This article was published on May 14, 2010

iPhone-Gizmodo Warrant Affidavit Details Revealed

iPhone-Gizmodo Warrant Affidavit Details Revealed
Chad Catacchio
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Chad Catacchio

Chad Catacchio is a contributor writing on a variety of topics in tech. He has held management positions at a number of tech companies in th Chad Catacchio is a contributor writing on a variety of topics in tech. He has held management positions at a number of tech companies in the US and China. Check out his personal blog to connect with him or follow him on Twitter (if you dare).

CNET has a copy (update: full copy of warrant now embedded below) of the San Mateo County detective’s affidavit for the search warrant used in the raid on Gizmodo’s Jason Chen.

One interesting piece of tech news from the affidavit is that the reporting officer says: “At the time the phone was lost, it possessed a case that was intended to make it look like an Apple iPhone 3Gs.”

Here are some highlights/lowlights (depending on your view) from the released affidavit (which since Chen and his coalition wanted opened to the public we’re comfortable discussing):

  • Among the things police seized from Jason Chen included: business cards, 3 MacBooks, 2 external hard drive, 2 digital cameras, cell phone, his UC Berkeley ID card, USB flash drives, a server (which the police spelled “searver”)
  • The warrant was served on the grounds that “it was used as a means of committing a felony” and “it tends to show that felony has been committed or that a particular person has committed a felony”
  • The warrant allowed the police to search any safes on Chen’s residence
  • In addition to hardware, the police were ordered to search for documentation “describing the operation of any computer systems”
  • Specifically says: “All records and data located and/or stored on any computers, hard drives, or memory storage devices, located at the listed location including digital photographs and/or video of the Apple prototype 4G iPhone, email communications pertaining to the sale of the photographs of the prototype phone and/or the sale of the physical prototype”

Felonies listed that may have been committed according to the report are:

  • 496(a) PC – Buy or receive stolen property
  • 499c(b)(3) PC – Theft; Without authority make or cause to be made a copy (definition includes a photograph) of any article representing a trade secret
  • 594(b)(1) – Maliciously damages property of another valued over $400

So basically according to this affidavit, Steve Jobs himself asked Gizmodo for the phone back and Gizmodo responded that they would give it back if they got a letter stating that it was indeed owned by Apple. Apple refused and Gizmodo didn’t give it back. Then Apple asked the San Mateo DA to get a search warrant of Jason Chen’s home, which is what the affidavit is for, which of course, the judge granted and Chen’s home was raided.

Chen/Gizmodo received the support of a number of major publications in California who are arguing that Chen is a journalist and should be protected under the same laws as say the LA Times. This morning, the same judge in the case ordered that the affidavit and warrant be unsealed and available to the public by 2pm PST (basically because all of the people involved already had their identities revealed to the public).

Embedded here is the full warrant:


Read our previous coverage of the raid on Jason Chen’s home, and the confirmation that Apple asked for the raid to be carried out. Also, in related news, our Jacob Friedman believes that Apple should be slapped with an anti-trust suit.

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