updated 04:35 pm EDT, Mon April 26, 2010
Jason Chen has computers seized in iPhone hunt
The first signs of police action in the stolen iPhone prototype investigation have surfaced as it's now known that, late last Friday, California's Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team seized Gizmodo writer Jason Chen's computers. The move was allowed a search warrant granted by a San Mateo Superior Court judge and gives the police permission to search for evidence of who sold the iPhone. It will also include call records, searches for the Apple engineer who used the device, and most any other form of evidence that might link the news site to the prototype.
Among the items taken include two MacBooks, multiple Windows PCs, an iPad, an iPhone, a Motorola Droid and external storage drives.
Gawker, which owns the site, has already disputed the validity of the warrant. COO Gaby Darbyshire claimed in a response to the raid that both federal and state law prohibit seizing the assets of a member of the press. Chen is said to have notified raiding detective Matthew Broad about the relevant code before the seizure and, if true, may have put the officer in knowing violation of the law.
The raid confirms the existence of an early, formal investigation into the case but won't necessarily lead to pressing charges as this will depend on both the legitimacy of the warrant and, if allowed, any evidence that might be found on Chen's equipment.
REACT hasn't commented on the circumstances surrounding the raid.