An Iranian family has been left "mortified" after a series of photos spying on them at home went viral online, following the attempts of a London man to retrieve his stolen MacBook Pro.
In February, animator Dom Del Torto had his iPad and MacBook stolen from his flat in North London, but prior to the incident he had installed the app known as Hidden on his laptop. The application tracks the location of a stolen item and sends photographs via the front camera to the original owner, helping them identify the perpetrator and retrieve the device.
A month after his Apple wares were stolen, Hidden kicked into life on the MacBook, notifying Del Torto by email that the device was now in Tehran while filtering through images of the new owners.
The unassuming family were apparently oblivious their new laptop had been stolen a month earlier, but keen to track his pricey possession Del Torto had posted the photos on a Tumblr page, titled 'Dom’s laptop is in Iran.'
But after various sites and national press including The Telegraph picked up on the story and reposted photos (below, originally un-pixellated) of the Tehran owners in different poses around their home, the shocked Iranians became aware of their slice of fame and contacted Del Torto asking him to remove the photos from his Tumblr.
Del Torto has obliged, publishing a post explaining the story and ironically apologising to the new owners of his MacBook.
“As the story circulated, I started to receive messages from concerned individuals warning of privacy concerns and the possible harm and distress the blog may cause the people in the photos," he wrote. "I hadn’t really considered any of this, as I hadn’t expected the story to get so much attention. So I hid the identity of the people in the photos.
“Then one of the people in the photos contacted me and asked me to remove the pictures. They were very upset. I could understand why. The people shown on the blog site are not thieves. The safety and well being of private individuals is more important than any possession, although I still miss my laptop I do not wish ill on anyone.
“The people who now have my laptop have been good enough to get in touch and therefore the tracking software has done it’s job. I would like to apologise for any trouble this story has caused as I now believe it has created two victims of the crime, where one was enough.”
Del Torto has gone on to add a further post on Tumblr, highlighting the distress of the family.
"The innocent new owners of my laptop have been in touch and are mortified about the story and are keen to return the laptop," he writes.
"Given the huge error of judgement on my part in sharing the story and failing to respect their privacy I have asked them to keep it by means of an apology."