Fourth-Gen iPhone prototype locator uncovered

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Date: Friday, April 30th, 2010, 05:53
Category: iPhone, News

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The individual who found the lost fourth-generationan iPhone prototype, then reportedly held onto it for weeks and sold it for US$5,000 has been identified as Brian Hogan, a 21 year old resident of Redwood City, California.

Per Wired’s Threat Level blog, Hogan attorney Jeffrey Bornstein told Wired that Gizmodo has “emphasized” to his client that “there was nothing wrong in sharing the phone with the tech press,” a restatement of events apparently intended to downplay the fact that the tech blog publicly paid Hogan for receipt of a device that clearly did not belong to him.

The blog posting stated that Hogan was only able to access Facebook on the prototype phone before it was shut down. Gizmodo reported the phone owner’s identity via that Facebook page, making it clear that Hogan had detailed knowledge of who the phone belonged to, despite Hogan’s decision to hold onto it for weeks before selling it to Gizmodo along with the identity of the engineer who had lost it.

A report by CNET noted that Hogan “had help in finding a buyer for the phone.” It identified “Sage Robert Wallower, a 27-year-old University of California at Berkeley student” as an associate of Hogan.

CNET said Wallower acted as a middleman, along with at least one other unnamed individual, who “contacted technology sites about what is believed to be Apple’s next-generation iPhone.” The report noted that Wallower “previously worked as a computer security officer at the publicly traded Securitas corporation and that he possesses ‘top-secret clearance,'” according to his LinkedIn profile.

The report also noted discovery of an Amazon suggestion list created for Wallower by a friend which included “a book co-authored by ex-hacker Kevin Mitnick titled, ‘The Art of Intrusion: The Real Stories Behind the Exploits of Hackers, Intruders and Deceivers.'”

Wired’s latest blog posting sympathetically characterizes Hogan as working in a church-run community center and serving as a volunteer benefiting Chinese orphans as well as orphans in Kenya who need medical care. A previous Threat Level blog entry on the iPhone prototype story debuted the idea that “news accounts depicting the $5,000 payment as a ‘sale’ are incorrect,” setting the stage for later identifying Hogan as a hero to orphans worldwide, who simply ‘made a mistake involving sharing,’ rather than being a thief who sold stolen merchandise for thousands of dollars instead of returning it to its known owner.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

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