Artist Investigated for Secretly Photographing Apple Store Patrons

By Olivia Scheck on July 8, 2011 6:53pm 

Kyle McDonald staged an unauthorized exhibition of the photos that he was collecting of Apple customers - on the same computers he used to take them.
Kyle McDonald staged an unauthorized exhibition of the photos that he was collecting of Apple customers - on the same computers he used to take them.
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Flickr/Kyle McDonald

MANHATTAN â€” An artist is being investigated by the Secret Service after he allegedly hacked into computers at two Manhattan Apple stores and installed a computer program that snapped thousands of pictures of customers.

Kyle McDonald allegedly infiltrated the 14th Street and SoHo Apple stores over three days in June, installing software that would automatically photograph Apple patrons as they stared into the display computers, according to the social media website Mashable.com.

McDonald, who does not work for Apple, allegedly used the software to save the photos from the Apple stores onto his own computer, then uploaded them to his Tumblr blog.

On July 3rd, he staged a rogue exhibition inside the two Apple stores in which he broadcast the secretly-snapped images of customers on computers throughout the store, according to a video of the project on his website, which he called "People Staring at Computers."

"I've been thinking about how we stare at computers… and about how our computers see us," McDonald wrote in the video.

"Over three days I took a thousand photos using computers around nyc. maybe if we could see what our computer sees we would stare differently."

The U.S. Secret Service confirmed Friday that they had launched an investigation into the art project. Mashable reported that Secret Service workers confiscated two computers, an iPod and two flash drives from McDonald's home Thursday morning.

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