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Apple Store Artist Raided By Secret Service

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the innocent-whistling-at-very-high-pitch dept.

Privacy 376

An anonymous reader writes "Artist Kyle McDonald wanted to create something that captured people's expressions as they stared at computers. So the 25-year-old artist installed a program on computers in two New York Apple Store locations that would automatically take a photo every minute of whoever was standing in front of the computer. McDonald then uploaded the photos to his Tumblr blog, 'People Staring at Computers,' made a video with the photographs, and set up 'an exhibition' at the Apple stores to show what he had found. Within days, the Secret Service, which investigates computer crimes, had raided McDonald's house, seizing his two laptops, two flash drives and iPod."

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nice! (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703550)

art cannot be the new terrorism for justfying anything.

Double standards (5, Interesting)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703558)

Where were they when that school in Merion installed spycam software on all the pupil's laptops to record them in their dormrooms?

Re:Double standards (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703582)

This is a completely different situation. The issue is that the artist had no right to install software on a machine without the permission of the machine's owner. The school in Merlon installed (admittedly disgusting) software on computers they owned.

Re:Double standards (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703630)

Apple store leaves computers open and accessible to anybody who walks in the door.

Potential customers are either allowed to use them or theyre not.

Re:Double standards (1)

tapo (855172) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703760)

Then am I allowed to install a keylogger? By your logic, it's the same thing.

Re:Double standards (1)

No Grand Plan (975972) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703950)

You can, but according to one article (possibly this one, I didn't read it) they wipe every computer in the store nightly.

Re:Double standards (2, Interesting)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703702)

The issue is that the artist had no right to install software

Ah...it was the installation of some software that was the problem.

Thanks for clearing that one up. The entire country was certainly at risk and getting the Secret Service involved was definitely the right thing to do. There's no way a local policeman could have reprimanded him.

PS: I read the article before posting (hey, it's the way I roll!) and it mentions something about him asking permission before doing it.

Re:Double standards (2)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703842)

Yes it mentions 'something'. It says he asked a few customers if he could take their pictures, although admittedly, he didn't ask all (per the article).

McDonald protested that he had gotten the permission of a security guard to take photos in the stores, that he had asked several customers for permission to take their photos (though certainly not all of them), and that taking photos of people in a public place is mostly allowed anyway.

The store, although publicly accessible is private property (privately owned business). The machines on which he installed the software are also privately owned (although publicly accessible). They certainly don't have a sign that says "Install whatever you like", and the article makes no mention that he asked permission to install such software. In short, he broke the law, and installed software which 'spies' on people without their consent.

Re:Double standards (2)

cob666 (656740) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703878)

Then why doesn't Apple lock down their computers so nothing can be installed on them. I understand that this guy crossed a line but it should be between him and Apple.

Re:Double standards (1)

pietros (1062744) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703598)

looking at the recordings

Re:Double standards (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703744)

There's a slight difference between installing 'spy' software on the school's computers that are being handed over for use by students and installing it on someone else's computers without their real knowledge. From TFA and others, he obtained permission to take some photos: not do a little impromtu- and really questionable from a legal view- IT work undercover.

The first is, from a property standpoint, legal. The school was installing software on computeres it owned. The second is not. The guy was installing software on somone else's computers without permission. Neither are ethical actions, with both being questionable from a privacy viewpoint, but the latter is the one that's gonna get the more 'thorough' response from law enforcement.

Re:Double standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703810)

"thorough"?

Sounds like overkill to me. I'd expect things like this if the guy was possibly armed or a flight risk. A lone officer at his door with a warrant would have been enough for this.

Re:Double standards (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703986)

I think the problem I have with this isn't that he got in trouble, it's that the Secret Service showed up. Normally you would think the local police would handle this kind of thing but here we have the feds getting involved. That automatically moves it into toontown level stupidity. He's liable to serv a concurrent life sentence for every violation when they get around to making an example of him. Can't they limit themselves to finding Bin Laden's minions and leave this kind of stuff to the locals?

Sony BMG (2, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703956)

A better question is, where was the secret service when Sony was caught installing rootkits en masse?

Admin Privs?? (4, Insightful)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703978)

I think the better question is how did this guy install software which accesses peripheral hardware (the webcam) without admin rights? I thought OSX was supposed to be so secure...

