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When Art, Apple and the Secret Service Collide

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the I-feel-safer-already dept.

Crime 358

theodp writes "Last July, Slashdot reported on Kyle McDonald, the artist who had the Secret Service raid his home at the behest of Apple, who was miffed with Kyle's surreptitious capture of people's expressions as they stared at computers in Apple Stores. A year later, Wired is running McDonald's first-person account of the preparation for and fallout from his People Staring at Computers project. 'I really wasn't expecting the Secret Service,' McDonald begins. 'Maybe an email, or a phone call from Apple. Instead, my first indication that something was "wrong" was a real-life visit from the organization best known for protecting the President of the United States of America.'"

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Insert erection (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656027)

Instant orgasm
9 months later, a baby is born

Insert erection (-1)

segin (883667) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656081)

Receive baby

Re:Insert erection (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656501)

But how is babby formed?

Only in America... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656035)

Only in America, though generally where they lead we follow.

Re:Only in America... (2, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656291)

AmerCIA.

"We're keeping an eye on you, buddy."

Now, you have to consult with the EFF, before you want to take pictures of people shopping in a mall.

Way to fucking go, land of Jefferson.

Re:Only in America... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656403)

no you have to consult with the EFF before you hack the mall's DVR and take CCTV footage and post it as an "art show" inside the hacked malls electronic billboards.

Nobody expects the spanish inquisition! (5, Funny)

Flector (1702640) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656039)

...amongst their weapons are fear, surprise, and an almost fanatical devotion to the pope.

Re:Nobody expects the spanish inquisition! (0)

segin (883667) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656093)

...amongst their weapons are fear, surprise, and an almost fanatical devotion to the (opium) pipe.

FTFY.

Re:Nobody expects the spanish inquisition! (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656321)

I think the GP meant a fanatical devotion to Pope Jobs.

Re:Nobody expects the spanish inquisition! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656383)

Err, that would be Pope Cook. In that the Pope is the head of the religion founded by a certain deity.

Re:Nobody expects the spanish inquisition! (5, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656453)

Yeah, the most interesting paragraph was this one:

But there was one point that really stuck with me. He told me that when you start working at one of the stores, you have to sign an agreement that you won’t talk about it. First you go through training, and you can’t talk about what you did for training. Then you go through an initiation where you follow an experienced employee, and you’re not allowed to talk to any customers. Finally, when you are a full-fledged employee, you are absolutely restricted from representing Apple in any way outside the store. If you post an identifiable comment as an employee, you will be fired immediately.

That really sounds like some religious cult.

Re:Nobody expects the spanish inquisition! (5, Interesting)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656581)

The Young Steve Jobs went on a pilgrimage to India in his 20's. People act like they are being ironic when they refer to the cultlike nature of the Apple organization. Jobs knew exactly what he was doing.

The way Apple crassly and commercially manipulate this stuff, it's surprising more spiritually minded people don't call out Apple for it. Then again, Jobs studied under Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi [the-wanderling.com] who was the same huckster cult operator who hooked in on the Beatles.

Jobs set up Apple to be sort of a Moonie outfit. Quite literally cultilike.

Re:Nobody expects the spanish inquisition! (5, Interesting)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656661)

...so it's like any other company? For a while I worked at a large corporation covering many roles, and I noticed the same air of secrecy, but upon asking, I was given reasons for it.

All training is confidential, because certain statements are easier to convey in an informal setting, but the public would get agitated by them. One training video I watched was incredibly sexist. All the food service jobs were depicted by women, and the operations were handled by men. The video was made in 1970, so it's pretty easy, in an internal setting, to just not care. Another training session included the statement of "don't do X, because it is offensive to group Y". Someone could take offense that group Y was being singled out as being troublesome. Rather than scour every piece of training material, and remake it whenever yet another term is deemed offensive, the training is just declared confidential, and (good) managers start each training session with the phrase "This stuff is really old and a little politically incorrect. Sorry about that."

During the shadowing experience, you're still considered as being in training. You don't know everything, and even if you do know something, there's a good chance you'll screw up the protocol the company wants you to follow. Maybe there's an easy fix for a broken Apple product, but it only works for certain models. A helpful eager newbie might tell the customer the fix, which could void their warranty and make things worse, while an experienced staff member knows to just escalate such issues to someone who can find the appropriate solution for the model.

Once your sales training is complete, you're a salesman. You're in the sales department, not PR. You might hear rumors of a product the company doesn't want to announce yet, so you're not allowed to talk about it. If someone has a major injury on your sales floor, you aren't allowed to speak to the press about it, because you aren't likely to say just the right thing to align with the company image, and you probably don't have all the facts of the situation, anyway.

The first rule of being a corporate minion is that you do not talk about being a corporate minion. You assume you aren't the all-seeing all-knowing god of the world, and you say only what the manager tells you to say, which has been decided by the various committees that are higher up than you are, who are working with a big-picture view of what the company as a whole wants to say to the world.

Re:Nobody expects the spanish inquisition! (2)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656693)

He's dead, It's Saint Jobs now.

Re:Nobody expects the spanish inquisition! (2)

iamgnat (1015755) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656307)

Oh god! They didn't put him in the comfy chair did they?!?!?! The poor soul..

Re:Nobody expects the spanish inquisition! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656611)

It is not that bad yet when he still can talk about the experience afterward.

Re:Nobody expects the spanish inquisition! (0)

Zemran (3101) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656407)

It all makes me glad I'm not an American...

