Nobody’s clean in the missing iPhone case

By Laurie Bennett

April 27, 2010 at 7:45am

The missing iPhone fiasco should make all sides uneasy.

Gawker Media founder Nick Denton recently paid $5,000 for an iPhone prototype found in a California bar.

Gawker folks disassembled the device, assessed its components and features, and published a story on Gawker’s site, Gizmodo.

Gizmodo’s traffic soared while Apple chief Steve Jobs fumed.

On Friday, members of the Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team raided the home of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen, seizing four computers and two servers.

The Silicon Valley task force is a consortium of law enforcement agencies, including the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office. Its steering committee is made up of representatives from major tech companies, including Apple.

Now, which facet of this case causes you the most discomfort?

    a.) A media company paying for an item that obviously doesn’t belong to the seller.

    b.) Law enforcement seizing computers used for news operations.

    c.) The maker of the missing device advising the task force that conducted the raid.

    d.) The news-quashing history of Apple, a company that wields increasing influence over media outlets. (Full disclosure: Steve Jobs’ opposition to Flash, and the iPad’s failure to support it, is an obstacle for Muckety and many other multimedia sites.)

    e.) An alleged news exec’s jubilance at his success with checkbook journalism. (”Does Gizmodo pay for exclusives? Too right!” Denton tweeted.)

This may have started as a Silicon Valley story, but its implications go far beyond Santa Clara County.

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