Prosecutors defend Gizmodo search; ID seller

Summary:San Mateo County prosecutors are defending the search of a Gizmodo.com editor's home and seizure of his computers that were part of a criminal investigation into an iPhone prototype lost by an Apple employee.

San Mateo County prosecutors are defending the search of a Gizmodo.com editor's home and seizure of his computers that were part of a criminal investigation into an iPhone prototype lost by an Apple employee.

Stephen Wagstaffe, chief deputy district attorney, told CNET on Tuesday evening that prosecutors had considered whether reporter shield laws applied to the search and seizure aimed at the gadget blog--and decided to proceed after carefully reviewing the rules.

"My prosecutor who is handling it considered this issue right off the bat when it was being brought into him and had some good reasons why he and the judge felt the warrant was properly issued," Wagstaffe said.

Gizmodo's parent company, Gawker Media, has said that the search warrant is "invalid," citing a California law curbing newsroom searches. So has the Electronic Frontier Foundation. On the other hand, if Gizmodo employees are targets of the criminal investigation themselves, it's likely that the law's protections do not apply.

Wagstaffe confirmed that law enforcement has identified the person who allegedly found the iPhone in a bar and then began shopping it around to news organizations, including Gizmodo, Wired.com, and Engadget. Gizmodo has acknowledge buying it for $5,000 and then returning it to Apple.

For more on this story, read Prosecutors defend Gizmodo search in iPhone probe on CNET News.

Topics: Mobility, Browser, CXO, Hardware, iPhone, Smartphones

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