NY artist Kyle McDonald was naive when interpreting the laws of public photography, according to The Guardian, when he installed a program that takes a photo of users every minute on about 100 computers in two NY Apple stores and then posted the photos on his blog. McDonald thought his project, which captured people’s expressions as they used computers, was legal, tweeting, “As I understand, photography in open spaces is legal unless explicitly prohibited.” However, it is questionable if the Apple stores are considered “open spaces.”
The Apple in-store security didn’t have a system in place to protect the computers from outside programs like McDonald’s. The computers were wiped of all information every night, but McDonald reinstalled the program every morning. The Secret Service has since confiscated two of his computers, his iPod and two flash drives and a police investigation is pending.
This is interesting. Since with our research we have to get any documentation cleared by ethics. I wonder if Apple instead of Kyle had put the program on the computers which side of the debate this would fall on. Since privacy of the patron is not a concern for a company but the control of their space.
Especially, since google+ TOS has caused some ripples because there was a brief flame on the interwebs regarding the posting photos on g+ meant that google owned them and could distribute them. It was later clarified that post that set off the flame was targeted specifically at professional photographers. Does bring it back to what is the expectation and definition of ”privacy” in a space that caters to the public?