Posts Tagged ‘secretservice’

Covert In-Store Portraits, Apple, and the Secret Service

Artist Kyle McDonald caused quite a hoopla last year after using a custom-written program to photograph unsuspecting people using Apple Store computers. Apple quickly issued a takedown request and the Secret Service was sent to confiscate McDonald’s gear. Yesterday Wired published an interesting article in which McDonald gives his long and detailed account of the whole fiasco:

I didn’t want to break the law. I was prepared to make people a little uncomfortable, but I didn’t want to do anything illegal. That ruled out using private computers. I tried to think of a busy public space full of computers, and the Apple Store seemed so obvious. I read “The Photographer’s Right” to make sure it was ok to take the photos.

[It] sounded simple. There was definitely no expectation of privacy: the 14th Street Apple Store has glass walls. And I saw people taking pictures inside all the time, so I just had to double check with an employee. It seemed clear that I was legally within my rights, but I wanted to be sensitive to the people being photographed. I decided in advance that I would make sure it was easy to contact me if someone saw their photo and wanted it removed. I would try to keep Apple out of the discussion by always referring to it as a “computer store”, but Apple’s strong aesthetic makes it hard to hide.

When Art, Apple and the Secret Service Collide: ‘People Staring at Computers’ [Wired]

Apple Sets Secret Service on Artist Over Stealth Apple Store Photos

Yesterday we shared a disconcerting art project by Kyle McDonald in which he installed apps in Apple Stores throughout NYC to secretly photograph customers staring into the computers. We predicted that Apple wouldn’t be too happy about it and, lo and behold, it’s pissed. The company has reportedly enlisted the help of the US Secret Service to investigate McDonald’s actions. Mashable writes,

[…] four Secret Service men in suits woke him up on Thursday morning with a search warrant for computer fraud. They confiscated two computers, an iPod and two flash drives, and told McDonald that Apple would contact him separately.

McDonald, who has a master’s degree in electronic arts, admits the project might make some people uncomfortable. Before he began, he got permission from Apple’s security guards to take photos in the store, then asked customers if he could take their photos (with a camera). Had they all said no, he says, he wouldn’t have proceeded.

It’ll be interesting to see how this case turns out, but it appears to be another example of a common sense fail when it comes to photography.

(via Mashable)