Land of the free (free to do as you are told)

The Man does what he wants (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656041)

Face it, it's game over for the man on the street. Big brother decides who will do what even if it's not against one of his laws. Anyone at anytime can be pounded on for anything.

Granted, it's still worth fighting the powers that be but not enough people are going to do it until there is little hope left. Today it would be relatively easy for the people to rise up in comparison of where we will be 10 years from now.

Oh, and if you think that choosing Mitt or Barak is going to change this or even slow it? Get your head out of your ass.

Re:The Man does what he wants (1, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656065)

Yep I find it is amazing just how much crap people will put up with before they rise up. And it also makes you wonder about historical revoultions, and current revolutions, and get some insight as to just how bad life can be or could have been in those places. I think that in the case of the "West" it still has a long way to go, and can get much, much worse before people vote with their fists and pitchforks.

Re:The Man does what he wants (1, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656385)

Indeed. If you're terribly worried about an investigative organization politely knocking on your door, discussing your batshit insane (but nonetheless interesting) 'art' project that when, evaluated from a neutral point of view, contains enough hot button issues to get a dozen companies, agencies and lawyers all excited and you conflate this to the End of Civilization as We Know It, you, yourself, need to spend sometime in reality.

That, and try to stay away from posts with serious run on sentences.

Sorry, first cup of coffee time here.

Re:The Man does what he wants (2)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656317)

So, hang on... Apple had no part in this?

Re:The Man does what he wants (3, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656517)

This guy was PLAYING Big Brother and using computers which did not BELONG to him.

The right to control what one OWNS is fundamental to liberty.
He didn't own the machines he exploited.

Shit on him and anyone like him be they Big Government or merely some wanker artist.

Re:The Man does what he wants (1)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656627)

Big brother decides who will do what even if it's not against one of his laws. Anyone at anytime can be pounded on for anything.

True. Big Brother didn't do a thing here, though, except investigate and then return his equipment. While the government is usually quite dickish, according to the article they only did what was somewhat "fair". The major inconvenience for the guy was having his equipment confiscated, but it seems it was returned in a couple of months.

Having said that, let me veer off for a second. Slashdot has quite a few pro and anti Apple people, and that's fine. I'm not one for Apple products, but I don't automatically assume you're demented if you buy an Apple machine. This guy being an exception. Regardless of whether he was right or not, he thought he was. And tried to cordially contact Apple, saying he'd take the project it off the internet if they wanted him to. Their response was to ignore him, then go over his head directly to his host. And send him what seems to be an automated e-mail asking him to take the site offline after they did it themselves. And, of course, they unleashed the FBI on him to take his computers away. Cold, brutal, uncaring and impersonal the whole way. And what does the guy do? Orders a new Macbook from them. Really, either he's the world's most forgiving person or it's a case akin to stockholm syndrome.

Me, I think it's Apple's right to push like that. But - and he even mentions it, being fully aware of the fact - it's incredibly hypocritical of them seeing as they did something similar themselves, and unnecessarily forceful. If they did anything like that to me, they'd never see my money again. Wouldn't hurt their bottom line on bit, but I'd feel like a black, gay, poor mexican godless communist donating money to the GOP.

He was surprised?! (4, Insightful)

EGSonikku (519478) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656073)

He can call it art, most human beings would call it creepy as hell, and last I checked you aren't supposed to be installing hidden spy equipment on Apple's display units. And what if Apple had sold any of these display units? Then you'd have hidden spy equipment inside people's homes, snapping photos and emailing this guy. Also I doubt he programmed in the stores hours, so you could have them snapping photos of employees before and after business was open when they do have an expectation of privacy.

So yeah, if you are doing mass installs of spy software, you can expect a knock on your door.

Expectation of privacy also during business hours (1)

F69631 (2421974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656181)

I would say that everyone has - by default - a reasonable expectation of privacy whenever nobody else is around. Sure, if you are in a park, you can't do certain things that you could in the privacy of your home even if you don't see anyone, because you might not just have noticed someone and so on. However, in a half-public place, such as a store with no customers inside, you should be able to call your family/doctor/etc. or whatever without having to wonder whether someone is monitoring you in secret. (You may say "You shouldn't do that at work anyways" but that's to be settled between the employee and employer)

That all said, yeah... Involving the local cops? Sure. FBI? Maybe. Secret service? It does sound like an overkill.

Re:Expectation of privacy also during business hou (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656231)

I expect a lot of those half-public places to have some sort of surveillance these days, such as a camera. Sure, there's plenty of places you'd reasonably expect there to be no electronic surveillance, such as the middle of the woods, but almost anywhere outside of nature you can reasonably expect to be recorded even if no one else is around.

Re:Expectation of privacy also during business hou (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656427)

You would be completely wrong. You have an expectation that there are video cameras all throughout the store for security reasons. They will at least capture video, they might even capture audio. You have no expectation of privacy in a place open to the public.

Re:He was surprised?! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656191)

He checked the terms of use and found no restrictions against installing software, spyware or otherwise.

I also got the impression from the article that the systems all automatically restore themselves to a previous image every night, hence the reason he had to install the software every time he did this. So no, a customer would not have bought these machines with his software installed. I would expect ANY display machine to be wiped fresh at the time of purchase anyway.

Re:He was surprised?! (4, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656237)

He checked the terms of use and found no restrictions against installing software, spyware or otherwise.

