Watch: Film Student Tricks Criminal into Stealing His Phone, Makes a Movie
Ever wondered what happens to your phone after it gets stolen?
When Dutch film student Anthony van der Meer had his iPhone stolen over lunch, he experienced that sense of indignation familiar to anyone who's had something important stolen. ("That's mine! You can't just take it!") But instead of high-tailing it to the Apple Store to replace his device, van der Meer had a better idea: What if he launched a vigilante investigation into the lives of phone criminals?
Van der Meer installed Cerberus in his decoy phone, an app that cannot be erased from the system, allowing van der Meer to access files remotely and discreetly activate the phone's camera and microphone. Over two weeks, van der Meer followed the thief who took the bait as he wandered around Amsterdam, documenting his every move—and eventually confronting him face-to-face.
The result of his investigation is a 22-minute documentary called Find My Phone, equal parts mystery-thriller and disturbing commentary on technological surveillance.
A similar film called My Burglar and I was created by Kaweh Modiri in 2010, when the SXSW filmmaker 's laptop was stolen, coincidentally also in the Netherlands.