Steve Jobs is apparently trying to go Jack Bauer on Gizmodo, the blog that ended up with an iPhone prototype that an Apple engineer left in a bar.
Apple has the phone back, and Gizmodo has already run its story. Plus followups, such as a piece explaining how the guy who found the phone tried to return it to Apple but was rebuffed by customer service.
Nevertheless, police in San Mateo County, Calif., raided the home of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen and seized computers, cameras, business cards and other equipment. Word of the Friday seizure is coming out today, including a report in the New York Times where Gizmodo’s parent company argues that the home was used for journalistic endeavors and the search warrant was illegal.
A search warrant Gizmodo posted alleges the property was used to commit a felony.
This ought to erase some of the good will Apple built up with the media when it sent Steve Jobs around to big newspapers this spring, encouraging them to sell iPad subscriptions.
P.S. I’ve had a few people asking where I’m coming from here.
Here’s my take: Apple opened the door for the police by characterizing the missing phone as something taken from the company. If Apple had chosen to characterize it as a lost or misplaced phone, it’s unlikely police would have sought or obtained a search warrant.
When was the last time police raided a house after a phone was misplaced, especially after the phone was already returned?
P.P.S. Yahoo News is reporting that the raid was undertaken at the behest of a computer crimes task force, and Apple’s on the task force’s steering committee. Bloomberg talked to a deputy prosecutor who suggested the target is the person who found the phone.