Register

Sign In

Login with facebook

Apple Store Photographer Busted By Secret Service

useravatar
Curtis Wood
Offline
Photographer
Logan, Utah
1637 Posts

Top Apple Store Photographer Busted By Secret Service

-I read this article recently and thought it was worth a posting and hopefully a discussion.

Here is how it went down:

After setting up software at two Apple stores in New York City that forced computers to automatically take one photo every minute and send them back to his server, McDonald then compiled the images into a piece called People Staring at Computers.

The results — which show hundreds of anonymous faces staring blankly at screens — are fascinating, thought-provoking, slightly disturbing … and possibly illegal. McDonald’s project has landed him in hot water with the Secret Service, who confiscated his computer after obtaining a search warrant for computer fraud.

So, aside from the inherently creepy thought of someone taking a picture of your face and saving it at home without you knowing, what exactly has McDonald done wrong?

What do you think? Is McDonald within his rights as an artist to take public photos, or did he invade privacy AND illegally manipulate Apple computers?

I wanted to post the image that was created by McDonald, but the links were all taken down around the 15th of July. I assume do to privacy issues being questioned.

Here is an image that is showing up in several like articles:
http://www.notcot.com/images/2011/07/stareatcomp.jpg

Here is the entire Article:
http://www.silberstudios.tv/blog/2011/0 … Studios%29

Super calloused Fragile mystic Hexed by halitosis
Mary Poppins, I ain't!

TeamInsider member - PM me if you have any questions or visit us in the chat.

useravatar
Curtis Wood
Offline
Photographer
Logan, Utah
1637 Posts

Top Re: Apple Store Photographer Busted By Secret Service

Several points brought up by another article concerning this project and McDonald's subsequent arrest, revolve around several issues we have been discussing here in the forums of ModelInsider.

Here are some interesting points to get the discussion going:

Even more interesting than his project about how people perceive their relationship with their computer might be how people perceive the artist's actions here. Many people seem to be up in arms, and feel quite strongly that his actions were criminal and should be punished. But what crimes did he actually commit? None of the immediately obvious arguments would appear to be viable when you consider the facts of the situation:

1. Unauthorized access to a computer (hacking): The computers he used were open to the public, so no hacking there. Some might say that his program installation exceeded his allowed access, but I don't think customers are forced to sign any kind of agreement before using the computers, and even if they were, it is not currently the law (yet) that violating a Terms of Service agreement constitutes hacking.

2. Violation of Privacy: To argue a violation of privacy, in most places you would have first argue that the person videotaped had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the first place. Certainly, being in a public location, Kyle could have snapped pictures of those very same people with a handheld camera and, short of Apple themselves giving him the boot off the premises for annoying their customers, there would be no legal consequences to doing so. Additionally, it's highly likely that Apple (or the mall itself) had their own cameras present for security purposes. All in all, this would appear to be a nonstarter as well.

3. Wiretapping Laws: Someone might be inclined to link this to cases we've seen recently where police officers charge the people videotaping them with violating state wiretapping laws. They would be forgetting, however, that wiretapping statutes are usually restricted to audio. Still pictures means no wiretapping
.

What do you think?

Super calloused Fragile mystic Hexed by halitosis
Mary Poppins, I ain't!

TeamInsider member - PM me if you have any questions or visit us in the chat.

useravatar
Kevlar Vest Girl
Offline
Photographer
Chicago, Illinois
1001 Posts

Top Re: Apple Store Photographer Busted By Secret Service

Curtis Wood wrote:


What do you think?

I think I'm beginning to understand that the term "art" might mean something different than what I previously thought it did.

useravatar
Curtis Wood
Offline
Photographer
Logan, Utah
1637 Posts

Top Re: Apple Store Photographer Busted By Secret Service

Kevlar Vest Girl wrote:


I think I'm beginning to understand that the term "art" might mean something different than what I previously thought it did.

I have to say I agree with you Bob. I'm re-evaluating some of my ideas on Art as well.

A quote from one source says..
Mr. McDonald, has a masters degree in electronic arts.

MSNBC has also picked up the story.

The Brooklyn Apple Store where McDonald installed his software.
http://modmyi.com/images/Messany/apple-store-man4-071010-1.jpg

A customer that was photographed.
http://www.betabeat.com/files/2011/07/Screen-shot-2011-07-07-at-10.59.08-AM-300x189.png


This is kind of interesting too. 
Over three days, McDonald collected thousands of photographs, even coming back to the stores every morning to reinstall the software, as Apple wipes store model computers every night.

Super calloused Fragile mystic Hexed by halitosis
Mary Poppins, I ain't!

TeamInsider member - PM me if you have any questions or visit us in the chat.

useravatar
Curtis Wood
Offline
Photographer
Logan, Utah
1637 Posts

Top Re: Apple Store Photographer Busted By Secret Service

- the BBC is quoting a source from our government saying this is the section of code that the case will be testing:

TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 47 > § 1030
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/1030.html

Super calloused Fragile mystic Hexed by halitosis
Mary Poppins, I ain't!

