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Artist Kyle McDonald on how an Apple Store art project led to a Secret Service investigation

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Kyle McDonald recounts how his art project, which involved capturing the images of people looking at Apple Store computers using custom software, led to investigation by the Secret Service.

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In 2011, artist Kyle McDonald launched a quest to capture expressionless faces, the kind people adopt while staring at a computer screen. After resolving what he thought were all the legal issues regarding his project, he installed a program on public computers at a New York Apple Store, capturing still images of customers looking at the products. But unbeknownst to him, Apple was looking back. The company called the Secret Service, which investigated McDonald under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. McDonald escaped prosecution, but his piece became a flashpoint for discussions about privacy, law, and the nature of art. McDonald has recounted the full story of People Staring at Computers at Wired; it's well worth it to read the whole thing.