Try walking into a store and setting up a video camera on a self to watch customers and employees, and see what the store does. At the very least you will get thrown out, if not have the police called on you. Spying is spying, and the people he filmed never game him express permission to film them. Simply calling it "art" does not absolve him from any possible criminal liability.

Re:He was surprised?! (4, Insightful)

yincrash (854885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656547)

You don't need to give express permission to be filmed in public for noncommercial reasons.

Re:He was surprised?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656603)

A shop is a private establishment.

Re:He was surprised?! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656699)

A shop is a private establishment.

No, it is not. Any private property that is open to the public is public space. If you don't like it, lock the door and put a sign that read 'private property, keep out'. Fuck off.

Re:He was surprised?! (3, Insightful)

Bobakitoo (1814374) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656601)

At the very least you will get thrown out, if not have the police called on you.

And that is the only thing they could do, also calling the police is excessive. Ask him to leave with his equipment, everything remaining will be taken to the trash. Unless he refuse to leave or become violent, there is no need to involve the police. Not much bad were done because this was a public space where there is no expectation of privacy anyway. Do something useful, go rage about all the other camera that is filming everyone, everywhere without anyone's consent.

I don't like being secretly filmed and I don't like his 'art' project, but this is clearly a case of abuse and intimidation, a symptom of police state and yet an other proof that fascism live on in America.

Re:He was surprised?! (1)

Bobakitoo (1814374) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656633)

INB4 'But Apple store is private property'. When you are open to the public it is public space even though it is privately owned. Public space and privately owned are not mutually exclusive.

Re:He was surprised?! (1)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656615)

He checked the terms of use and found no restrictions against installing software, spyware or otherwise.

I was going to post about spyware being illegal or something like that, but then I remembered that corporations are spying on us all of the time.

Where the fuck is the government institution that I can call to go and raid their residences and offices? Oh yeah, I forgot: in our new Corporatocracy I am an ant, and they are giants.

Ants sometimes get stepped on; nobody really gives a fuck.

Re:He was surprised?! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656701)

"He checked the terms of use and found no restrictions against installing software, spyware or otherwise."

I'm sure the terms of use also don't specifically exclude smashing the equipment with a sledgehammer or peeing on it.

Cars parked in a public parking lot don't have little signs saying "please don't slash tires" or "please don't mod my engine" either. It's implicit when it isn't your property that you aren't supposed to do such things.

On top of that, the law regarding photographing people in public is pretty clear. It's okay to do so, but you need to seek permission for most types of distribution of those photos. "Art" is not a "get out of jail free" card, and any real artist should know that when it comes to exhibiting their works if the people in them are identifiable.

Re:He was surprised?! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656219)

last I checked you aren't supposed to be installing hidden spy equipment on Apple's display units.

FTFA, he checked and it was not against any TOS

And what if Apple had sold any of these display units? Then you'd have hidden spy equipment inside people's homes, snapping photos and emailing this guy.

Apple would be in more trouble than this guy if they sold a display unit without wiping the machine first.

Also I doubt he programmed in the stores hours, so you could have them snapping photos of employees before and after business was open when they do have an expectation of privacy.

How could there any expectation of privacy in the showroom when the showroom is completely surrounded by glass windows.

Re:He was surprised?! (2)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656271)

last I checked you aren't supposed to be installing hidden spy equipment on Apple's display units.

FTFA, he checked and it was not against any TOS

Not against TOS != Not against any law

Re:He was surprised?! (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656569)

FTFA, he checked and it was not against any TOS

I'm pretty sure that murder isn't specially mentioned in any TOS either. A TOS however clearly says that you must abide by "local, state, and federal laws". Installing software without permission and spying on people probably fall under government laws and not a TOS. Use some common sense.

Re:He was surprised?! (2)

MacDork (560499) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656367)

He can call it art, most human beings would call it creepy as hell, and last I checked you aren't supposed to be installing hidden spy equipment on Apple's display units.

He was just doing it as a security measure. [slashdot.org] That's all.

Re:He was surprised?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656393)

The "hidden spy equipment" was merely the webcam already present in the devices. He merely installed an app that would take pictures on an interval when someone was in front of the machine and upload it to a web server. While it's still a bit creepy, it involved no tampering with the hardware.

The article mentioned that he captured a few employees after hours, and that he had explicitly excluded those from his project because the images were not captured in a public context.

It's true that someone bringing one of those machines home would be stuck with a computer that was effectively spying on them, though I question how often an Apple store sells its display units.

I'm not sure about the implications of this project, but it seems like Apple was a bit heavy handed. The article suggested that people often took pictures in the store. It also mentioned that the store allowed anyone in the store to run just about anything on their display computers. The only thing different here is that the apps continued to run in the background. He didn't break in after hours or hack through the store's connection or anything with such cliche evil intent.

Re:He was surprised?! (2, Insightful)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656435)

He can call it art, most human beings would call it creepy as hell, and last I checked you aren't supposed to be installing hidden spy equipment on Apple's display units...

Yeah, you're right. It's so much less creepy when Google drives down every single road in existence in custom-built vans, capturing every damn thing in a 360-degree view to build a feature in maps that we never asked for in the first place.

Re:He was surprised?! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656679)

Public streets vs private property... Big difference.

Re:He was surprised?! (0)

Zemran (3101) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656555)

"and last I checked"

Where and when was this because there is no legal impediment against using a camera in a place that is open to the public and as for hidden!!! Are you really unaware that there is a camera above the screen of an Apple computer? In general you should expect a camera to be filming you in a store as most stores have cameras so it would be stupid to imply that you believe that you have an expectation of privacy. Running software on a demonstration computer? Errr, that is what they are there for...