Secret Service??!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703560)

They don't get involved with computer crimes like this unless money is involved (like counter fitting), normally it's FBI - something else is going on here...

Re:Secret Service??!? (4, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703584)

Installing kitchens is a crime now??? I"d better call my cousin and warn him!

Re:Secret Service??!? (1)

webmistressrachel (903577) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703682)

You can relax. I think he means "counterfeiting". :-)

Re:Secret Service??!? (1)

Legal.Troll (2002574) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703928)

Underrated comment. I chuckled.

Some dumbass (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703562)

Installed a program on someone's else computer and now he's saying there's nothing wrong with this?

Re:Some dumbass (0, Troll)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703752)

Is there a policy at Apple stores that doesn't allow the customer to try the computers out? Isn't installation one of the things a prospective customer would want to see? I know as a Mac user, I'd show off the install feature since it's one of the best things about Mac OS X compared to other OSes.

Re:Some dumbass (1)

Exitar (809068) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703794)

Surely your argument will hold in a court!

Re:Some dumbass (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703846)

Is there a policy at Apple stores that doesn't allow the customer to try the computers out? Isn't installation one of the things a prospective customer would want to see? I know as a Mac user, I'd show off the install feature since it's one of the best things about Mac OS X compared to other OSes.

Really? They've got apt?

Re:Some dumbass (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703940)

No, he should've asked first. No matter what he was trying to do.

Firstly, as to your point, I'm sure they'd allow it if you brought in something that you needed to be able to run and wanted to make sure it would work ok. They'd probably help with the installation if there were any issues, too, (and offer that same help if you bought the machine). It's really in your best interest not to try to be clandestine and ethically shady about this sort of thing.

Secondly, they would probably want to wipe their machines afterward. You may inadvertantly or intentionally have brought in malware, or the software might have copyright issues that they don't want to have to deal with.

Finally, in this specific case, they'd probably be interested in the project and even help him out with it. I wouldn't have been surprised if they deployed the software to many machines across all the stores and cherry picked a bunch of pictures for the next Apple TV ad, set to Yael Naim music or something.

Installing stuff they don't know about, and which runs when you aren't even in the store? There's not even grey area there.

Re:Some dumbass (1)

ichthyoboy (1167379) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703770)

Maybe he really wants a job with Sony...

Get him, boys! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703566)

Did they use "excessive force" and "enhanced interrogation? This one sounds particularly dangerous!

Makes sense (1)

ccguy (1116865) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703570)

Probably they didn't want to ask him about this particular project, but maybe he setup something similar before? Maybe he's got some other interesting pictures of people together with location and timestamp. Bonus point for someone else's in the surroundings (or sharing the computer).

Or not, but well, they want to make sure :-)

Good one (0)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703572)

There are some classic shots in there but this guy is going to jail, and a good thing too.

Re:Good one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703862)

There are some classic shots in there but this guy is going to jail, and a good thing too.

Yes, we must surely get the dangerous art students who take pictures of people in public places off the streets!

Better yet, let's just ban cameras in public places altogether - that way we'll be able to identify the criminals immediately! (Artists, the Japanese, etc.)

What the fuck is a "Tumblr blog"? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703574)

What the fuck is a "Tumblr blog"? How does it differ from the millions of other blogs out there?

Yeah, I could probably google this, but I really don't care enough to do so.

Re:What the fuck is a "Tumblr blog"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703604)

It is similar to "from his iphone", "on my iphone" instead of "from his phone", "on my phone".

Re:What the fuck is a "Tumblr blog"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703690)

But that's a very different situation. Using "iPhone" in that manner does add a significant amount of information to such a description. It gives us deep insight into the owner's sexuality (likely metrosexual or homosexual), lifestyle/culture (likely a hipster), financial backing (likely a trust fund or a rich daddy), and financial common sense (totally lacking; will waste money frequently).

That doesn't work for "Tumblr", though. Fuck, many of us here hadn't heard of it until now, and still have no idea what the hell it is, or what it connotes.

Re:What the fuck is a "Tumblr blog"? (0)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703616)

A Tumblr is a Tumbler with an "e" missing. A Tumbler is a household appliance you use to dry clothes. If something is missing, it's obviously defect. A Tumblr blog therefore is obviously a block about defect household appliances and/or wet clothes.

