Breaking News: Berkeley Police Bash Down Gawker Media Bloggers Door, Seize Computers

image Twitter is abuzz at the moment – as you may have heard, Gawker Media has been in possession of an unreleased fourth generation iPhone, and blogged to great fanfare the details of what the new device would look like. Friday night, “California’s Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team entered editor Jason Chen’s home without him present, seizing four computers and two servers,” and several other miscellaneous gadgets.

They had a search warrant issued by a San Mateo judge, though Gawker Media COO Gaby Darbyshire contends that the warrant is invalid under “section 1524(g) of the California Penal Code.”

Quite honestly, I find this news frightening and expect it to have a chilling effect to online journalism in general.  The power that Apple has to affect a police departments actions here is alarming. Anyone who’s ever experienced a theft in their lifetime, be it a device or even a vehicle costing tens of thousands of dollars know first-hand that the police department will laugh at you if you ask them of the chances for justice in your case.  That Apple was able to have a gestapo-like raid orchestrated on Chen’s home over a single phone is amazing and horrifying.

Since my initial tweet on this topic, I’ve received countless emails and direct messages from folks in agreement, as well as expressions of alarm from employees in the various areas of competition with Apple. The company flexing it’s muscles like this really does complete the transition of the company’s image from the runner to the overbearing big-brother-ish head in the iconic 1984 commercial.

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Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins

Mark “Rizzn” Hopkins is the Founding Editor of SiliconANGLE, as well as the creator of and Executive Producer for theCUBE. He’s aBitcoin early adopter, as well as a blogging, podcasting and social media pioneer. Prior the founding of SiliconANGLE, Hopkins worked as Associate Editor at Mashable during its formative years. Prior to his career in startups and media, he worked as a developer for large corporations like Nokia, IBM, Apple and Cox Communications. Hopkins lives in Dallas, Texas with his wife and two children.

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6 Comments

  1. I’m just curious as to what evidence you have that Apple organized a police raid? I have seen none so far, and honestly, it just doesn’t work like that. The most Apple could have done is file a criminal complaint, which they should have since Gizmodo broke the law by paying $5K for known stolen goods.

    Sorry, but they committed a crime and basically flaunted it.

    “Anyone who’s ever experienced a theft in their lifetime, be it a device or even a vehicle costing tens of thousands of dollars know first-hand that the police department will laugh at you if you ask them of the chances for justice in your case. ”

    Way different. When someone breaks into your car for example, there is little evidence to go on. Gizmodo posted this on YouTube! You didn’t have to look far to find the goods.

  2. I think I was pretty clear on my reasoning in my post.

    Have you ever reported something stolen before? Did you ever get justice?

    One of my friends even recounted a story in which they provided the police with a confession from the culprit, and still no action from the police. You can’t simply say “there was ample evidence.” Police don’t care about theft cases unless there is a vested interest in it for them. It’s a sad fact of life in America.

    Case closed, as they say.

  3. If previous models are any indication the cost of the device is under $200, and in any case nothing I’ve seen suggests that Gizmodo ever intended to keep it. Journalists paying for stories is nothing new and this is no exception – the $5k was for the story, not the phone itself (in the same way that someone might pay the same for a $500 camera containing incriminating photos).

    At the end of the day if Apple didn’t want their phone stolen they shouldn’t have taken it to a bar, pure and simple.

    Sam

  4. The image you are using is a photoshoped version taken when the gestapo under Janet Reno raided Elian Gonzalez’s house to send him back to Cuba. One wonders if you are going to be in trouble next for using the photo without permission?

  5. Perhaps. Sean at Lalawag made it. If he gets pissed, he knows my number. :)

  6. Hi that post is really good are you working as author ? Maybe i could hire you to compose for me?

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