Thursday, Dec. 09, 2010

Jason Chen

Gizmodo editor Jason Chen drew gobs of Web traffic — and the ire of Apple CEO Steve Jobs — when he posted exclusive online footage of the next-generation iPhone 4 nearly two months before it was made available to the public in late June. The website had paid $5,000 to obtain the prototype an Apple employee accidentally left in a bar. Gizmodo quickly returned the phone to Apple, but not before reverse engineering it and securing the tech-world spotlight. "It was found lost in a bar in Redwood City, camouflaged to look like an iPhone 3GS. We got it. We disassembled it. It's the real thing, and here are all the details," the site explained in a post that turned out to be somewhat costly for Chen. A computer-crime task force that has Apple on its steering committee searched his home and seized his computers. Amid questions of the bounds of journalistic freedom as well as whether Apple pushed for the raid, Chen has not been charged with any crimes, even though a California law states that any person who finds lost property and knows who the likely owner is, but uses it anyway, is guilty of theft.