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Section 1070 California Evidence Code protects sources of information from discovery by the state. It does not protect evidence related to the commission of a crime.


lesson for next time: "we received these pictures and all this information from an anonymous source"

What crime? The gent who found the phone called Apple repeatedly to give it back and was ignored.

Why didn't he do something reasonable, like turn it into the bartender or the police?

Calling the owner (in the company sense) is better than handing a device in to some dodgy bartender. If I lost an item belonging to my current employer, we would both certainly prefer that.

I don't know much about east coast US police but the NY ones certainly don't give a shit about stuff left in public places by drunk people.

I honestly don't buy that. You find an iPhone lying on a street-corner? Then maybe you go through your own methods. You find an iPhone at a bar? The first place that person is going to look is at that bar. The sensible thing is to turn it into the bartender, not take it home, attempt to track down the person, then explain why exactly it is you have their iPhone/wallet/etc.

(EDIT: Put another way: according to the original story, the finder claimed to think there was nothing special about the iPhone at that time. If you're at a decent bar in the middle of Silicon Valley, do you really think it's that sketchy to turn an iPhone 3G into the bartender or management?)

Exactly this situation happened to me here in Houston with my 1st generation iPhone. I left it by the DDR machine. The result? I went to the barkeep, and someone had turned it in!

I found cellphones on several occasions, never gave it to anyone. I always tried (and was successful) in finding the owner by calling people on the phones address book.

Actually giving the phone to a stranger, never really crossed my mind, and call NYC police? HA.

I agree with you on trying to return it directly, I found a blackberry while skiing and called the "home" number and was able to get it back to the guy. Keeping it would have been a nice upgrade (maybe if it were a Droid I would have).

However, they obviously knew the owner SINCE HE WAS CONTACTED AFTER THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE, and they failed to return it. They did the equivalent of checking the address book when they went on Facebook and then didn't do anything to return it.

His legal obligation was to return it to the bartender, but calling Apple to return it is hardly "unreasonable."

His legal obligation in California is to turn it into the police, where it will be kept every bit as confidential as a Mel Gibson drunken tirade.

Given that the people he spoke to wouldn't even be aware of the existence of the lost prototype, I don't think you could call that an honest attempt to return the phone at all.

Even sending an email to sjobs@apple.com would've been more likely to get the phone back to Apple.

You're right, sjobs@ would have been better, but whoever received the call at Apple and didn't route it to the right people (or whoever ignored it for a week) seriously let the company down.

Do we know what the guy that called Apple actually said? Just imagine if I called Google and told them I had a lost Nexus One.

Exactly. Apple tech support isn't a lost and found. They have no training or directive to reunite lost phones with their owners.

Sure, but staff in any part of the company should have initiative and do the right thing whether in their job description or not.

Well, the only way we know that to have happened is via Gizmodo's account of what the guy who sold it to them said. I'm not saying he didn't, but we've hardly gotten irrefutable proof that it actually happened. It is, after all, in the guy's interest to make himself look like he was trying to return it.

Agreed. If he's lying about trying to return it, I hope that's revealed and he's punished. In the meantime, I won't condemn him without evidence. I hope anyone else wouldn't either.

Honestly, I don't think the police or Apple care too much about the guy who found the phone. Yeah, he failed to comply with the law and and instead pocketed $5000. Maybe he's sweating in terror right now, wondering how much of an attorney's time he can buy with whatever he didn't spend; maybe he was clever and used a throwaway email address, a false name, and didn't show any ID to the Gizmodo staffer who gave him the money (cash? check? who knows?).

He is a petty criminal...but probably just an opportunist rather than having malicious intent. Paradoxically, it might have been safer for him to set up a blog called ifound-iphone.com and post pictures in a 'LOL it came from the future' fashion: naivete might be a mitigating factor.

But Gizmodo/Gawker has no such excuse. Their whole business is the exchange of reader attention for advertising. They are leaders in their market sector, with a deep understanding of the tech industry and its role in the economy. and they have already been warned by Apple's outside counsel that offering money for hot information is an incitement to criminality.

With all this knowledge and experience, when they got hold of a prototype - which they themselves say was well disguised with a 'very ingenious solution to protect future designs from lookeyloos', they chose to disassemble it and publish detailed information about its manufacture, with a completely reckless disregard for anyone's business interests but their own.

If I were an attorney on Apple's or the DA's staff, my approach would be to forget about the seller, because his testimony isn't even necessary to bring suit against or prosecute the Gizmodo/Gawker folks. In fact, if they do offer to give him up, and I bet they will, I'd say I didn't care.

(I'm not an attorney BTW! It might be professionally unethical to behave like that if the information was being offered.)

I won't condemn him, but I won't vindicate him either. At this point there is no proof either way, but the circumstances as presented so far do seem fishy to me.

Didn't he/she know the engineer's name? And have his facebook profile?