Re:What the fuck is a "Tumblr blog"? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703678)

You don't care enough to type a 6 letter query into google and wait less than a second for an answer, but you do care enough to type a 173 character post complete with an f-bomb into Slashdot, to which a useful reply might possibly come up in minutes, hours, or even not at all?

Re:What the fuck is a "Tumblr blog"? (0)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703758)

You don't care enough to type a 6 letter query into google and wait less than a second for an answer, but you do care enough to type a 173 character post ...

Says a lot about the Apple haters, doesn't it? They sure go out of their way to demonstrate their insecurities.

Re:What the fuck is a "Tumblr blog"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703776)

He didn't mention Apple even once in his post. He asked about Tumblr. I don't know what Tumblr is, either, but I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with Apple, because its name doesn't start with the letter "i".

Re:What the fuck is a "Tumblr blog"? (1)

HelioWalton (1821492) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703888)

Here's a pretty good example, and not a goatse link either! Riker [tumblr.com]

The promised land. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703580)

America, fuck yeah!

Wait a second (3, Insightful)

hansraj (458504) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703586)

So he had no idea when he came up with this project that he might get in trouble with the law even though he _thinks_ he is on the right side of the law? Either this guy is trying to make a point by getting in the grey area (FTFA, he is a consultant for EFF), or a moron. In either way, he is going to need a lot of luck.

Re:Wait a second (3, Insightful)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703614)

Well, that's the land of the free and the brave for you. I stay in my socialist European hellhole, thank you very much.

Hurr (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703658)

Day hate our freedoms

Re:Wait a second (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703908)

In most of Europe you cannot just go about publishing pictures of people (except if they're performing some public duty, like a president giving a press-conference). It's called portrait/image right.

Re:Wait a second (1)

Alef (605149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703674)

(FTFA, he is a consultant for EFF)

No, TFA says he is consulting with EFF, not that he is a consultant for EFF. He is asking them for legal advice.

Re:Wait a second (1)

hansraj (458504) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703768)

My bad. Thanks for pointing that out.

Re:Wait a second (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703676)

(FTFA, he is a consultant for EFF)

Er, no he's not. From the article:
"He’s currently consulting with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group that defends civil liberties online, about his rights."

Re:Wait a second (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703972)

The only thing here that is possibly illegal is that he installed software when he wasn't explicitly authorized to... Of course, he wasn't explicitly prohibited from installing software either, and since the computers are there for public use with no conditions on how they can be used, I don't really see how Apple has any case against him.

Great exposure (4, Insightful)

stormguard2099 (1177733) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703588)

Geez, you can't really ask for any better PR than having your project mentioned on national news. As long as he stays out of jail (go EFF!) then he'll come out on top in the end.

Re:Great exposure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703620)

OMG, a guy took pictures of people who were staring into a camera. Lock him up!

He's a developer of OpenFrameworks (1)

Haven (34895) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703590)

A creative coding suite... I hope the SS doesn't impede my C++ art.

It's like a gallery of stereotypes (1)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703596)

I like how every shot he posted has some sort of stereotypical nature about it. It's like characters in a movie or something. I also find it interesting how many people look angry?

They shouldn't have gone after him... (2, Insightful)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703602)

* Public place
* Got permission
* Glorified art project

Seriously, what a waste of tax money.

Re:They shouldn't have gone after him... (4, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703618)

* Got permission

It sounds like a security guard gave him permission to take a few shots in the store, not to install webcam software on their laptops.

Re:They shouldn't have gone after him... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703636)

Also an apple store is not a public place, it's private property that's open to the public which is MUCH different than say a park.

Re:They shouldn't have gone after him... (2)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703772)

No, every Apple store is a public conveyance. They may be privately owned, but the mere fact they are a store makes them a public place.

Re:They shouldn't have gone after him... (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703804)

Errm, I mean a public place...conveyance refers to transportation..not sure there's much of that going on in Apple stores.

Re:They shouldn't have gone after him... (1)

cob666 (656740) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703926)

A store is not a 'public place'. It's is privately owned. You can't be asked to leave a public park but you can be asked to leave a store. You can take pictures in a public place but you need permission to take pictures of the inside of a store (the exception being you take pictures of the inside of a store FROM a public place.)

Re:They shouldn't have gone after him... (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703830)

People don't have a reasonable right to privacy when they are in a public place like the apple store or the mall etc. If they didn't want to be photographed they should have stayed home. Welcome to surveilance nation where there's a camera around every corner.

