We’re Watching You (On Our Stolen Computer)

When a resident of the United Kingdom got his laptop stolen, he utilized the app, Hidden App and was surprised by the location of his laptop. It was in Tehran, Iran. What was interesting about this app is that it can take pictures of the person using the computer and also screen shots of the computer to see what they were doing online on their computer. What was troubling about this though is that although there was legitimate proof that this couple had a stolen computer, there was nothing they could do about it because it was out of the U.K.’s jurisdiction.

To make light of the situation, Del Torto made a Tumblr of the pictures he was taking of the people using his computer. He was watching everything they did on his computer. There’s even a picture of them playing Jenga when their computer was open. Talk about an invasion of privacy without any defense on account of the fact the computer was stolen.

In an interesting twist to this story, the laptop owner told the couple in Tehran to keep the computer as an apology for posting pictures of them online. The photos are now removed. What interested me in this article was something that we touched in last class about cybercrime. Even though with increasing technology, it is easier than ever to find people doing these crimes, when they are outside of the jurisdiction of a certain government, it isn’t useful. What also is a reoccurring theme in our class is the double-edged sword of technology. It can easily be used to convict people of crime when they document their criminal activities. It worked out for both sides in this particular case but will new criminal laws be enacted for the increasing international cybercrime? It seems unlikely, judging from the difficult nature of international legislation. 

I researched more apps that can be used to fight crime and I also saw an app from New York that can be used to report crime instead of calling. It creates a middle man for the crime so that identity of the caller is protected for people who are intimidated or afraid of reporting crime and the repercussions. Is technology making crimes and criminal activity worse or better. It seems to be doing both in my opinion. Creating more crime while simultaneously finding ways to stop them. What is a deterrent however is something that is prolific in the business world. It is not always more profitable to do good. 


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7 thoughts on “We’re Watching You (On Our Stolen Computer)

  1. This post strongly relates to a number of our different class discussions. Cyber security, as we clearly saw during our last class, is a serious problem. The case you posted about is strong example of this while also showing a way for the victims of such crimes to fight back. This is kind of a reassuring perspective on such crimes after seeing all the ways that cyber criminals can invade our lives and exploit our weaknesses.

    You also expose the major problem of international laws and criminals who cross borders. As Professor Kane mentioned in class, it is virtually impossible for law enforcement to track down these criminals once they leave the country. The video you posted, again, shows a way for us potential victims to surpass the deficiencies in the law. I really like your last example of the app that creates a middleman in reporting crimes. As difficult as it is to point the finger, hopefully this will encourage more people to come forward, even if it is in secret.

    I am a little confused about how the video you posted relates to the story you discuss in the opening paragraphs in this blog, (are those completely different cases altogether?) but this generally has a lot of good content and strong relation to class discussion.

  2. I found this story very interesting. It is comforting to know that technology can be on “the good guy’s” side in some cases, helping us to catch the criminals out there. This is especially comforting in light of the events that happened at the Boston Marathon today. We can work together as a community, using technology, to help prevent crime and punish those who commit it. I think this is a great attribute of the world technology is creating. While you mentioned a double-edged sword aspect, I feel that this topic is mostly positive. I think the world will truly benefit from the ways in which we can be protected from those who are trying to harm others through the innovation of technology. I also enjoyed the video. It was a great real-life example of how technology can catch the criminal. The old “cops and robbers” game can now be played on a computer. However, I was a little bit confused about how the video related to your story about the couple in Tehran. I definitely see the connection but I couldn’t tell if you were trying to show two different examples or if you were confusing the two. Overall though, great topic and highly relative to class.

  3. Great Post! With what we talked about regarding the security problems with technology, this article ties in very well. What I believe ultimately is to educate the public more about Internet as a community similar to our neighborhood, workplace or school.

    There is no doubt that as advance technology usage become easier to use that more advance and new ways of crime can be committed, I believe it is more importnat to teach the people of how to properly use the great gift of the internet etc.

    Just like in our neighborhood, we will not do things to harm others; this is the lesson that is to be taught to more individuals. only when that happens will we be able to help prevent many cyber crime.

    In relation to your last post regarding regulation, there is this international cybercrime prevention pact between many prominent nations at the moment. If you want to know more you can check the below link.


  4. It’s staggering how little control our government has to police criminal activity if it’s outside of their jurisdiction simply because their laws regarding technology are different. However what scared me the most about this blog was the fact that Del Torto could take photos of the people who stole his computer without them knowing. If he could take photos of them, can’t criminals take photos of us? Sometimes when I’m on my computer I think about the possibility of someone looking at me through my webcam but I always thought it was impossible. Now I know it’s not which is absolutely terrifying! Great Post!

  5. Great post! It really connected the ideas we have been discussing in class to an event that could possibly happen to one of us. I enjoyed your use of video and photos in your post. It’s scary to know that not only can this happen to us, it is also extremely difficult to have anything be done about it. Reading Jessica’s comment, it is scary to think that someone could possibly be watching you or taking pictures of you with your laptop. Even though this app was used to help the owner find their computer, it could also be used to invade the privacy of many victims.

  6. This is a great article that relates to a huge issue in our ever-developing world. On one hand, we have a technology able to capture the culprit of a stolen computers actions along with what he has accessed. On the other hand, it is simply this easy to monitor one’s computer or watch what someone is doing. It makes me really think that as I type this in my dorm room, anyone can be watching me at this moment. There are hackers, criminals, or government agents who consistently access American computers. It will be interesting to see how the laws regarding the internet and cyberspace will follow this emerging technology. Great post!

  7. A really interesting post! Device theft is a major concern for corporations given the risk of having sensitive and/or proprietary information exposed to the public. From that perspective, the shift of storing data on cloud servers seems even more appealing. Not only is data access more convenient for employees, but the risk of information exposure is also reduced.

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