Wednesday, December 21, 2016

SPOTTED | Student filmmaker spies on thief who stole his smartphone for documentary

What happens to a stolen smartphone after the theft?

This was mainly what was in mind of a young filmmaker in Amsterdam who  produced a short documentary about the life of a smartphone thief. There's a catch though; unless the sim card is destroyed or the phone is reset, the documentary about this thief's life continues. 

All student filmmaker Anthony van der Meer needed to do were to bug his smartphone, wait for it to be stolen, and eventually, monitor the thief.

Image Screenshot: Find my Phone - Subtitled (Short Film)

For this documentary, der Meer intentionally had his smartphone stolen. Before the theft took place, the smartphone was loaded with a bugging software Cerberus whichs gave the young docu maker access to his  stolen device's location and information which include new messages and contacts added. The app alsoo allowed der Meer to have sort of control over its camera and microphone through WiFi access.

The actual theft wasn't documented due to unforeseen circumstances. However, for two weeks, der Meer spied on the thief. He compiled the details and clips and then made these into the short film seen below called "Find My Phone - Subtitled".

Video Courtesy: Youtube channel Anthony van der Meer

Since December 13, the film has already reached 4.1 million views.

Although it's not that normal a theme to take center stage in short films and documentaries, I find this really interesting. Getting to know a thief through surveillance technology, although it somewhat bypasses privacy, is actually an out-of-the-box way of crafting a film project dedicated towards

But, if you were to be asked, was it really a good idea to conduct such snooping? For me, it was quite justifiable. The clip did tell us something about the thief's life. In fact, it gave us a sneak peek of the type of person this man is, only to realize in the end that what we see or hear through a smartphone may or may not be what is real.

In der Meer's words, "suddenly, I had made eye contact with the thief. In front of me was a completely different person than I imagined. Nothing was left of the sad, kind man I thought I knew. I realized that the bond I thought I had built with him was merely one-sided. The aggressive attitude and the smell of hasj that surrounded him, made it clear to me; I don't know this man in front of me after all."