The Next iPhone — and the Criminal Law Angle

It appears that an Apple employee with a top-secret next-generation iPhone prototype lost the phone at a bar.

The folks at Gizmodo paid $5,000 to get the phone from the guy who recovered it. They then disassembled the phone to see what made it tick before contacting Apple to have Apple request the return of the phone (and thereby confirm that the phone is indeed an iPhone prototype).

The result is a major news story, with tons of people going to the Gizmodo site to see what the new iPhone will look like and what features it has, long before Apple is ready to make that information public.

It’s exam season at law schools around the country, so for today’s exam, analyze whether this stunt violated the federal Economic Espionage Act, 18 U.S.C. 1832; the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. 1030, or California’s computer crime statute, Penal Code Section 502.