Lost iPhone warrant withdrawn, Gizmodo agrees to cooperate in investigation
The search warrant against Gizmodo editor Jason Chen has been withdrawn, the EFF reports today. Chen's house was searched a few months ago after the Gawker blog reportedly purchased the lost iPhone 4 prototype, but the San Mateo District Attorney has decided to drop the warrant and return all seized items to Chen. Gizmodo tells the Wall Street Journal that it has "reached an agreement" with authorities, and they confirm that the site will "cooperate with our investigation."
That means, says the EFF, that the matter isn't completely over. There was some back and forth about whether the materials seized by authorities could have been so taken under journalist protection laws, and it's possible that the San Mateo DA simply withdrew the warrant in order to keep from violating any California shield laws. If the police still felt there was worthwhile evidence in Chen's possession, they could subpoena that material separately, thus going around any questions of journalistic protection. Indeed, as Gizmodo has already agreed to give the authorities materials that the court "deems relevant to the case," the investigation into the lost iPhone is not yet entirely over.
But it doesn't seem likely that Gizmodo would face any charges -- if the police are still pursuing a case at this point (and that's a big if), it would seem to be against the iPhone's original finder, who may have broken the law by selling the iPhone to Gizmodo. We'll have to wait and see if any more charges are filed.
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