What it’s like to be the Google | Spy on someone


The Owner becomes the Google

What if you could be Google for a day? What if you could track a mobile phone user where ever they went, watch video from the camera and listen to audio from the mic? What if you could see everything that was going on an Android phone that, ‘belonged’ to someone else?

After my phone got stolen, I quickly realized just how much of my personal information and data the thief had instantly obtained. So, I let another phone get stolen. This time my phone was pre-programmed with spyware so I could keep tabs on the thief in order to get to know him. However, to what extent is it possible to truly get to know someone by going through the content of their phone?

In the Netherlands, 300 police reports a week are filed for smartphone-theft. Besides losing your expensive device, a stranger has access to all of your photos, videos, e-mails, messages and contacts.

Yet, what kind of person steals a phone? And where do stolen phones eventually end up?

The short documentary ‘Find My Phone’ follows a stolen phone’s second life by means of using spyware.

-Anthony Vandermeer

The Hook

Vandermeer spoke with the Developer of Cerebrus and had him change the name of the application and place it on the Android system partition so that if the thief wiped the device, the spyware would still be resident and active. He then got some help to lock out the system update function so the application couldn’t be removed. Then he set it out for someone to steal…and documented the results in a ~30 minute short film.


Also published on Medium.

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