Authorities Begin Evidence Examination in Gizmodo iPhone Case

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CNET reports that authorities have begun examining computers and other evidence seized from Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's residence following the purchase of and publication of details on a lost next-generation iPhone. The evidence examination had been on hold since Chen's lawyers raised questions about the legality of the seizure, arguing special protections for Chen under journalist shield laws.

Stephen Wagstaffe, chief deputy district attorney for San Mateo County, told CNET on Wednesday that a court there had appointed a "special master" to search the items seized from the home of Jason Chen in late April. The court has asked the special master to collect only information that pertains to Gizmodo's dealings with an iPhone prototype that the blog purchased for $5,000.

The special master, who has not been identified, is an unpaid, neutral third party appointed by the court to assist in the carrying out of judicial orders. The agent will collect information believed pertinent to the investigation and present it to the court and Chen's lawyers for discussion and final determination of what evidence will be provided to the district attorney for investigation. The report notes that this process could take up to two months.

Earlier this week, Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed his thoughts on the situation, noting that some people advised him to "let it slide" but that devotion to what he believes are the core values of Apple demands that the company pursue action.

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