Re:They shouldn't have gone after him... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703654)

By leaving computers on display shelves and switched on Apple is inviting people to use the machines.

Re:They shouldn't have gone after him... (1)

AAWood (918613) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703708)

But people aren't, by using those computers, giving their permission for their photos to be taken and put online. Besides, what are you saying; that I should be legally free to do anything I want online, as long as I'm using a public computer?

Re:They shouldn't have gone after him... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703638)

Do stores count as public places?
If you can be kicked out and banned from them I don't think they do.

Re:They shouldn't have gone after him... (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703644)

They are quasi public unless they are listed as a 'private club'.

Re:They shouldn't have gone after him... (4, Interesting)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703828)

The Supreme Court disagrees with your AC opinion:

“A privately owned shopping center that attracts large numbers of people to congregate in order to shop and take advantage of other amenities offered by the shopping center is the functional equivalent of the traditional town center, which historically is a public forum where persons can exercise the right to free speech. (Robins v. Pruneyard Shopping Center (1979) 23 Cal.3d 899, 910-911 & fn. 5 [153 Cal.Rptr. 854, 592 P.2d 341]”

While the wording here applies to 1st amendment, it clearly states that a place that invites people to come and shop becomes public.

Every time you hear a story about some shop owner who claims they own the place so you have to follow their rules, you should bait them into discriminating against you somehow then sue them out of business. Responsible business ownership should include the understand that you can't be a tyrant just because you own a business.

Proportionality (2)

Teun (17872) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703632)

It seems to me the legal concept of proportionality is out of the window even before a court has looked at it.

When the Apple store is so upset about someone installing a reasonably innocent piece of software on one of their publicly available computers that they need the Secret Service to handle it I get serious doubts about both the Secret Service's and Apple's sound judgement.

Re:Proportionality (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703686)

Secretly taking pictures of people without their concent is "relatively innocent" now?

Re:Proportionality (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703836)

It has always been "overtly innocent" to take pictures of people in public.

IAAP (I am a photographer).

Re:Proportionality (1)

hexagonc (1986422) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703930)

Except that this wasn't in the public. This was on Apple's private property. Also, it appears to have been done at least partially without people's consent under conditions that they would not have expected to be photographed. You might not mind having hidden cameras taking pictures of you and posting them on the internet without your consent but a lot of (most?) other people do.

Re:Proportionality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703854)

Yup!!

How many times a day are you caught on Security Cameras without your consent?

The article could arguably be an extension of this...

Re:Proportionality (1)

ncohafmuta (577957) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703866)

and see, if he would have just applied for press credentials beforehand, he could have claimed freedom of the press and been fine.

in response though, yeah, it's relatively innocent, in the grand scheme of things. we've become such a bunch of whiny and weak people in this society. ooo, he took a picture of me, ooo the camera stole my soul. grow a backbone. it's a freakin' picture.

Re:Proportionality (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703916)

In a public place, yes, it is innocent. The issue isn't whether it was a crime to take the pictures (it isn't), it is whether it was a crime to install software on the Apple Store's computers. That's why he was taken in by the Secret service, he's being charged with violating 18 USC section 1030 "The computer fraud and abuse act".

Re:Proportionality (1)

DMFNR (1986182) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703710)

My problem with this is that after reading the article I couldn't see anything stating that the Apple store was upset. I want to know if this was sanctioned by the store itself. All I can garner from the article is that he asked permission of a security guard, which probably isn't authorized to give permission to install software on the computers, but it also says that he was in the store during the project asking a few of the people being photographed their permission. You mean to tell me that not a single one of these people went up to a sales representative and said, "hey, there's some creepy guy telling me your computer took a picture of me and he wants to use it in an art project?" I just cannot believe that nobody in that store was aware this was going on, and then the guy goes and holds a little art exposition right in front of the store! I'd think at some point during this project someone would have called the police if they thought something was wrong, and I also think the local police department would most likely go out and arrest this guy themselves rather than be like, "holy shit Jim, we're going to have to call up the Secret Service on this one".

I really do agree with some of the above posters that there has to be something else going on her. I don't want to start going in to some of the crazy (and unlikely) scenarios that went through my mind after reading this, but there just has to be more to this story. Who hasn't opened up QBasic on a computer in K-Mart back in the '90s and made it print "fuck you" over and over. So now this is such a serious crime the Secret Service would be involved?