TeamInsider member - PM me if you have any questions or visit us in the chat.

useravatar
John Rayner
Offline
Photographer
Rapid City, South Dakota
1325 Posts

Top Re: Apple Store Photographer Busted By Secret Service

If this guy wins in court, then models and actors have lost the ability to force someone to pay for a release. At least that is how I see it. Photographers, cinematographers and videographers will have carte blanche to shoot anything, anywhere without compensating any subject.

There will be plenty of heat to burn this guy.

useravatar
Curtis Wood
Offline
Photographer
Logan, Utah
1637 Posts

Top Re: Apple Store Photographer Busted By Secret Service

John Rayner wrote:

If this guy wins in court, then models and actors have lost the ability to force someone to pay for a release. At least that is how I see it. Photographers, cinematographers and videographers will have carte blanche to shoot anything, anywhere without compensating any subject.

There will be plenty of heat to burn this guy.

Perhaps.

At the moment some are saying this is an unfounded test and will fail. Each of the articles I have read, thus far take differing stances and opinions.

For sure the subject warrants a debate.

Super calloused Fragile mystic Hexed by halitosis
Mary Poppins, I ain't!

TeamInsider member - PM me if you have any questions or visit us in the chat.

useravatar
John Rayner
Offline
Photographer
Rapid City, South Dakota
1325 Posts

Top Re: Apple Store Photographer Busted By Secret Service

I think this computer nerd will go down. No knowledge of the legalities of modern photography. He will be burned on multiple counts.

useravatar
Curtis Wood
Offline
Photographer
Logan, Utah
1637 Posts

Top Re: Apple Store Photographer Busted By Secret Service

-Most of the reporting sites have taken the images down for legal reasons.

-I was lucky enough to find one with a few images up still......

http://fffff.at/files/2011/07/12.232.59.217-500x375.jpg
http://fffff.at/files/2011/07/1308690538_12.38.132.137-500x375.jpg
http://fffff.at/files/2011/07/1308677895_12.38.132.137-500x375.jpg
http://fffff.at/files/2011/07/1307048325_12.38.132.137-500x375.jpg

-although slightly modified.

Super calloused Fragile mystic Hexed by halitosis
Mary Poppins, I ain't!

TeamInsider member - PM me if you have any questions or visit us in the chat.

useravatar
Curtis Wood
Offline
Photographer
Logan, Utah
1637 Posts

Top Re: Apple Store Photographer Busted By Secret Service

-ok, here is a site with the real images still up.

http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/177186/ … htm#page15

Super calloused Fragile mystic Hexed by halitosis
Mary Poppins, I ain't!

TeamInsider member - PM me if you have any questions or visit us in the chat.

useravatar
John Rayner
Offline
Photographer
Rapid City, South Dakota
1325 Posts

Top Re: Apple Store Photographer Busted By Secret Service

Run away... run away... the only thing uglier than computer nerds are apple geeks, complete with bad lighting.

useravatar
AVD
Offline
Photographer
Chelsea, N/A
permanent
598 Posts

Top Re: Apple Store Photographer Busted By Secret Service

John Rayner wrote:

If this guy wins in court, then models and actors have lost the ability to force someone to pay for a release. At least that is how I see it. Photographers, cinematographers and videographers will have carte blanche to shoot anything, anywhere without compensating any subject.

There will be plenty of heat to burn this guy.

except that the secret service would not have been busting him in the first place for failure to get a release so win or lose for him in criminal court it will have zero impact.

useravatar
Curtis Wood
Offline
Photographer
Logan, Utah
1637 Posts

Top Re: Apple Store Photographer Busted By Secret Service

AVD wrote:

John Rayner wrote:

If this guy wins in court, then models and actors have lost the ability to force someone to pay for a release. At least that is how I see it. Photographers, cinematographers and videographers will have carte blanche to shoot anything, anywhere without compensating any subject.

There will be plenty of heat to burn this guy.

except that the secret service would not have been busting him in the first place for failure to get a release so win or lose for him in criminal court it will have zero impact.

agreed.

They look to be persuing title 18. Nothing to do with releases.

Super calloused Fragile mystic Hexed by halitosis
Mary Poppins, I ain't!

TeamInsider member - PM me if you have any questions or visit us in the chat.

useravatar
John Rayner
Offline
Photographer
Rapid City, South Dakota
1325 Posts

Top Re: Apple Store Photographer Busted By Secret Service

Awe... so they want to wack him for hacking the unhackable... I get it now.

Maybe we need to install that software on all the apple users computers here...

Naw... forget that idea...

No one is interested in wacking shots...

useravatar
Creative Wyoming
Offline
Photographer
Sheridan, Wyoming
7 Posts

Top Re: Apple Store Photographer Busted By Secret Service

My own uneducated guess would be that Apple would have the best case against him, since the the computers are on their property and are owned by Apple, and the fact that the general public has access is not relevant. There is no reasonable expectation of privacy for individuals in general outside their own residence or place of employment (and not even there, when employers have the right to intercept their communications and examine their computers and account). Apple could make a case for hacking (which does not have to be done remotely); whether the government wants to expend prosecutorial resources on this minor incident it certainly up to them.