Authorities raid home of Gizmodo editor after iPhone Leak, new iPod Touch pictures posted on eBay

California police have reportedly raided the home of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen, following an ongoing story last week which saw the tech blog pay a third party $US5,000 for a prototype iPhone lost in a bar by an Apple software engineer.

But the Apple leaks keep on coming, with a user on auction site eBay posting pictures of what seems to be an early-model iPod with a camera.

It is the second embarrassment in as many weeks for the California tech giant, which prides itself on a culture of secrecy before unveiling new hardware updates.

It is still unknown whether Apple will decide to press charges for the loss of the device. While Gizmodo maintains it paid $5,000 for the device and didn’t know it was an official product, it is understood Apple is treating the device as stolen, and not “recovered”.

Gizmodo has posted on its site that the California Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team entered Chen’s home when he was not present, and confiscated four computers and two servers, under authority of a warrant issued by the Superior Court.

The blog has posted pictures of the documents used as justification for the raid. Additionally, Chen has also posted his account of the raid, saying he returned home at 9:45pm to see police officers searching his property and vehicles.

“Officers told me I wasn’t under arrest or being detailed, so I could leave whenever I want. They seemed pretty eager to get rid of me, and when a neighbour who I didn’t know approached to ask what was going on, officers said that I could ‘go stay with my friend until they were done and they could call me’.”

“The officers printed out the inventory list and also told me they took photos of before and after so that they were sure they didn’t do any damage. Other than the things they took, it doesn’t seem like they did any damage other than the front door, when they bashed it open.”

The raid is an indication that the leak is being taken extremely seriously by California. Talk of the legal ramifications of Gizmodo’s actions has been brimming since it revealed that it had acquired the prototype iPhone for $US5,000.

Under California state law, some experts have suggested Gizmodo actually stole the goods instead of recovering them. Additionally, a Silicon Valley blogger with close ties to Apple has suggested the company is treating the situation as theft, rather than a recovery, but the company has made no official comment on the matter.

Indeed, the documentation granting officers access to Chen’s house notes the “prototype 4G iPhone” and refers to the gadget as “stolen”.

Meanwhile, another leak seems to have sprung out of Apple’s headquarters, with an eBay user posting pictures of what appears to be two prototype iPod Touch devices with a camera.

The two gadgets bear the “DVT-1” and “DVT-2” tags, which apparently stands for “design verification test” and comes with an “Apple Development Team” stamp. While the eBay listing was taken down minutes after being posted, bloggers were quick to catch the photos used in the description.

But some doubt has been cast on their authenticity – apparently the “A1318” code used on the device matches the current iPod Touch, indicating the camera could be an addition that was scrapped before last year’s update.

Either way, it appears Apple won’t be able to give too many surprises when it reveals new iPhone and iPod gadgets later this year.

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