You are right that he did not programme in the store hours but you are being picky there. Why would he? Generally, he was behaving like a college kid. Maybe he crossed a line and a policeman going round and telling him so would have been appropriate but no more. The rest is an unreasonable waste of public time and money as well as a gross infringement of his human rights. This is much more like a Soviet system than a society that respects people and supports the people.

Re:He was surprised?! (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656607)

And what if Apple had sold any of these display units? Then you'd have hidden spy equipment inside people's homes, snapping photos and emailing this guy.

I suppose the lesson there is that if you buy an ex-demo laptop - or anything else with user-modifiable software - then flatten it and reinstall as soon as you get it home.

And do that with your clothes on.

Re:He was surprised?! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656707)

He's just lazy and cheap. If he setup his own kiosk in a public place, paid for his own internet connection, and offered 15 minutes of free internet he could have captured all the faces he wanted without putting malware on Apple's computers. But that would have cost quite a bit more.

Moron (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656135)

Do you really need a law to know that this is wrong?
Just because something might be legal, doesn't mean it is right.
Change out "small Mom & Pop store" for "Apple store" and see how you feel about this guy's art project.
I don't require a law to say please and thank you, or to know that a business is a business, not a playground for your art project.

Re:Moron (2)

LourensV (856614) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656639)

I'll play devil's advocate for a bit, since most comments so far seem to boil down to "everyone involved is an idiot", "this is not art" and/or "privacy, privacy, privacy!". I do think there is some room for the opposite point of view. From reading the article (I know, I know), it seems to me that he's been thinking about privacy, the lack thereof in our modern society, and its implications, for quite a while. Moreover, he's put his money where his mouth is and experimented on himself, and writes about his experiences. It's made me think about what it would be like to be watched all the time. I'm interested in surveillance and security and these things, but I'd always thought about them in general terms and in terms of consequences to society as a whole, and not applied it so personally. So at least I learned something from this keytweeter project he describes. And I'm now wondering what I look like as I'm typing this. Is his art at the level of Van Gogh or Picasso? Probably not, but it does have social relevance going for it. And it sparked a shitstorm online, which is exactly what art is supposed to do: spark discussion and make people think. Some of the 99% who never even think about how much of their lives is watched and recorded did so now. Mission accomplished.

As for expectations of privacy: I work in a city full of tourists, and it's pretty much impossible to go anywhere in the centre without being photographed by them. Many of those photographs probably end up on the web, with at least a time tag. I'm going to be in some of them. I don't like that, but I recognise that we can't go and forbid the tourists from taking pictures and putting them online, so I'll just have to live with it. This particular Apple store had a big glass front, and plenty of people inside taking pictures of anything and everything. If I'd ended up being photographed and published on the web as part of the exhibition, I would have thought it pretty cool to be part of this. Visiting an Apple store is not typically something that people try to keep private (and doing anything private in a busy store where anyone can walk in and look over your shoulder seems rather dumb to me), and the photographs were selected by the artist, who presumably would have left out anything sensitive (and did leave out the shots of the Apple tech back in Cupertino).

In the end, in my opinion it's a somewhat interesting art project that generated some valuable discussion, and the privacy consequences are a storm in a teacup. Apparently the Secret Service agreed with at least the latter, as they gave him back his stuff and closed the investigation without charging him with anything.

Apple's now worse than Microsucks (0, Flamebait)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656157)

" the artist who had the Secret Service raid his home at the behest of Apple, who was miffed with Kyle's surreptitious capture of people's expressions as they stared at computers in Apple Stores"

Holy hell. I didn't hear this story til now, but what the HELL was Apple (and Jobs since he was still in charge) thinking? A public facility is not only forbidden from discriminating against people based on race, sex, age, et cetera, but also forbidden from blocking people from recording (with camera, audio, pen-and-paper) what they witness in plain sight.

That's it. From this point forward when I hear someone waxing beautifically about hwo "great" Apple is, I will be linking to this story. And others. To show them how tyrannical the company has truly become.

Re:Apple's now worse than Microsucks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656189)

are you nuts ? the apple store is not a public facility but a private one. if you started recording inside micro$hits store you would be kicked out too.

Re:Apple's now worse than Microsucks (4, Informative)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656245)

>>>the apple store is not a public facility but a private one

According to New York and most state laws, a private venue that has been opened to the general citizenry is no longer a private area. It is defined as a "public facility" and therefore has to abide by the state's non-discrimination, non-smoking, and other laws.

Re:Apple's now worse than Microsucks (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656297)

yeah and none of those laws give you the right to install your own equipment or your own spyware inside the facilities infrastructure. you can take pictures with your own equipment on your own person. you cant install random cameras throughout any facility you want to or bug their computers. are you retarded or just stupid ?

Re:Apple's now worse than Microsucks (1, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656461)

According to New York and most state laws, a private venue that has been opened to the general citizenry is no longer a private area. It is defined as a "public facility" and therefore has to abide by the state's non-discrimination, non-smoking, and other laws.

What? A store is private unless it is owned by government facility. Then it may be considered public. As for discrimination, by the Commerce Clause, all businesses selling to the public must abide by appropriate laws. Selling to the public does not make a private store public. That's why many stores can throw you out for having no shirt or shoes. They can't throw you out because you are not Caucasian.

Regardless, you missed the point:

  • The artist installed software without the computer owner's permission (Apple).
  • The software took pictures of people secretly.
  • The artist did not have the people's permission.

