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People identifying themselves as representing Apple last week visited and sought permission to search the Silicon Valley address of the college-age man who came into possession of a next-generation iPhone prototype, according to a person involved with the find.
“Someone came to [the finder's] house and knocked on his door,” the source told Wired.com, speaking on condition of anonymity because the case is under investigation by the police. A roommate answered, but wouldn’t let them in.
Apple’s vaunted wall of secrecy was smashed wide open when one of its developers lost a next-generation iPhone prototype sometime in March at bar in Redwood City, California. Another bar patron took the phone home and, having failed to find the owner, gave tech news site Gizmodo exclusive access to the device in exchange for $5,000. Gizmodo eventually returned the phone to Apple, but not before it published numerous photos and details.
The finder attempted to notify Apple and find the owner of the device but failed, even going so far as to search alphabetically through Facebook, the source said. Thoughts then turned to contacting the press about the device to confirm its authenticity and help locate the owner, but early attempts to drum up interest went unanswered. After a few days with no response, the finder expanded the search.
“The idea wasn’t to find out who was going to pay the most, it was, Who’s going to confirm this?” the source said.
The finder at one point attempted to restore the phone by connecting it to a roommate’s Apple computer, but was unsuccessful.
News accounts depicting the $5,000 payment as a “sale” are incorrect, this person said. Rather, the agreement with Gizmodo was for exclusivity only. “It was made very explicit that Gizmodo was to help the finder return the phone to its rightful owner or give it back,” this person said. “Gizmodo said they could help restore the phone.”
Wired.com received an e-mail March 28 offering access to the device, but did not follow up on the exchange after the tipster made a thinly veiled request for money.
Apple didn’t return a phone call Tuesday.
Originally posted by zerbot565
read somewhere that its illegal to buy "found" goods that have a value of over 400 dollars.
The federal Privacy Protection Act prohibits the government from seizing materials from journalists and others who possess material for the purpose of communicating to the public. The government cannot seize material from the journalist even if it’s investigating whether the person who possesses the material committed a crime.
Instead, investigators need to obtain a subpoena, which would allow the reporter or media outlet to challenge the request and segregate information that is not relevant to the investigation.
“Congress was contemplating a situation where someone might claim that the journalist was committing a crime [in order to seize materials from them],” Granick says.
California state law also provides protections to prevent journalists from being forced to disclose sources or unpublished information related to their work.
“California law is crystal clear that bloggers are journalists, too,” she says.
Apple is on the steering committee for the REACT task force that raided Chen’s house. Formed in 1997, REACT is a partnership of 17 local, state and federal agencies tasked with investigating computer- and internet-related crimes.