Apple made full use of its power as a company after artist Kyle McDonald installed a program on computers in two different Apple Stores in the city of New York. As Mashable reports, the result of his actions is that his personal computers have been seized by the Secret Service. The program he installed would take a picture of users of the computer every minute, and his reasoning? He wanted to observe how other people view and use computers.
It is usual for the Apple Stores to wipe their display computers each night, and as a result, McDonald had to reinstall the program at the two locations daily. When he had the images he required for his project, he chose to upload them to a Tumblr blog. He then set up an exhibition on Sunday, July 3rd. At the exhibition people were able to see pictures of themselves - and nobody was reported to have made a fuss or complained. During the course of his rather unique project, McDonald had roughly 100 different computers running the program at one time, discovering that Apple monitor their store's network traffic.
McDonald received an image from Cupertino itself, where Apple is headquartered. The image showed an Apple technician using the computer and he assumed that Apple themselves had no real issue with the program as it appears they installed it themselves. He was proved wrong in this assumption after four members of the Secret Service contacted him at his home in Brooklyn, with a search warrant for 'computer fraud'. They confiscated two computers, an iPod and two USB memory sticks, telling him that Apple would contact him at a later date.
Kyle McDonald possesses a master's degree in electronic arts and admits the project may make some people uncomfortable. However, he said also that if someone contacted him and requested the removal of their photograph he would oblige them. He also attained permission from security guards at the stores in order to take photographs and asked the permission of customers in order to also take photographs. If he had not received permission from both parties he claims he would not have proceeded with his project. He believes he has not violated any laws in the United States by attempting this project. In addition, Kyle has uploaded a video to Vimeo about his project.