Well, I suppose that I'm going to hit Post.
(Please nobody take offense. That is not my intent.)
I honestly don't feel that great about seeing the journalist shield laws coming up for argument with possible criminal complications in the mix when the root of the story is a mere tech gadget.
You're one of the very few people to have said that, and I couldn't agree more.
I think it very well might be disastrous for the "new press" movement if this became the test case for determining what the definition of "journalist" is.
Here comes the Devil's advocate...
I'm going to have to disagree quite strongly here.
The raid was simply wrong. They could have gotten a subpoena.
That there are *allegations* of criminal activity are very, very far from sufficient grounds to step on journalists like that. The point of protecting journalists is to *try* to preserve a free state by guaranteeing freedom of the press and freedom of expression. Limiting the press by passing laws to make different aspects of reporting illegal would be simple.
It's a very dangerous road to go down.
I'll even show you all here how and why you already agree with me...
There have been several cases where the press has posed as children to contact child molesters, then turned that over to police. This is what we call "entrapment" and it is illegal. That it was the press contacting them is simply a matter of semantics. It's entrapment. It's illegal. Those people they caught still got prosecuted.
So, who wants to say that catching child molesters is 'wrong'?
Save the children!
More on illegal activities that have been legislated as legal... On the same heart-chain-tugging line...
Canada, the Netherlands, and a number of other countries have passed anti foreign sex-tourism laws that make it (il?)legal to prosecute people for sex crimes committed outside of the country, and specifically, for child-sex tourism (mostly targetted at Southeast Asia). So... Sovereign states are prosecuting for acts that are committed outside of their fair and legal jurisdiction.
Kidnapping and forced confinement are pretty much illegal anywhere. But this is what is done when a state prosecutes someone for a "crime" that is committed outside of its jurisdiction.
Hmmm... See a dangerous precedent here?
However, this is not completely unprecedented. Some countries will prosecute their citizens for any act they (want to or) deem illegal no matter where it is committed. A friend of mine was fined (i.e. summary conviction) in Korea for something he did in the Philippines (nothing serious -- he was shipping consumer goods into Korea, and at the time it was legal -- afterwards it was made illegal because of me and him -- i.e. he was convicted of a crime that had not yet been made illegal -- I was also fined for the same thing, although I was in Korea at the time).
Now, I'm not defending child molesters. They're simply used as an excuse for states to commit crimes themselves, and children are used all the time in arguments. i.e. Are you FOR or AGAINST the children? Children are used as shields to promote agendas all the time. I recently saw an anti-smoking ad: "Smoking kills children." Ok, I exagerate... that was the sub-text. The actual text was, "Don't let children breathe your smoke." Whatever. It shows the point.
The principle here is about protecting the freedom of the press with the aim to preempt tyrany of the state. It is simply a matter of the state making things illegal to prevent the press from reporting.
Now, this entire Gizmodo/Apple thing may be really small potatoes, but it shows the direction that the state will take. It shouts very clear that the state is more concerned about its own power than it is concerned about freedom for its citizens. (Because we all know Gizmodo will get hammered here.)
Remember, "innocent until proven guilty"? Gizmodo and Jason Chen have not been convicted of any crime, and yet the police are breaking down their doors... For what amounts to an extremely minor offense, if any. Stray 1 mm off the beaten path, and we'll hammer you into oblivion -- this is the message that is being sent.
But there's a few problems with the analogy.
- Bookie Jim is engaged in an illegal activity. Apple isn't. (At least on paper.)
Apple is involved in illegal activity. Anti-trust??? Besides, gambling isn't illegal... Only gambling that the state doesn't like is illegal.
- Sleazy Pete is working for the police as a paid informant. Gizmodo isn't.
Gizmodo is an informant for the people at large. They serve everyone in an open manner.
How is being a snitch an excuse for stealing?
I'm not seeing how Sleazy Pete is justified where Gizmodo isn't.
- A paper notebook isn't an engineering prototype. It may contain secrets, but there isn't anything in its form or function that is inherently proprietary. The iPhone contains both proprietary data and embodies proprietary intellectual property in its hardware and design.
An engineering prototype is just a bunch of junk that you pay a few bucks for at Radio Shack (as mentioned earlier).
If I write the cure for cancer down in a notebook, that's infinitely more valuable than having 1 dose of the cure. i.e. The ability to create and replicate (intellectual property or "knowledge") is more valuable than a single instance of it.
I don't think you've debunked the analogy. If anything, I think you've pointed out how the analogy is actually stronger.
- The DA has made it clear he's after Jim. Regardless of how any of us may feel, nobody in authority is actively going after Apple. (At least not yet.)
I don't see how the DA going after Jim but not Apple is relevant. They are both committing "illegal" acts. (Apple has been guilty of the same things Microsoft has been convicted of (anti-trust) to a higher degree for a very long time. Browser... media player... etc. etc.)
Are you trying to say that if the DA says it's ok to steal, then it is ok to steal? If we want to put someone in prison, then it's ok for us to break the law ourselves?
I think that is a very dangerous thing that needs to be very closely examined. (I am not saying that I am against it or for it. I only want to point it out.)
As former Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once remarked:
"This is a court of law, young man, not a court of justice."
And that's an important and very real distinction.
What we have here in this thread is a bit of a red-herring.
Some people are talking about "legalities", while others are talking about "justice", while others are equating the two. Sigh...
Just because something is legal or illegal doesn't make it right or wrong. Just because something is "wrong" doesn't mean that it is/should be "illegal". Just because something is "right" doesn't mean that it is/should be "legal". (Note the "is/should be" there. There is an infinite divide between the two.) Similarly, we can subsitute "desirable" and "undesireable" in there as well.
I think that my little tirade above points out that there is a problem with equating "legal/right/desirable" and "illegal/wrong/undesirable".