“Find My Phone” – A Film from Dutch Student Spying His Phone Thief

According to statistics, Dutch police registers nearly 300 smartphone thefts on average each week. Anthony Van der Meer’s phone is one of them – a film student got his iPhone stolen during lunching in Rotterdam one day. But instead of being mournful about losing such an expensive phone or angry about the unhelpful police officers, the idea of a stranger having access to personal data like photos, video, contacts, emails and messages makes him curious to know more. What kind of person would steal a phone? Where do it ends up? To clear all the doubt, having a spyware phone stolen would be a perfect idea to start with.
Put the right phone for the right job…
In order to make a decoy phone, Van de Meer uses anti-theft tracing app Cerberus which will access location details of the device, control to take photos, video and make audio recording remotely whenever it is connected to the internet. This will allow him to spy and get to know more about the thief as prior to his objective.
However, first thing every thieves do after successful stealing any smartphone is reseting and switching SIM card; make sure it will be gone off the radar. The crucial part is actually the phone; an Android operating system phone that can be survived after this kind of activities. With memory divided into two parts (system part and user part), only the user part will be effected from resetting. Pre-installed tracing app on the system part of the phone to prevent the updating of software – this was to ensure that the app was impossible to be deleted.
Hi, please have my phone…
The tough part of the plan doe not just that. Van de Meer found that the fact to have someone steel your phone is not that easy. Four days passed, various possible thieves kept walking back and forth to the set up scene, but no one actually steal it. Therefore, he decided to change location from Rotterdam to more potential city – Amsterdam in which approximately 17 phones are reported stolen every day. Finally, it got stolen. Yay!
He secretly followed the thief for about 2 weeks and documented every moves. With the help of technology and his own effort as a film student, the outcome turns out to be a short documentary “Find my Phone“ which reveals the story with real not-so-private data of the thief. Besides its excitement the film delivered, it also raises awareness on cyber security and privacy on smartphones among the viewers .
Wanting to know what it feels like when being watched?
Don’t waste your time finding his phone, just watch the full documentary here:

VDO is courtesy of Anthony Van de Meer.

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