Shit, maybe we didn't get Osama and he's actually walking around New York and he was looking for a new Mac Book Pro and this guy got a picture of him and now the SS has to put Kyle away for good lest any of these photos leak.

He got what he deserves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703648)

He got what he deserves, only that...... I would not like to be photographed in an store and then shown in a weblog without my permission.

Re:He got what he deserves (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703754)

If you don't want to be photographed in stores, you should work with your representative to make it illegal. What's happened here is that a guy doing something entirely legal is being intimidated by the authorities. No matter how much you value your privacy in semi-public places, you can't be in favor of that.

Re:He got what he deserves (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703806)

What if he installed audio bugs in the stores and streamed the signal on line. Would that be entirely legal?

Re:He got what he deserves (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703820)

That would probably fall foul of wiretapping statutes. But there's no such statute for visual information. In any case, he's accused of unauthorized computer access, not wiretapping. Quite obviously ridiculous, since Apple allows people to use their computers. Unless you have to agree to terms of service before you use a computer in an Apple store, there's no case against this guy.

Re:He got what he deserves (1)

s0litaire (1205168) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703870)

I wonder if their is any "expectation of privacy" when you walk in to a shop and use device laid out for the public?

Re:He got what he deserves (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703938)

Unless you have to agree to terms of service before you use a computer in an Apple store

That's what I was wondering about too... I've been inside Apple Stores MANY times, and I've never seen anything which tells you that certain actions aren't allowed on their computers. You can't do things that are illegal of course, but anything not explicitly illegal seems like it would be fair game.

Re:He got what he deserves (2)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703876)

What if he installed audio bugs ...

What if he murdered the first three customers in line?

But he didn't.

Taking pictures of people in public isn't illegal, but recording them with audio is. Murdering people is also illegal. Because this guy did something a lot of people on here don't like doesn't make it equivalent to placing audio bugs or killing people.

Re:He got what he deserves (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703860)

I can't believe you and I are the only 2 people in this entire thread who can see this for what it is -- legal pictures of people in public used for art. This guy should get a pro bono constitutional lawyer and sue his way into enough money for his next exhibition.

EFF? (5, Insightful)

lyinhart (1352173) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703668)

So he's consulting the EFF (not working as a consultant for them like someone else though). I'd be very disappointed at the EFF if they side with this guy. He installed software that most of the passerbys didn't know about. The software was used to take pictures of them, most of whom did not give their explicit permission. And he published the pictures on an Internet site for the whole world to see. Given how the EFF takes the bigs to task for their written license agreements and violations of privacy, taking this guy's side would make no sense.

Devil's advocate (0)

foolish_to_be_here (802344) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703728)

Did not Google take pictures of people without permission at specific locations world wide and post them to the public in Street View? While I personally would not like my picture taken anonymously and posted to the web there seems to be a lot of wiggle room for this sort of activity.

Re:Devil's advocate (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703756)

didn't this guy read about googles troubles with that? if he had real permission and wanted to do it non-guerilla, he should have left a note at the computer and a button "take my picture" - of course 99.99% of the art in his piece is that people don't know they're being photographed, otherwise it's very non-artsy.

Re:EFF? (0)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703746)

There's no expectation of privacy in public. Consider People of Walmart. So Apples customers have no legitimate complaint.

Also, Apple allows people to use their computers. They don't mention any limitations on what you're allowed to do with them. So Apple has no legitimate complaint here.

It's pretty obvious that there's no case whatsoever here. Dude is 100% in the right legally, the worst you can accuse him of is bad taste. It's so obvious that this guy is in the right that he deserves recourse against the SS thugs who took him in. He won't get it in America though.

Re:EFF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703864)

Modeling release.

Re:EFF? (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703848)

Well places like shopping malls, though they are privately owned, are deemed pseudo public spaces, because your presence is obvious. He didn't do anything really. Now doing it in a private residence however, this would be illegal. But it was an open-to-the-public store. Extremely creepy yes, but not illegal.

Spying on Apple customers? (2, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703688)

How dare he? That's Steve's job. Blessed be the name of the Steve.

Idiot artist (5, Interesting)

Lillebo (1561251) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703700)

Lol, just watched the video montage he did of the stunt. Some minutes into the video, after showing a couple of hundred faces, he ponders "Would people look different if I showed them how the computer sees them?" - or in other words "Would people react differently if I showed them I was taking pictures of them?"

