges and is already a "guilty" verdict, K?

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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    What kills me is the time and money wasted not to mention California being broke that is going into a PHONE. How about taking all that money and donating it to some worthy charity instead or better yet round up a few more drug dealers and mass murderers. I understand that may make to much sense and not how things really work.
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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    But the Ipad is out there in the world already but obviously the person finding this phone must have determined it was more than the Iphone anyone can buy or they wouldn't have called Gizmodo and others. They had determined it was valuable and "special" above and beyond just someone's lost Iphone. They intended to make money from something that was not theirs unless "finders' keepers" is acceptable.

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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    If it was really an "i"Phone it would have called the rightful owners when it was misplaced or would have self destructed when alien hands touched them.

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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    would have self destructed when alien hands touched them.
    It did when the "finder" woke up the next morning, it was remotely wiped and since it wasn't using the "norma" firmware it couldn't be restored to working order. Sorry it wasn't a physical self destruction a la "Mission Impossible"

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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    It got wiped (by the person who lost it) not that it wiped itself.

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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    Seems like a lot of over-the-top actions and reactions by all the parties involved. Enormously effective PR though.

    I'm the last person to make any kind of judgement about the technicalities of the law. However, "found in a bar" sounds an awful lot like "fell off the back of a truck".

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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    vivek

    I was only quoting the law that seems to say if you find something and don't make reasonable efforts to return it then technically it is regarded as stolen.

    Personally I think Gizmodo were very stupid in their actions - they could have done the scoop without acknowledging that they paid for the phone - thats whats getting them into trouble.

    K

  23. #23
    tokengirl
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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    What kills me is the time and money wasted not to mention California being broke that is going into a PHONE. How about taking all that money and donating it to some worthy charity instead or better yet round up a few more drug dealers and mass murderers. I understand that may make to much sense and not how things really work.
    Totally agree. This whole thing is just silly. Apple got their damn phone back already anyways.

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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    Here's another interpretation of passed events:

    Gizmodo made a tremendous effort to find the rightful owner - they described the device in text and pictures on their frequentlty read site. And it worked, within hours the rightful owner contacted Gizmodo.
    Monochrome: http://mochro.com

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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars Vinberg View Post
    Here's another interpretation of passed events:

    Gizmodo made a tremendous effort to find the rightful owner - they described the device in text and pictures on their frequentlty read site. And it worked, within hours the rightful owner contacted Gizmodo.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    If you can stand 8:40 minutes of crude American talkshow humor, I think Jon Stewart summarizes all things Apple well:

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/we...-2010/appholes
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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    Apple and law enforcement are completely in the wrong for their actions against Gizmodo in this case IMO.

    a. Gizmodo tried to have Apple confirm that it was indeed one of their products he had in his possession as soon as he acquired it, and Apple vehemently denied it. That means Gizmodo was in the clear to do whatever he wanted with it. So he popped it open and wrote a review about it. Only after the review came out did Apple acknowledge that indeed it was their prototype.

    b. As soon as Apple confirmed in writing that it was their prototype, Gizmodo promptly returned the item to Apple.

    c. AFTER Apple received their lost prototype they filed a criminal complaint for the item they already had in their possession as stolen by Gizmodo, at which point law enforcement had no choice but to act on it.

    The point is, when Gizmodo wrote about the prototype iPhone in their possession, as far as they knew it was a hoax since Apple denied the existence of such prototype, so Gizmodo can't really be charged as an accessory to this 'theft'.

    I get the fact that Apple may be concerned about files on Gizmodo's computers which may show the inner components of the phone, and that is something they can request to have returned, but it should have been done through a legal injunction and not through police force. Apple definitely overstepped their bounds on this one, but it remains to be seen how much they'll be affected by this bad PR in any event. I suspect people will still flock to purchase their products because the Apple image stopped being about 'bucking the system' a long, long time ago.
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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    Quote Originally Posted by photoSmart42 View Post
    a. Gizmodo tried to have Apple confirm that it was indeed one of their products he had in his possession as soon as he acquired it, and Apple vehemently denied it. That means Gizmodo was in the clear to do whatever he wanted with it. So he popped it open and wrote a review about it. Only after the review came out did Apple acknowledge that indeed it was their prototype.
    Where did you see this info.....in all the stuff I've read this wasn't in any account of the timeline.

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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    i read something on the gizmodo site(?) that he called apple early on, but was stonewalled as none of the lower level apple staff knows anything about R&D, hence they assumed the protophone was a hoax

  30. #30
    DougDolde
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    Re: Don't buy an iPhone prototype.

    One thing good about it, we've seen the next iPhone and it looks outstanding. The new model should lessen the need for an iPad in my view. Higher resolution will be a major advantage.

    I still think the iPhone is a more useful device than an iPad due to its small pocketable size and of course the phone. I just can't get that excited about the iPad even after handling one several times. If I want a big screen I have my computer.

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