Is Apple Taking the Law Into Its Own Hands?

Some have compared people’s zeal for Apple products to a religion. An incident connected to reports of a lost prototype of the iPhone 5 last summer suggests that Apple has also, on occasion, been taking the law into its own hands. Last July, six people with badges who declared themselves to be members of the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) appeared at 22-year-old Sergio Calderón’s house. As San Francisco Police Department spokesman Lt. Troy Dangerfield now says, while ”three or four” of those people were SFPD officers, two were Apple security officials.

According to Calderón, the ”officers” asked him if he had been at Cava 22, a San Francisco bar where the iPhone 5 prototype had been lost and said that, using GPS, they had traced a lost iPhone to his house. Not only did some of the “officers” (the Apple security officials, says Dangerfield; they did not specifically say they were police officers) search Calderón’s home. They asked if everyone in his house was an American citizen and, says Calderón, ”said we were all going to get into trouble.”

Calderón also noted that none of the officers identified themselves as Apple employees. One offered him $300 and a “promise that the owner of the phone would not press charges, if he would return the device.” On leaving, one officer left him with a phone number which has been traced to Anthony Colon, an investigator employed at Apple.

Calderón is a US citizen and all of his family members have legal status. He said that he would not have allowed the two people to search his house if he had known they were not members of the SFPD.

In a possibly related development, Apple’s vice president of global security, John Theriault, is reported to have retired last week but those in the know are saying that the investigation about the search of Calderón’s home is behind his stepping down.

There’s still one more twist to what is a bizarre and disturbing incident that more than smacks of racial profiling , with the Apple security employees apparently presuming that Calderón and his family members were illegal immigrants. The SFPD say that the incident was never properly recorded in accordance with standard operating procedure — unless, of course, it has become standard procedure for police officers to help private investigators to conduct searches of citizens’ homes without a search warrant, when what’s being searched for is a super top-secret Apple product prototype.


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Photo by Yutaka Tsutano

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Claire D.
Claire Baines4 years ago

I'm not sure I believe this, as I heard practically the same story a few years ago regarding an Apple prototype, so I'll take this with a massive pinch of salt!!

Judy Bogdanove
Judy Bogdanove4 years ago

Sounds like Microsoft propaganda, but if it isn't, try to gain some perspective. Apple spends millions of dollars to develop its products. They are a large corporation, and sometimes people in organizations overstep their bounds in their zeal. This must never be condoned, but thanks to the power of the internet they themselves helped promote, the guilty and the exec behind them have been exposed. A self-correcting system, would you say? The worse problem is that citizens of our country, and legals as well, are not being well-enough educated as to their rights. NEVER let someone in without proper ID and a warrant.

Robert B.
Robert B.4 years ago

Sounds like gross incompetence or a stunt. Either way, the rule should be: "No Warrant, No right to enter" End of Story.

Claire M.
Claire M.4 years ago

I think some people need to be reminded of just how into your computer and data Microsoft is. How they manipulate the industry so that most software requires their operating system to run. Their software never drops in price even if they are about to remove it from the market.
Microsoft was been declared a monopoly many times by various entities but somehow manages to have the issue slip into the shadows and forgotten by the media. We are not worried about Apple because they are some kind of real threat. We are worried about them because the big M is encouraging the idea.

Rebecca S.
Rebecca S.4 years ago

Apple is the law....the rich make up government...

Sue H.
Sue H.4 years ago

Hhmmm... promo stunt or not, this is not good business. Too big for their britches comes
to mind.

Lynn C.
Lynn c.4 years ago

This is something I hope we will be inspired to change - another thing on the OWS agenda - to reduce the arrogance, duplicity, and power of the police with direct and immediate punishment for those who abuse their position and an end to warrantless raids, illegal spy activities and military armaments used in civilian "actions".

Vivianne Mosca-Clark

Only give your name and birth date....that is all you ever say to any officer...and get your lawyer. any thing said to a officer can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to remain silent.. use not talk to the officers...they play 'good guy,,,bad guy' physiological games to get you to say anything.

As far as lawyers go......see the documents with your charges, before giving the lawyer any more information. They are not necessarily on your side. Public defenders make deals with the state for their personal advancement. Behind closed doors.

Marie W.
Marie W.4 years ago

I would never buy any Apple product- Microsoft is bad enough.

Penny C.
Penny C.4 years ago