Ever reached into your pocket to find your phone had been snatched? Dutch film student and former iPhone owner Anthony van der Meer experienced that awful feeling first-hand while having lunch in Amsterdam. Unsatisfied with the response from the Amsterdam police, who register an average of 300 stolen phones per week, Meer decided to find out what kind of person steals a phone. He downloaded DIY security software on a decoy Android phone, intentionally got the phone stolen, and was able to spy on his thief for weeks. He recorded the ups and downs of his covert investigation and turned it into a 22-minute documentary called Find My Phone. (Zoya Teirstein, The Verge, Dec 19, 2016)
Mr Van der Meer looked through the man’s text messages and listened in on his phone calls. The filmmaker also followed him through GPS. Mr Van der Meer found rather than hating him, he grew to like the person who was in possession of his phone. He discovered a lot about him, including he was probably homeless because he hung around alleyways and coffee shops in Amsterdam during the day. He also slept at homeless shelters during the night. The man also spoke Arabic and was very religious. Eventually they came face to face in the short film but Mr Van der Meer didn’t quite find what he was expecting. (Jimmy Nsubuga, Metro.co.uk, Dec 18, 2016).
Though van der Meer has called off the technological voyeurism, he told Het Parool that the story continues, and that the phone has since resurfaced in Romania. “But that’s not the end of the story,” van der Meer said. “I would like to make a second part.” (Samanta Grasso, The Daily Dot, Dec 16, 2016).