Did Apple Order Cops To Raid Gizmodo Editor’s House?

David Hendrickson heads the Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team, the police task force that ordered a raid on Gizmodo editor Jason Chen. Picture: San Jose Business Journal:

Apple sits on the steering committee of the special police task force investigating iPhonegate, Yahoo News reports, raising the possibility that the company may have had a hand in the raid of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen’s house.

Friday’s police raid on Chen’s apartment was ordered by Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT) task force, which is commissioned to investigate high-tech crimes. Apple is a member of the task force’s steering committee.

Apple is one of the 25 companies that sit on REACT’s “steering committee.” Which raises the question as to whether Apple, which was outraged enough about Gizmodo’s $5,000 purchase of the lost iPhone for CEO Steve Jobs to reportedly call Gawker Media owner Nick Denton to demand its return, sicked its high-tech cops on Chen.

The San Mateo District Attorney’s office said the task force is investigating a “possible theft,” but wouldn’t say whether the target is Gizmodo or the person who found the iPhone in a bar and sold it to the site.

Yahoo News notes that the task force has investigated other cases in response to requests by committee members, including Symantec, Microsoft and Adobe.

“In either case, it’s hard to imagine — even if you grant that a theft may have occurred under California law, which requires people who come across lost items to make a good-faith effort to return them to their owner — how the loss of a single phone in a bar merits the involvement of an elite task force of local, state, and federal authorities devoted to “reducing the incidence of high technology crime through the apprehension of the professional organizers of large-scale criminal activities,” as the REACT website motto characterizes its mission.

Yahoo News: What is Apple Inc.’s role in task force investigating iPhone case?