<nettime> BBC E-mail: Secret agents raid webcam artist

lodewijk andré de la porte lodewijkadlp at gmail.com
Sat Jul 9 13:53:47 PDT 2011

This kind fellow collected full facial images when people couldn't have
suspected it. Some argue it's a place where people couldn't reasonably
expect not to have been photographed, a store doesn't have to be a public
place however and making the images publicly accessible (via his website
where people could comment on individual pictures) is something even worse.

His practice is most likely illegal and I can't quite say I like it either.

The only thing strange about it is secret service investigating the case.
Can't say he did something to the treasury and I think it would've been big
news if he caught the president (or the likes) in one of the shots.

The EFF's legal advice should always be requestable. I hope not, however,
that the EFF will take sides with the photographer.


2011/7/9 Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org>

> ----- Forwarded message from Molly Hankwitz <mollyhankwitz at gmail.com>
> -----
> From: Molly Hankwitz <mollyhankwitz at gmail.com>
> Date: Fri, 8 Jul 2011 19:27:15 -0700
> To: nettime-l at kein.org
> Subject: <nettime> BBC E-mail: Secret agents raid webcam artist
> X-Mailer: iPhone Mail (8G4)
> I saw this story on the BBC News iPhone App and thought you should see it.
> ** Secret agents raid webcam artist **
> The US Secret Service has raided the home of an artist who
> collected images f= rom webcams in a New York Apple store.
> <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-14080438 >
> Kyle McDonald is said to have installed software that photographed
> people looking at laptops then uploaded the pictures to a website.
> Mr McDonald said he had obtained permission from a security guard to
> take photos inside the store.
> Apple declined to comment. However, the Secret Service confirmed that
> its electronic crime division was involved.
> A spokesperson told the BBC that the investigation was taking place
> under US Code Title 18 /1030 which relates to Fraud and related
> activity in connection with computers.
> Offences covered by the legislation carry a maximum penalty of 20
> years in prison.
> Writing on Twitter, Mr McDonald said: "@secretservice just stopped by
> to investigate [web address removed] and took my laptop. Please assume
> they're reading any e-mails you send me."
> No arrests had been made in the case as of 8 July.
> Staring
> Kyle McDonald's images were uploaded to a page on the blogging site
> Tumblr. In the description of People Staring at Computers, the project
> is described as: "A photographic intervention. Custom app installed
> around NYC, taking a picture every minute and uploading it if a face
> is found in the image. Exhibited on site with a remotely triggered app
> that displayed the photos full screen on every available computer."
> The site features a video and series of photographs, apparently
> showing shoppers trying-out computers. Comments on the individuals by
> visitors to the site are also attached to the images. Mr McDonald,
> writing on Twitter, said that he had been advised not to comment
> on the case by the online freedom group the Electronic Frontier
> Foundation.
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