Apple Facing Lawsuit Over iPhone 5 Prototype Search Tactics Including Police Impersonation

Apple Facing Lawsuit Over iPhone 5 Prototype Search Tactics Including Police Impersonation

The alleged victim of tactics used by Apple security employees seeking to recover an iPhone prototype is considering filing a lawsuit against the tech giant. Sergio Calderon, a 22-year-old San Francisco man claims Apple workers impersonated police officers during a search of his home.

Calderon has hired San Francisco attorney David Monroe, who up to now has handled commercial and business cases, according to CNET. Monroe questions whether Calderon was at the Cava 22 lounge the night the iPhone prototype disappeared and why San Francisco police allowed Apple’s private investigators to conduct a search of his client’s home.

According to Calderon, on Aug. 31, six people showed up at his home and said they would obtain a search warrant unless he complied with their request. Two people who Calderon thought were police officers then conducted the search. Later, it was determined the “officers” were actually Apple employees, according to the news site. The San Francisco Police Department has said two Apple employees searched Calderon’s home, car and computer while SFPD officers waited outside.

“My focus is primarily on Apple. I’m trying to figure out why Apple did this,” Monroe said.

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  • jimmyjame

    Oh SNAP! Looks like Apple is some crap now!

  • Steven Zahl

    NEW PRODUCT: iPolice

  • prof_peabody

    non-story.  

  • Leeroy Browne

    It’s obvious why Apple would have done this. They were searching for a very secret prototype…they weren’t about to let the SFPD get their eyes on it too. 

  • Michael Wilkowski

    i wonder who is on that team, does apple have a black ops recovery team?

  • i_Phoned

    Did they file in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas? :-P

  • i_Phoned

    An employee might tell you, but might not be able to afford the return flight from Siberia.

  • CharliK

    First step is proving that Apple did it at all. Which is going to be hard since the camera footage was allegedly only one photo every 2-3 minutes so it might have been difficult to prove Sergio or any Apple Employee was at the bar at all. And then it was wiped within days because they don’t keep the footage so now you won’t find that proof at all. 

    Add to this the apparently lack of a police report that says exactly which Apple Employees and what they said to the cops to get them to go to the house . And a disinterested 3rd party witness to what the cops said to Sergio regarding who the people were and anything else that was said. 

    There’s too many missing details and totally non conclusive ones. If you look at the details it paints a story that could be Apple lost another phone, could be a private party lost a phone, could be Sergio and some buddies made it up to get the bar some press and perhaps try to extort some money out of Apple by embarrassing them over one of their employees overdoing things. 

    And then there’s the issue of the prototype even existing. We are about 30 minutes into the event and they haven’t talked hardware yet. What happens when it turns out that they did a 4s rather than a fully new phone and it becomes possible that no field testing was needed. Rather ruins all claims but might explain why there were never any leaks of the details about the new phone. No one had it to leak. 

  • Julieb615

    Even if everything alleged above is true, what was done that was illegal?  He gave them permission to search.  (He ASSUMED they were all police – he’s an idiot for not asking for identification.)  But, even then, is it illegal for the police to get assistance from professionals to aid in any search, especially when the “owner” gives them permission to search?

  • CharliK

    It is not illegal for the police to escort private parties to a home so that the private parties can ask questions etc. it is not illegal for the police to enter and search without a warrant or to standby and say nothing for the private party to do a search if the other party agrees to it. 

    The illegal that is being brought up is the allegation that this guy didn’t so much as assume that the Apple people were with the police so much as it was said “We are from the police” referring to everyone present. Thus implying to him that the Apple folks were police also. But if he did give them permission rather than demand they have a warrant, the issue of what was assumed or implied might matter less. AND there is the further allegation that the police didn’t so much as say that ‘if you don’t allow us in right now, we could come back with a warrant and you will have no choice’ as they supposedly added “and if we were to find anything else, say proof you don’t have legal permission to be in his country . . .”

    The only proof of any such statement is the alleged victim. Not only that but it is very convenient for dear Sergio that no one asked about cameras until easily a month after the alleged event and the footage was scant (one frame every 2 or so minutes) and had already been erased. So no one can prove he was there although according to at least one article he freely admitted he was. Nor can they prove he was not or that any Apple employee that might have had access to a prototype (i.e. from the campus) was there to lose the phone at all. And if there was no possible prototype in the house then Apple wouldn’t have done anything. 

    Also suspect is the fact that the 31st was a Wednesday and this loss was ‘over the weekend’ meaning Sunday at the latest. No way would Apple have waited that long. They would have assumed the finder would try to sell the phone, sell details about it or at least wipe it to try to remove any tracking asap. After last year they are probably tracking all prototypes using Find my iPhone and perhaps hourly calls or texts using special numbers and pass codes to verify the right person has the device. They would have been looking Monday AM at the latest. Not Wednesday. but wait, according to the original stories the lost was in late july. So supposedly Apple waiting a month to track down a prototype. Doubt it. 

    It’s all rather weird and a bit sketchy given the constant changes in details. 

  • CharliK

    Apple doesn’t send them to Siberia. 

    There’s a dungeon on campus that works quite nicely. 

About the author

Ed SutherlandEd Sutherland is a veteran technology journalist who first heard of Apple when they grew on trees, Yahoo was run out of a Stanford dorm and Google was an unknown upstart. Since then, Sutherland has covered the whole technology landscape, concentrating on tracking the trends and figuring out the finances of large (and small) technology companies.

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