As predicted - most did. Next he says "Most just hit escape".

Couldn't help but laugh at his naivety. Of course people would hit escape - they don't want their picture taken you twat!

Found it. (1)

david_g17 (976842) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703726)

I knew one of them got on camera: http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lnujmrWHlA1qmuig5o1_500.jpg [tumblr.com]

Re:Found it. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703786)

The secret service? Maybe. This guy looks more like a wannabe secret service guy.

The freaking SS? Really? (1)

pianophile (181111) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703748)

Seems excessive. Why not simply write the guy a ticket for some petty misdemeanor, and uninstall his software? Does the SS really not have anything better to do than go after this guy?

Re:The freaking SS? Really? (1)

s0litaire (1205168) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703918)

You never know!

an undercover or other SS agent might have been caught on camera browsing apple products while he should be working...

Next thing he knows his picture is splashed on a little knows blog that hardly anyone will see.
His bosses fill their panties in fear that he's been outed and raid the poor students place to get the stuff off line before anyone sees it...

causing the incident to be widely know and all the images seen by thousands of people who out of all them their will be one who say's "Hey didn't i go to SS training with that guy?" or "I thought he was dead"

Then those "eco-friendly commie unionist terrorists" the GOP are warning us about and the SS were infiltrating, set off a nuke at Mt Rushmore...

He asked a security guard for permission? (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703796)

It sounds like he asked some rent-a-cop if he could take people's pictures, and then gained access to computers in the Apple Stores to take these pictures without the permission of someone who actually had authority to grant that permission. The article is pretty scant on details, though, and only really tells things from his side, so it's hard to tell what really happened at this point.

Re:He asked a security guard for permission? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703912)

The devices on display are set up explicitly so that the public will have access to (and in fact are encouraged to explore) their features, which includes the webcam on them.

This to me sounds like implicit permission to use the cameras, as well as implicit permission to install software. Any legal line this man may have crossed is beyond the act of simply using the camera, or installing software. He had implicit permission to do those two things.

overkill much? (1)

Flush1 (2356344) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703812)

That is quite the bit of overkill... secret service really? Quite the waste of tax dollars.

Scope (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703964)

Yeah, that bugged me as well. I thought the Secret Service was only charged with going after counterfeiters, and the obviously related task of protecting the president from assassination.

Slightly more detail and WTH did he expect? (4, Insightful)

bledri (1283728) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703840)

The potential penalty is absurd, but if you: Install software without permission on 100 machines at two stores that each take and upload a picture to your personal server every minute. Return every day, for several days, doing so since apple wipes the machines every day. Remotely trigger the software to show a slide show of your making (calling doing so "arranging an exhibition"), what the hell would you expect? No charges have been made yet, I hope he does not do jail time, but he deserves a smack upside the head.

Ideally Apple should lock down the DVD drives and USB ports at the stores, requiring an admin to mount a drive, though I have no clue how to do that.

Re:Slightly more detail and WTH did he expect? (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703900)

Ideally Apple should lock down the DVD drives and USB ports at the stores, requiring an admin to mount a drive, though I have no clue how to do that.

The goal is to sell hardware, not lock it down. Unless you are trying to sell a computer to a guy wearing a tin-foil hat, why would you want to lock it down to potential buyers?

Besides, you can muck with Macs at the Apple store using the free wireless much easier.

Re:Slightly more detail and WTH did he expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703958)

Echo these sentiments except I think the guy deserves to pay a fine for wasting everybody's (including law enforcement's) time.

This guy was essentially conducing private surveillance and publicly posting photos of total strangers on the web. How he thought he could legally do that by installing what was essentially malware on somebody else's computers is beyond me.

As for the fact that he asked permission of a security guard... he really ought to have known that was the WRONG person to ask... and I bet he conveniently "forgot" to mention the more suspicious details of what he wanted to install. The guy deserves a fine, either for being stupid, or for attempting to pull a fast one.

Video surveillance (1)

Pf0tzenpfritz (1402005) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703844)

Did somebody take in account that said photos were shot in a public place which is under massive, visible and permanent video surveillance - like any major computer store? He did hardly invade anyones privacy, as everyone in the store was aware of being monitored. So what's his crime?

Damn you George Bush!!! (-1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703914)

You just wait till Barack Obama is inaugurated! I can't wait!

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