(removed description of the raid)
Jennifer Granick, civil liberties director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said Chen is protected from a warrant by both state and federal laws.
The federal Privacy Protection Act prohibits the government from seizing materials from journalists and others who possess material for the purpose of communicating to the public. The government cannot seize material from the journalist even if it’s investigating whether the person who possesses the material committed a crime.
Instead, investigators need to obtain a subpoena, which would allow the reporter or media outlet to challenge the request and segregate information that is not relevant to the investigation.
“Congress was contemplating a situation where someone might claim that the journalist was committing a crime [in order to seize materials from them],” Granick says.
California state law also provides protections to prevent journalists from being forced to disclose sources or unpublished information related to their work.
“California law is crystal clear that bloggers are journalists, too,” she says.
Apple is on the steering committee for the REACT task force that raided Chen’s house. Formed in 1997, REACT is a partnership of 17 local, state and federal agencies tasked with investigating computer- and internet-related crimes.
Among the items seized from Chen’s house were four computers and two servers, an iPhone, digital cameras, records from a Bank of America checking account and the printout of an e-mail sent to Chen from Gawker Media Managing Editor Gaby Darbyshire earlier that day. The e-mail referred to California’s shield law and specifically stated that police cannot use a search warrant against a journalist to identify a confidential source, or obtain notes and other unpublished information from a news story.
Darbyshire and Chen wouldn’t respond to requests for comment, but according to a letter Darbyshire sent to Detective Matthew Broad, of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department, when Chen encountered officers in his home Friday evening, he asked if they had seen a copy of Darbyshire’s e-mail, which he had printed out earlier in the day. The officers said they had seen it and took it into evidence. One officer told him that in 25 years of working such cases, he’d never seen a letter like that.
The e-mail did little good, however. The officers told Chen and his wife to stand aside while they finished sweeping the house. Before they left, one of the officers told Chen “something about this possibly being a misunderstanding that could be cleared up if I answered some questions.”
Granick notes that the warrant involved in the search of Chen’s house was also overly broad since it allowed officers to seize entire computers instead of limiting the search to material directly related to the iPhone story in question.
“Certainly when you’re talking about a journalist’s computers, you’re talking about [other] sources and information and reporting,” she says. “There’s nothing in the warrant that limits the search, once the computers are seized, to whatever it is that they’re investigating in this case.”
Read More http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/04/iphone-raid/#ixzz0mK0lsUSf
police working directly under authority of Apple. -UNREAL-