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  • Secret Service Busts Apple Store Spycam Bandit


    It's one of the most unusual Apple Store-related headlines we've seen on a while. On Friday, news broke that (supposedly) the United States Secret Service - yes, the elite Executive branch agency charged with protecting the President of the United States - busted a Brooklyn artist who planted spycam software on Apple Store computers without permission.

    According to published reports surfacing within the past few hours, "artist" Kyle McDonald claims his personal property was seized by the feds after he tinkered with an art experiment of sorts at two Apple Store locations. It should be noted, however, that McDonald is the only person "confirming" that the Secret Service is on the case.

    Here's how MSNBC describes McDonald's exploits:

    Kyle McDonald wanted to document the way people interacted with computers. So, without permission, he installed software on public computers in two Apple Stores in New York, that took a photo a minute of anything and anyone in front of it. The photos were automatically sent to his home computers.
    "I thought if maybe we could see ourselves doing this we would think more about our computers and how we’re using them,” McDonald says of his controversial exploits. During a 72-hour period, McDonald captured thousands of photos of unsuspecting Apple Store customers. On more than one occasion, McDonald even returned to the Apple Stores to re-install the software he used to capture the unauthorized images. Consequently, McDonald's antics were uncovered. And he was promptly charged with computer fraud.

    Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Secret Service showed up at McDonald's door to seize two computers, two flash drives and an iPod. At this point, it isn't clear just how much trouble - if any - McDonald is really in. For now, Apple isn't commenting or giving any indicating how they may - or may not - pursue additional charges.

    Source: MSNBC
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Secret Service Busts Apple Store Spycam Bandit started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 20 Comments
    1. Mr. Russian's Avatar
      Mr. Russian -
      Wow that's stupid. Lol
    1. ensigma's Avatar
      ensigma -
      I saw his video a few days ago and noticed all the pictures were taken in an apple store. I was left puzzled with how someone can get away with that.... I guess you can't
    1. RICO_'s Avatar
      RICO_ -
      Secret Service combats U.S. counterfeit currency and protects the President and other high value delegates.....what the hell are they doing on a case like this?
    1. mmaboi21's Avatar
      mmaboi21 -
      Am I the only one who thinks this is cool... Not the getting caught part.
    1. codvisp's Avatar
      codvisp -
      Quote Originally Posted by ensigma View Post
      I saw his video a few days ago and noticed all the pictures were taken in an apple store. I was left puzzled with how someone can get away with that.... I guess you can't
      Yes illegal but interesting: People Staring at Computers on Vimeo
    1. Cer0's Avatar
      Cer0 -
      I saw this story the other day and wondered how could he got away with that. First installing software to snap images on the stores computers. Then push his own story about using the images for "art".
    1. TsukiakariUsagi's Avatar
      TsukiakariUsagi -
      Quote Originally Posted by RICO_ View Post
      Secret Service combats U.S. counterfeit currency and protects the President and other high value delegates.....what the hell are they doing on a case like this?
      Obama was probably out shopping for a new Mac Book Pro and got caught on one of the images.
    1. mythamp's Avatar
      mythamp -
      I think it was the Bush twins/or W himself who made an *** of themselves trying to figure out how a Mac works! :P Don't forget, secret service provides security to all previous presidents (alive ones atleast).
    1. joshbot's Avatar
      joshbot -
      Respectfully, the BBC reported a completely different story: BBC News - Secret agents raid Apple store webcam 'artist'

      1. Kyle McDonald had asked the store security to install the software (Apple is not commenting),

      2. The Secret Service did confirm that they are investigating Mr. McDonald under US Code Title 18 /1030.

      3. That the penalty for violating the code can include up to 20 years in prison.

      4. Mr. McDonald tweeted that he is being advised by Electronic Frontier Foundation.

      Personally I see no difference between this and Google Maps before the faces were blurred.

      joshbot
    1. suchef44's Avatar
      suchef44 -
      In my opinion.
      Its shameful this is criminal.
      Its certainly art.
      Insightful.
      And unobtrusively executed.
      This is digital street art.
      And anthropology.
      20 years in jail would be atrocious.
      Hope nothing horrible comes from this.
      And even.
      Maybe.
      A grant.
    1. tudtran's Avatar
      tudtran -
      But why is the secret service? Where is the FBI?
    1. maaaslo's Avatar
      maaaslo -
      Quote Originally Posted by RICO_ View Post
      Secret Service combats U.S. counterfeit currency and protects the President and other high value delegates.....what the hell are they doing on a case like this?
      wasting taxpayers money???


      i just dont understand it. what breach of privacy?
      if it comes to me, anyone can take as many pictures of me as they like. i dont care. its not as they are stealing my soul... cmon people, use a bit of common sense....
    1. lighter's Avatar
      lighter -
      i see people taking pictures in the street all the time... heck we walk in to a store and we are being recorded by cameras we can't even see .... there is no difference... it doesn't appear to be something he did with malicious intent... maybe he captured a picture of someone that is wanted... or of government official or something.. who knows but i really do hope this guy doesn't go away for 20 years for making art... which is clear from his video...
    1. Xenthis's Avatar
      Xenthis -
      Hmm, art.....

      Sounds more like stalking...
    1. IcerMize's Avatar
      IcerMize -
      This person installed software on a computer that did not belong to him and admittedly did so knowing that what he was doing is considered spying. Perhaps some of you may think differently if you were recorded in a rest room doing your business.
      What the offender claims he was doing and what his actual intent was may not be the same.
      Simply put, he did wrong and should be punished.
    1. maaaslo's Avatar
      maaaslo -
      just one small think mate. there is slight difference between rest room and apple store.
      its not stalking, just taking pictures of random people. same happens every time you take picture on streets. shouldnt you be punished for that as well?
    1. IcerMize's Avatar
      IcerMize -
      Unless laws in the US have changed, there is a difference between taking shots of a group of people or a street scene and taking a photo of an individual so as to make that person the subject of the photo. The stated intent of the author was to capture the faces of individuals.
      As a professional photographer, I always request, and 95% of the time am granted, permission to post someone's likeness in a published photo.
    1. Kupe's Avatar
      Kupe -
      Wouldn't the green camera-on light have come on each time? Or maybe that's how they discovered it...
    1. Co1d Night's Avatar
      Co1d Night -
      Quote Originally Posted by IcerMize View Post
      This person installed software on a computer that did not belong to him and admittedly did so knowing that what he was doing is considered spying. Perhaps some of you may think differently if you were recorded in a rest room doing your business.
      What the offender claims he was doing and what his actual intent was may not be the same.
      Simply put, he did wrong and should be punished.
      Why are you comparing it to taking a dump? Are there customers taking dumps in the store?

      Taking photos of someone in a public area is different from taking photos of someone in a restroom stall.
    1. Stumbows's Avatar
      Stumbows -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kupe View Post
      Wouldn't the green camera-on light have come on each time? Or maybe that's how they discovered it...
      On his Vimeo link he actually states there is no way to disable the green light and that each time it took a photo the green light went off.