Buro Frank


Data Reenactment: Street View video from a stolen phone (by Brian House)

My close friend and collaborator, Sue, had her iPhone stolen earlier this month. The thief had it for 5 days, after which he ransomed it back to her. In the meantime, he had it with him as he drove around LA, presumably looking for other opportunities to be an asshole.

Our phones, clearly, are really personal devices. When we talk about personal data, the mobile phone is as physical an embodiment of this as anything, a data-sensory appendage if you will. What does it mean, then, when we’ve been separated from the device? It feels like identity theft as much as the loss of valuable electronics.

So when Sue got it back, she felt a bit estranged from it. We wondered about the life her device had had away from her, which led her to use OpenPaths to take a look at where it had been. Sure enough, the thief’s home and haunts were pretty readily identifiable.


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    As my last post demonstrates, the info supplied from the tracker app needs to be treated with a pinch of salt.
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