Tell me which one of the above three acts is okay with you.

Many stores that have CC recording normally have disclaimers telling you that you are being recorded. That was not this case.

Re:Apple's now worse than Microsucks (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656683)

>>>What? A store is private unless it is owned by government facility.

Well. You're wrong. There are many categories in the law, but to boil it down to the largest 3: Private, public, and public facility. "Private" is your home or business or farm. "Public" is the government which is collectively-owned by the people.

And "public facility" is a private area that has been voluntarily opened to the public, such as a store or bar or mall. It differs from a private home, because you don't have to let black people into your home. Or women. Or people under age 21. You are allowed to discriminate. BUT the moment you open the doors to everybody, such as converting your home or office into a store or restaurant, then you go from "private" to "public facility" and you are no longer allowed to refuse service.

Re:Apple's now worse than Microsucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656479)

"It is defined as a "public facility" and therefore has to abide by the state's non-discrimination, non-smoking, and other laws."

So what? It doesn't matter if it is a "public facility" (whatever the hell that means for a privately-owned business), it would not absolve a supposed "artist" from getting permission before distributing or exhibiting their artwork. In *genuine* public places, like a city street, you can photograph all you want, but if people are identifiable in the photo, you need permission to distribute (i.e. you may hold the copyright on the photo, but you can't distribute it without getting a model release [wikipedia.org] or similar waiver). There are exceptions for such things as public figures and news events, but I don't see how any of that would apply in this case. This "artist" should get his ass sued off by every person in those photos.

From the article:

"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:"

For someone who "didn't want to break the law" and supposedly read some of the guidelines regarding public photography, he sure is clueless. He ruled out "using private computers". What the hell? The fact that a computer is sitting in an ostensibly (and very debatable) "public space" does not make it a public computer in the sense that he could do whatever the hell he wanted to it.

To use the inevitable car analogy, this idiot thinks that he can open the hood of a car and mod the engine if it is sitting in a "public" parking lot, as if any piece of equipment left unattended in such a space acquires "public property" status and is something he can fiddle with as he wishes. What a moron. I suppose next he'll go to the local public park and start cutting down "public" trees.

Hello? "Public" does not mean it is your personal property.

Re:Apple's now worse than Microsucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656695)

Wrong. A store is private property. This is obvious. This guy is also a dipshit calling it art.

Re:Apple's now worse than Microsucks (1)

Zemran (3101) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656585)

The store is open to the public, they would have trouble selling to them if it was not.

Re:Apple's now worse than Microsucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656201)

The article is a bit hard to follow, but what appears to have happened is this guy asked for permission from an employee at an Apple store if he could take pictures inside the store. The employee said sure, no problem. So what does he do? He installs spyware on the demo machines inside the Apple store, which uses the built in camera to take pictures of people using the computers and uploads them to a publicly viewable web site.. Now this may have been "art", but the Secret Service called it something else. This isn't much different than installing a key logger on the machines as an "art" project (yes, "scare quotes" is intentional). Not really something good.

Re:Apple's now worse than Microsucks (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656433)

The article is a bit hard to follow, but what appears to have happened is this guy asked for permission from an employee at an Apple store if he could take pictures inside the store. The employee said sure, no problem. So what does he do? He installs spyware on the demo machines inside the Apple store, which uses the built in camera to take pictures of people using the computers and uploads them to a publicly viewable web site.. Now this may have been "art", but the Secret Service called it something else. This isn't much different than installing a key logger on the machines as an "art" project (yes, "scare quotes" is intentional). Not really something good.

Yes. This is 'art' like Christo's [wikipedia.org] stuff is art. The main difference is that Christo has managed a reputation and hired his own lawyers to invade public and private spaces. As TFA pointed out artists often like to push the envelope to get people to notice. Well, he certainly did that..... Careful what you ask for, you just might get it.

Re:Apple's now worse than Microsucks (1)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656471)

Now this may have been "art", but the Secret Service called it something else.

No, they didn't. They investigated for some time and found no evidence of any law being breached. That's why the guy wasn't prosecuted. It's in TFA.

Re:Apple's now worse than Microsucks (4, Insightful)

hmbcarol (937668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656207)

Of course you can use YOUR own personal camera to record people in public. But you have no right to take over and use Apple's display computer cameras and use it to record people and upload to the web. This wasn't art, it was rude. We decry the loss of privacy in this country and yet when it's done for "art" some people are shocked that anybody could be upset.

Re:Apple's now worse than Microsucks (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656265)

Well yes. Obviously vandalizing the store's equipment is a crime. The guy should have been forced to pay the store's fees to wipe the Macs clean.

Nevertheless there are still TONS of articles I can link to about Apple's recent bad behavior. Just yesterday there was an article about Apple telling store owners to stop selling Samsung phones. Where do they get off doing that???

Re:Apple's now worse than Microsucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656315)

what has "apples recent bad behavior" have anything to do with the topic under discussion ? stop deflecting.
you can point to micro$hits long history of bad behavior and sony's rootkits as more examples of corporate bad behavior. it has nothing to do with this discussion. he was in the wrong, did \some breaking and entering of apples private property and got a minor bitchslap. end of discussion.

Re:Apple's now worse than Microsucks (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656419)

We decry the loss of privacy in this country and yet when it's done for "art" some people are shocked that anybody could be upset.

It is a poignant question, isn't it? You have done a good job with the above statement of pointing out the hypocrisy from one perspective. Another worth a bit of exploration is the legal perspective.

