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Media Seeks Gizmodo Court Records in iPhone Probe


The justifications police gave for searching the home of a Gizmodo editor in the criminal investigation of an iPhone prototype should be public, CNET is preparing to tell a judge this week.

A group that also includes the California-based First Amendment Coalition and prominent news organizations is drafting a legal brief that will ask a court to unseal the detective's affidavit used to obtain a search warrant nearly two weeks ago. San Mateo County prosecutors have persuaded a judge to seal all the records of the case.

Making those documents public could reveal whether prosecutors and Superior Court Judge Clifford Cretan considered whether journalist shield laws applied to the evening raid of Jason Chen's home last month and whether they viewed bloggers working for Nick Denton's Gawker Media as members of a legitimate media organization.

In general, searches of newsrooms are unlawful and can even result in police paying penalties in the form of damages to media organizations. A federal law called the Privacy Protection Act broadly immunizes news organizations from searches. A similar California law prevents judges from signing warrants that target writers for newspapers, magazines, or "other periodical publication"--a definition that a state appeals court has extended (PDF) to Apple bloggers.

Read the rest of this story at CNET
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