I've been sitting at my desk doing real work today, watching the unfolding controversy over the iPhone Prototype purchase that Gizmodo made. The latest development (if you have been completely avoiding media today) is that the Editor of Gizmodo had his home searched by the police for some reason and a fairly substantial amount of electronic gear was taken away.
It's hard to know what police motives were for what they did. They could be considering Gizmodo's purchase of the iPhone prototype a theft. They could be looking for information leading to the arrest of the person from whom Gizmodo purchased the iPhone prototype.
A warrant-based search of a blogger's home is scary proposition. But the Gawker's handling of the case is a clear violation of several California laws. The editor of Gizmodo and his superiors should not have bought the prototype when they were informed that the device was lost. They should not have named the Apple engineer who lost the phone.
I can understand why the first offense took place. But the second offense illustrates that these people didn't care about the engineer's career in the least.
My mother often said that "two wrongs don't make a right" and this is certainly the case here. Gizmodo never should have trafficked in stolen equipment as a way to attract an audience, and the police could have pursued their investigation by other means.
Gizmodo's sneering disregard for professional conduct undermines our technology culture. The police's heavy-handed tactics make some members of the public question whether their investigation is politically motivated (in the sense that Apple is using its extreme influence in its home county).
Most names left out of this post because providing more attention for the wrong reasons is not the point.