Cell phones, network providers, and cloud services spy on people's most intimate activities, even when they have a far more reasonable expectation of privacy than people in a retail store, yet the law ignores them. This guy does it and calls it "art", and the law sees him (at the behest of one of the most powerful oligarchs) as deserving of Secret Service investigation.

I think both are wrong; this for-art spy and the for-profit spies. I think that they both deserve to be investigated, with the amount of federal investigative resources applied being in direct proportion to the number of people spied upon. If the law holds Verizon blameless for tracking me everywhere I go and recording every website I visit, but it brings in the Secret Service over a few photographs of people in a retail store, there is something going wrong. There is a red flag here and it is our duty as citizens to get on our soapboxes and bring it to the government's attention.

Re:Apple's now worse than Microsucks (1)

Zemran (3101) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656619)

Although I agree that it was rude and morally wrong, I cannot accept that the SS were a reasonable response. He was just behaving like a college kid and a beat officer (sorry, that shows my age) would have been an appropriate response. Have a word with him rather than waste thousands of $$$ on something that would not run against a good lawyer. I think he must have snapped someone with their mistress and the wife saw it.

Re:Apple's now worse than Microsucks (4, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656267)

1) The Apple Store is not a "public facility" it is private property.

2) he wasn't using his own equipment, he was installing software on Apple's machines.

3) Apple doesn't "forbid" you from using your own cameras and recording equipment in their stores to "record what they witness in plain sight", it just frowns on you effectively installing hidden cameras to capture people's images without them knowing.

Yes, highly "tyrannical" of a private business deciding that installing hidden camera and spyware software on computers owned by them in a place of business owned/rented by them without asking permission (of either Apple or the unsuspecting customers) and trying to handwave it away with a "it's not mentioned that this sort of behaviour is explicitly forbidden therefore it's ok" was something it was not happy about.

Mmm. I'm sure Apple is quaking in its boots that an Apple hater is thinks their decision to put a stop to a guy secretly recording its customers using its own display computers with spyware is a bad one.

Re:Apple's now worse than Microsucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656537)

People don't EXPECT privacy at an Apple Store.

How many people log into Facebook and such on Apple Store computers?? For all anybody knows Apple is key logging and screenshoting everything you do!

Besides, is this seriously a privacy issue? He's not collecting personal info, just pictures. It's not like security companies are not out there RIGHT NOW trying to te store security cams to your personal info.

This is a harmless kids prank... Move along....

Re:Apple's now worse than Microsucks (0)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656561)

People don't EXPECT privacy at an Apple Store.

How many people log into Facebook and such on Apple Store computers?? For all anybody knows Apple is key logging and screenshoting everything you do!

Besides, is this seriously a privacy issue? He's not collecting personal info, just pictures. It's not like security companies are not out there RIGHT NOW trying to te store security cams to your personal info.

This is a harmless kids prank... Move along....

Wow.

I'm not even... I don't know... the stupid... it burns...

Re:Apple's now worse than Microsucks (1, Insightful)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656673)

Naw, Apple isn't quaking in their boots.

They should be nervous, though, that people are more and more noticing the subtle stench that they emit.

Re:Apple's now worse than Microsucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656675)

"1) The Apple Store is not a "public facility" it is private property."

Just because something is privately owned, doesn't mean it can't be a public space. The Apple store is open to the public, so it is a public facility.

Re:Apple's now worse than Microsucks (0)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656279)

Wow. Somebody really wants to start posting at +2. Heh.

Re:Apple's now worse than Microsucks (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Crobar (1143477) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656325)

That's it. From this point forward when I hear someone waxing beautifically about hwo "great" Apple is, I will be linking to this story. And others. To show them how tyrannical the company has truly become.

Ok, I'm with you on the privacy thing. You know Apple has security cameras at their stores, so there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. But take a minute and think about what this guy did - he wrote literal spyware. Specifically, he wrote a program, secretly installed it on a computer he didn't own and used that program to relay information back to him. If he did that at my office, on my equipment (ok, the company equipment) I'd lose my mind. I'd call the the cops, FBI, and yeah, sure, the secret service.

Wired, you suck. I think this guy did some creepy, messed up stuff and you gave him a free pass because it was in the name of "art" and you can sell magazines by dumping on [Apple/HP/Microsoft]. Let's pick his brain for a moment:

The next week, I got some pings from Apple in Cupertino. I looked through the logs and tried to reconstruct what was happening. I saw a few pings from one computer, a few from another. Sometimes multiple copies of the app were running. I even had a vague sense of when they took their lunch break.

What if this guy wasn't an artist? What if worked for a competitor who was trying to get a headcount at a certain store? Would that change the story? I love art as much as the next man, and sure, it's an interesting idea, but the but the guy has earned what he's received.

And he bought another apple... (0)

oic0 (1864384) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656165)

At first when I started reading this, the most bothersome thing was he didnt seem aware of the greatest invention ever. Air conditioning. Later in the article I discovered he must also not be aware of PCs as he immediately ordered another Apple after Apple had the secret service barge into his house and steal all his apples.

Re:And he bought another apple... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656209)

i got sick after eating burger king once, i still go. story has nothing to do about his computer of preference.

