Photo taken by Hidden App on Joshua Kaufman’s stolen laptop. Posted to his blog, This Guy Has My MacBook.
“On March 21, 2011, my MacBook was stolen from my apartment in Oakland, CA.”
So begins the Tumbler page of Joshua Kaufman, a play-by-play timeline of how he used an app called Hidden to track his MacBook, take pictures of the thief, and ultimately bring it back under his possession more than a month later, on June 1.
Hidden is a product of Flipcode LTD, which bills the app as “The most advanced theft-tracking software for your Mac.” For $15, users can install the app. When tracking is activated, Hidden will locate your laptop anywhere on the planet, use the webcam to take photos of whoever has it in their possession, and can also take screen shots of the computer in use.
As Kaufman’s dramatic episode displays, Hidden gives Mac owners some recourse in the event their devices are stolen. In his Tumbler blog, called This Guy Has My MacBook, Kaufman describes how he reported it to the Oakland Police but that they were unable to track the laptop down because they lacked resources. Even when he showed them the pictures, it seemed that Kaufman’s laptop was too small and item to devote much time too.
But when Kaufman posted the potential thief’s pictures on his Tumbler blog and began sending them out on Twitter, along with periodic updates, his campaign to retrieve the laptop took on the role of a PR blitz. This Guy has My MacBook went viral on Twitter and was Tweeted and Retweeted thousands of times. Eventually the media caught on:
“Late Tuesday afternoon, I received a call from Officer Joshi of the Oakland Police Department after she was contacted by Good Morning America. She told me that the Oakland Police Department would be following up on my case immediately,” according to the blog.
The thief was arrested shortly thereafter, and Kaufman’s PR blitz has made the rounds in prominent media.
I’m sure Hidden is thankful for that.