It gets better and better every day. Yesterday Gizmodo reported that editor, Jason Chen, had his home searched via a search warrant that was being served by California’s Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team. The CREACT is responsible for the investigation of any and all technology criminal violations that happen in the Silicon Valley area. One would think that this law enforcement agency was created with the blessing and possible prodding of those companies, such as Apple, that take seriously violations of their proprietary software and hardware. So when the prototype of the Apple iPhone was lost and exploited on a web site, did anyone think that Apple would roll over and play dead?
In their article, Gizmodo states:
Last Friday night, California’s Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team entered editor Jason Chen’s home without him present, seizing four computers and two servers.
The part I liked was ‘without him present’ which makes it sound that Mr. Chen needed to be present in order for the search warrant to be executed. Nice try guys but their is no requirement for a suspect, oh, I mean a person of interest, to be present during the execution of a search warrant.
The key here is this statement:
They did so using a warrant by Judge of Superior Court of San Mateo. According to Gaby Darbyshire, COO of Gawker Media LLC, the search warrant to remove these computers was invalid under section 1524(g) of the California Penal Code.
The argument here is that the search warrant was invalid because Mr. Chen is protection by the shield law. Interesting. But I personally do not believe that the shield law applies if there is a violation of criminal law. But, not being an attorney, I am sure this point will need to be settled in court. One would think that a judge of the Superior court would be aware of the shield law, and did sign the search warrant knowing this fact and that Mr. Chen is a journalist.
With the exposure that this case has received in the press and on TV, I doubt that the judge could of been unaware of this fact, and with this in mind, felt the search warrant was justified. As with any criminal investigation, there is information that may be presented by investigators to the judge, that is not made public for obvious reasons.
What’s next? Depending on what is found on Mr. Chen’s computer, I smell an arrest may be coming into the news.
Why? Apple has a lot of clout in Silicon Valley and may be pushing to make an example of Mr. Chen.
Just my 2 cents.