Re:And he bought another apple... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656311)

Artists are usually too pretentious to use anything other than Apple products

it's an overreaction, for sure (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656223)

but you are kind of a dick if you transgress against people by taking unauthorized pictures of them with equipment that isn't yours and then using the pictures without their permission

so i'm not very sympathetic to the stalkerific "artist"

but i'm sure we'll see a lot of comments here about the violations of the federal government in this situation, completely ignoring the violations committed by this douchebag

Re:it's an overreaction, for sure (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656519)

As an avid fan of "people doing what's right", I find I can't really support anybody in this case.

The artist (yeah, I'll grant him the liberal use of the term, and give him the freedom to declare his work as art) should have considered the effect of his work on others... not just the final product, but the production. He could have worked with the store to come to a mutually-acceptable agreement, he could have staged the pictures with actual models making the expressions seen in the surreptitious photos, or he could have conveyed his message (whatever that may be) in another medium that doesn't involve as much disrespect for the people and organizations involved.

Apple, once offended, could have sent a letter, or a lawyer, a C&D notice, or maybe just shoot for a restraining order against the artist ever entering their stores again. To draw in the federal government to raid the guy's house? That's pretty extreme. It's so extreme that I wonder if there's more to this story than we're being told. I mean, it makes sense in a jumping-to-conclusions sort of way. The guy installed his own application onto every computer in a store, without management approval. That's malicious activity, and could be construed as a target malware attack.

Apple's supposed to be a computer company, though. would it have really been so hard to look at the program and see what it did? Maybe send the guy a final picture of the manager holding a note reading "We're uninstalling your program; don't ever set foot in here again", and be done with it? They instead chose to go straight to the nuclear option.

Good job, everyone involved. You've disgusted a very patient and accepting person. I hope you are all happy with yourselves.

Re:it's an overreaction, for sure (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656529)

you're right, every actor in this situation is basically a douchebag apocalypse: everyone violating everyone else

Re:it's an overreaction, for sure (3, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656645)

Apple, once offended, could have sent a letter, or a lawyer, a C&D notice, or maybe just shoot for a restraining order against the artist ever entering their stores again.

So Apple is to investigate why secret software was installed on their computers? Or would they do as any other company and call the authorities and let them deal with it. After the fact, we know he was just an artist but Apple (and more importantly the Secrete Service) couldn't have known that. Why was the Secret Service involved? I suppose this fell under their jurisdiction and not the FBI.

To draw in the federal government to raid the guy's house? That's pretty extreme. It's so extreme that I wonder if there's more to this story than we're being told. I mean, it makes sense in a jumping-to-conclusions sort of way. The guy installed his own application onto every computer in a store, without management approval. That's malicious activity, and could be construed as a target malware attack.

You make it sound like Apple championed a raid. I'm pretty sure that the government decided on that course of action without Apple's opinion. Apple reported the issue and the Secret Service took it from there. Also remember at the time, other than the artist, no one at the Secret Service or Apple could be sure of the intent of this malware.

Apple's supposed to be a computer company, though. would it have really been so hard to look at the program and see what it did? Maybe send the guy a final picture of the manager holding a note reading "We're uninstalling your program; don't ever set foot in here again", and be done with it? They instead chose to go straight to the nuclear option.

Again Apple is not a computer crimes investigative company. There are specialized companies and agencies for that. And again, they informed the authorities who took it from there. Apple is not responsible for the actions of the authorities.

Re:it's an overreaction, for sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656539)

So you've answered the question: "Do you trust Apple taking pictures of you and monitoring your actions in their store, as opposed to an individual doing the same thing". It is clear you don't like what he did and truth is that I don't like it much either. His project does, however, make me think about expectation of privacy. I have a much higher expectation than is probably realistic, which is why I am uncomfortable with his project.

Today the context has changed in that companies are now tracking your every financial transaction, e-mail, twitter, on-line post, location, etc. They are all douchebags and we're all affected unless protected by the laws in our coutry. After all, the companies including Apple, Google, and Facebook won't change voluntarily.

Re:it's an overreaction, for sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656583)

I agree is kind of dickish.

In the US, I've learned to fear almost anything. I like to take pictures, but I'm afraid that at some point I'm taking pictures of someone, probably a kid in the park, and I get cops and everyone on my back because they think I'm a creep or a pedophile. Now, I really wonder how famous pictures of people were taken, and if every single journalist ever have to ask permission to all the people in their pictures. Why is it different from the others.

So, while this was abusive, there's also... is it proper to take pictures of people anymore? Even at public places? Just wondering.

So much stupidity (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656255)

It is hard to lay blame on just one party here because all of them are stupid. The "artist", Apple, and the SS - each stupid in their own stupid way.

Blatant waste of tax payers money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656263)

Isn't this blatant wasting of tax payers money? Clearly secret service was involved because of a) pressured by Apple lobbyists, or b) their buds in Government made it to act for "the good" of their corporate overlords.

Re:Blatant waste of tax payers money (4, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656491)

Isn't this blatant wasting of tax payers money? Clearly secret service was involved because of a) pressured by Apple lobbyists, or b) their buds in Government made it to act for "the good" of their corporate overlords.

As the TFA points out, the Secret Service performed an investigation. That is, somebody thought something was weird, it got bounced up the chain to a couple of field agents who acted professionally, even displayed a teensy tiny bit of humor ("We're from the FBI, maam, we don't have a sense of humor that we are aware of.") and compassion, spent some time and in the end, decided it wasn't a big deal. Remember, these guys didn't know what goofball artiste was up to. They just got a report of somebody installing what literally amounts to spyware on private computers.

If somebody did that where I work, you can bet there would be a bunch of people both in uniform and plainclothes wandering about asking pointed questions.

