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Animator whose laptop was stolen uses Hidden App to track it from London to Iran

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By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

April 13, 2013 | 2 min read

An animator who found himself the victim of a burglary earlier this year has managed to track his stolen laptop to a family living in Iran.

Dom del Torto had installed an application called Hidden App onto his MacBook Pro, which automatically sends the owner information on the laptop’s location and takes photographs using the built-in camera.

A month after being stolen, the software emailed with information that the laptop was in Iran's capital, Tehran, as well as two images showing a family using it. It continued to update him each time the laptop was used.

With UK police unable to help and Interpol considering it a low priority case, del Toro set up a website called Dom's laptop is in Iran. He posted the images and updates he received from the Hidden App.

However, del Toro said: "As the story circulated, I started to receive messages from concerned individuals warning of privacy issues and the possible harm and distress the blog may cause the people in the photos. 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 him to ask him 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 wellbeing of private individuals is more important than any possession. Although I still miss my laptop I do not wish ill on anyone.”

He added: "The people who now have my laptop have been good enough to get in touch and therefore the tracking software has done its job."

As such he has let them keep the laptop as a gift and has removed the pictures from his website. However, it remains unclear exactly how the laptop made its way from London to Iran.

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