Apple sics Secret Service on artist for demonstrating demo computers in Apple Store

Don't use our computers for what you want; use them for what we say

More evidence Apple is Big Brother, not the insurgency:

New York artist Kyle McDonald likes to use candid photos of people as part of his art, and he's willing to be mildly inappropriate to get them.

During three days in June McDonald set up Macs in two New York Apple stores to take webcam photos of people as they looked at the machines for the first time.

The store wiped all the apps every night, so he had to reinstall it every day, after copying out the photos while "testing" the machine.

Apple found out about it after McDonald set up an unauthorized, impromptu exhibition by uploading the photos to Tumblr, then going to a store on West 14th St. and pointing machines to the exhibit.

Apple was not amused.

It called the U.S. Secret Service screaming computer fraud (which, unless McDonald was only pretending to take the photos, or Apple was only pretending not to be an Evil Empiric dictatorship, doesn't apply at all).

The Secret Service took time away from its efforts to protect the president and track down counterfeiters to visit McDonals and take away his computers and flash drives.

McDonald called the Electronic Frontier Foundation for advice and help.

It told him to quit tweeting about the bust and stay quiet.

You cross Steve Jobs...that may be the last thing you ever cross...

Meanwhile British users are complaining that Apple has begun filtering messages sent via its MobileMe email service. It started filtering inbound messages last year to cut down on spam and phishing.

It began filtering outbound messages for reasons that are apparently political, not risque, which is the excuse Apple gives for most of its censorship in the iOS apps market.

Applehas not commented, so if there's an innocent explanation, as TheReg suggests, Apple has done nothing to bring it to light.

Fortunately, ITworld blogger and all-around mensch Chris Nerney has provided the innocent explanation:

Apple said it started filtering outbound mail to cut down on outbound spam and sometimes the spam filters may block something legitimate by mistake, the Apple spokesflak told Nerney. Apple encourages irate users to contact it to figure out how to filter outbound mail more effectively.

So go ahead. It sounds innocent.

But call Nerney, not me, when the Secret Service comes knocking at your door.

(Here's the video McDonald put together of his photos.)

People Staring at Computers from Kyle McDonald on Vimeo.

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