If anything, this reaffirms my (very limited) faith in the system. Nobody called in the SWAT team. Nobody went to jail. Yes, people were inconvenienced, but that happens every day around rush hour. Money was spent. In retrospect they didn't really need to do that, but that is what is great about hindsight.

The guy essentially installed malware/spyware (5, Interesting)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656337)

He basically installed malware/spyware onto Apple store computer and he calls that "art". Are botnets just another form of "expression"? Give me a break. There was not permission from the store owners and no informed consent from the subjects. The guy is creepy as hell.

Re:The guy essentially installed malware/spyware (1, Interesting)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656631)

He's creepy as hell, but the fact that Apple chose to trump him with their own creepy behavior isn't comforting. There were many other means at their disposal to deal with the issue, that they chose to call up a Secret Police organization is sorta telling.

New Response When The SS Comes A-Knockin' (3, Funny)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656357)

Oh... hi guys. The whorehouse is just down the street.

They'll taze you, but it'll have been worth it.

Non-issue. (0)

midmopub (922286) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656377)

It is legal to take your picture inside a public business without your knowledge. See security camera's in nearly every business. It is legal to take pictures of the public without knowledge and no expectation of privacy by a private 3rd party. Why is this an issue at all? Seems like a huge waste of resources to me.

Re:Non-issue. (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656535)

It is legal to take your picture inside a public business without your knowledge. See security camera's in nearly every business.

I believe by law any place that has CC recording must disclaim that you are being recorded inside the place of business, thus it isn't without your knowledge. As for outside security cameras, that problem falls into public view. If you are in public view, you have no expectation of privacy.

It is legal to take pictures of the public without knowledge and no expectation of privacy by a private 3rd party.

If you are in the public view. This was inside an Apple store. There is some expectation of privacy

Why is this an issue at all? Seems like a huge waste of resources to me.

An unknown person installed software on Apple computers without their knowledge or approval. The software took pictures secretly of people. The software uploaded the images to an outside server. So unauthorized access to someone's computer and spying are not big issues to you?

Apple discovering the software alerted the authorities. The government agency that investigated this unknown threat was the Secret Service. I'm not sure of the responsibility was theirs or the FBI. Since it was unknown who did this or why, it was probably assumed to be the worst and that there was some sort of imminent security risk. The Secret Service then found the individual and investigated him. They questioned him and seized his computers.

I really wasn't expecting the Secret Service (1)

Noxal (816780) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656413)

NOBODY expects the Secret Service!

Things (0)

jvin248 (1147821) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656417)

The guy shouldn't have been recording people. however a few worrisome things about this is that

Count the number of video cameras that Apple is already recording people with in their stores. It's not just used for security/theft, they also use it to mine shopper behaviors - spying on you to figure out how to better sell to you. So there is some dude in a back room looking at you - yes you - as you go about your random shopper tactics. Maybe even using those very same computers they sell. This happens all over.

The other worrisome item is how Apple got the SS involved. Of course, since Apple is just a corporation, it's subject to a few bad years of mismanagement that will have taken care of themselves and righted the world in the process.

"Radical Openess" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656429)

He apparently embraced this fully and it led him to doing the photo experiment..
Maybe if he were focused on giving people Freedom he could have found something that didn't involve spying on people on computers running non-Free software?

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html

An overreach of the law (0)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656441)

I really dislike when corporations decide to abuse the law like this. It makes my view of Apple even more cynical. And I've bought precisely three Apple products in my lifetime and that will be ALL I buy. For example, when I was in the market for a new phone I eschewed the iPhone, not for it's alleged technical superiority - but for the fact you can't EASILY replace the battery and you have to use the craptastic dock connector as opposed to mine USB on the Android phones. And I'll be in the market for a new PC soon. I can tell you it definitely won't be an Apple product.

Re:An overreach of the law (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656687)

I really dislike when corporations decide to abuse the law like this. It makes my view of Apple even more cynical.

Please describe what abuse has occurred. Apple detected a computer intrusion at their stores. The software was being used to secretly record people and upload images to an outside server. Apple reported it to the authorities who happen to be the Secret Service. The Secret Service investigated. They questioned the individual and confiscated his computers. Please tell me how any of this is abusing the law.

Why the secret service? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656473)

I have no problem with this guy burning, but why isn't it the local police (or even the FBI) knocking on his door? Why is the secret service? From their website, they have a two-fold mission: investigating issues of treasury (including fraud, etc), and protecting American and foreign officials...where does violating wiretapping laws fit into this?

Not your computer, so don't fuck with it. (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656477)

You don't own that physical object, therefore not yours to play with.

Just show me the damned pictures (1)

dsmithhfx (1772254) | more than 2 years ago | (#40656527)

Not these wishy-washy, lame watercolors. I'm really disappointed in Wired magazine.

Photography irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656591)

Installing software on a machine without the permission of the owner and which performs a background task on behalf of the installer is spyware. This is hacking regardless of how the software is installed (i.e. direct access to the machine) or what the law says about taking photos in the store.

So, Apple lets store patrons have superuser? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40656671)

Guy was creepy, but the question in my mind is how could he install software on a publicly accessible host?

Is it the case that you can't even lock down a mac to the pathetic level you can lock down a windows host? Or is Apple just stupid, and gives all store patrons super user privs?

I think there is a bit of blame to go around here. If this guy could install his software, who knows how many keyloggers and such are being installed in Apple stores that are NOT just creepy art projects.

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