I don't think that was clear. The articles stated that he saw the engineer's name that night when looking at facebook but wasn't able to look it up in the morning due to being disabled.

I don't know about this guy but I probably recall 5% of all names of people I meet at a bar, 0% first and last names. I have a hard time faulting him if there is evidence of him calling Apple support and detailing the situations.

Apparently he recalled it well enough for Gizmodo to ID the Apple employee and make him (in)famous. So the finder or the Gizmodo people could have used another computer or smartphone to get in touch with him...it's not as if the prototype was the only internet-capable device in silicon Valley :)

Gizmodo: "Weeks later, Gizmodo got it for $5,000 in cash. At the time, we didn't know if it was the real thing or not. It didn't even get past the Apple logo screen. Once we saw it inside and out, however, there was no doubt about it. It was the real thing, so we started to work on documenting it before returning it to Apple. We had the phone, but we didn't know the owner. Later, we learnt about this story, but we didn't know for sure it was Powell's phone until today, when we contacted him via his phone."

It was the real thing, so we started to work on documenting it before returning it to Apple. We had the phone, but we didn't know the owner.

Wouldn't the owner of an Apple prototype most likely be...Apple?

Surely you're not asking me to buy the idea that they thought it was the engineers's personal property, and that if they sent it to Apple, it might never find its way back to him. That's an insult to even an average intelligence.

I'm just replying to the original upvoted post, "Didn't he/she know the engineer's name?".

Obviously the "finder" knew it was Apple hardware and the thug who stole my XBox knew it was Microsoft. The finder DID call the "owner" and most likely has it recorded. I'm not defending Gizmodo at all but I think the thief has a more compelling argument in court.

Do you really know if this is a fact or just hearsay? I bet you don't.

They clearly knew the engineer's name and information, since they went ahead and posted it on their website. So they could have easily tried to contact him and return it.

According to them, they didn't learn his name until after they had taken the pictures of the phone. Once they had learned his name they contacted him, confirmed that he'd lost the phone and made arrangements to return it.

The gent who found the phone said it. You can look up the quote easily online.

He said he tried to call Apple's main line, which kind of sounds like the worst possible way to go about it, in fact it sounds like an intentionally ineffective way to do something so you can say you tried to do it. It sounds like a lame excuse, in other words. There are a lot of ways it could have easily been returned with some level of assurance that it would find it's owner.

Besides, the guy sold the thing for $5k and apparently reached out to Gizmodo and Engadget, I find it hard to believe he ever actually tried to return it.

37prime's argument is that this guy is lying to protect himself.

But personally, I doubt the story is false. A drunk guy forgetting his phone is something that happens every day.

Since 37prime doesn't have any evidence to prove the finder was lying about repeatedly attempting to return the phone to Apple, I'd like to assume he's not.

Lest, you know, someone make a similar accusation about either:

- me

- you

- 37prime

sometime in the future. This is one of the basis' upon which society works.

Yeah, that hypothesis seems a little fishy to me. 4 reasons:

1. He took money for the phone. You gotta know this is wrong.

2. He shopped around trying to dump the phone.

3. Unless the bar is keeping quiet, he didn't try to return it.

4. Apple seemed to reclaim it in a huge hurry once it got public on Gizmodo. That suggests they were taking its disclosure seriously. Did they think it WOULDN'T cause a huge uproar before it showed up on Gizmodo and then say, "Oh wait, the press _tells people about things!_ Duh, we should have seen this coming."

The story we've got so far has some pretty bizarre turns, and they really don't seem consistent with a bunch of unfortunate coincidences besetting good samaritans.

Fortunately, our opinion is meaningless. The whole point of these investigations is to determine wrongdoing.

I don't have any evidence one way or the other. I did not accuse anyone of anything. At this point everything is hearsay.

The fact is that the finder of the iPhone Prototype "sold" the property that never belonged to him to Gizmodo.

In most places, if the owner doesn't collect it, the item does indeed belong to you.

The "owner" of the phone, which the finder of the phone knows the name of, where it was found etc, was actively looking for the phone.

The words of the finder was published by none other than Gizmodo, who definitely has everything to gain if the statements were true. That's conflict of interest.

To cite some others who had found this specific California Law: California law regulates what you can do when you find lost property in the state. Section 2080 of the Civil Code provides that any person who finds and takes charge of a lost item acts as "a depositary for the owner." If the true owner is known, the finder must notify him/her/it within a reasonable time and "make restitution without compensation, except a reasonable charge for saving and taking care of the property."

Now, where was the name dropping by Gizmodo came from? The finder of the phone claimed that the phoned was "remotely bricked" the day after. Certainly someone knew who the phone was assigned to.

Those are the facts.

Gizmodo identified the owner of the phone. The finder knew some items, but not enough.

By the time the owner contacted the finder, it was in Gizmodo's hands (which I believe was a few days after the finder contacted apple).

You misread my post. I have edited it for clarity.

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