Viral Tumblr blog exposes innocent users of stolen laptop

A month after losing his laptop to theft, London-based Dom Deltorto was surprised when the tracking software on his laptop tracked it in Tehran, Iran. And much to his surprise, the laptop even began sending back images of the family who it seems purchased his laptop and were now using it . 


And here's where the woeful tale begins. Almost a month after the images began being transmitted, Deltorto decided to share the data recovered from the laptop on an amusing Tumblr blog for his friends to enjoy. What followed was a blog titled 'Dom's laptop is in Iran'. "It seemed to me that a laptop that went missing from London and turned up in Iran was like a space probe landing on a distant planet and beaming back proof of intelligent life," he wrote in his blog.


An interesting story that it was, it found an audience in Deltorto's friends, who in turn shared it with other friends. However, as the story started reaching more and more people, he began receiving messages from the concerned individuals who warned him of issues pertaining to privacy and of the harm that the photos he posted could possibly bring to the ones in them. 

One of the images that was sent back to Deltorto

One of the images that was sent back to Deltorto (Image credit: Dom del Torto/Tumblr)



Hidden App, which Deltorto had installed on his laptop, used its camera and sent back images each time the family used the laptop, without their knowledge. 


Deltorto admitted to have not "really considered any of this", since he didn't expect the story to get that popular. He then went on to hide the identity of those 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," he wrote. 


At the moment though, the post does not contain any of the images that Deltorto had put up earlier.


Deltorto has, on his part, clarified that the people shown on his blog were not thieves.


He wrote, "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 good bit though is that the "innocent new owners" of his laptop, upon learning about the whole thing, wanted to return Deltorto's laptop back to him. However, as an apology, he asked them to keep it. "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," he wrote in his most recent post. 


While it is just the sheer advancement of technology that a modest app on his laptop could tell Deltorto its location, it is plain sad that the post (unintentionally, though) inconvenienced some folks. 


Cover image credit: Getty Images

Published Date: Apr 13, 2013 04:55 pm | Updated Date: Apr 13, 2013 04:55 pm