My Friend Spied On Me With Drop Cam
It's always the quiet ones that usually catch us off guard. They overthink, contemplate, and plan everything. They are the ones you'd least expect to do anything criminal or morally wrong. The only thing worse than a shy person engaging in something heinous, is when that person turns is your friend.
This is a true story about a pathetic man, named Conor Holness. Or Conor P Holness.
Since June my [former] friend Conor Holness has graciously allowed me to crash on his couch until I find a job and my own place to live. A few days ago as I was setting on the couch when I noticed something small and black in Conor’s bookshelf.
I lost my breath. The moment I realized what was staring straight at me, my heart beat disappeared from existence.
Drop Cam is a digital recording device. It records video and audio and connects to your home Wi-Fi so that you can stream a live feed to your mobile device. Drop Cam notifies you when it detects motion, records what it captures, and saves the video on a cloud based server.
Conor was at work when I spotted the camera and I immediately texted him. His response:
Conor buys gadgets and other random shit online pretty regularly. A few times a week there will be a box sitting on his doormat. For whatever reason, he keeps all of the empty boxes. So I looked thru them and quickly found his Drop Cam receipt. My whole body went numb. Instead of having the camera shipped to the apartment like the rest of his toys, the receipt showed that he had the Drop Cam delivered to an Amazon Locker, where had to drive to to pick up. But even worse, I saw that the camera was purchased only 3 1/2 weeks ago.
I started seeing red and black spots everywhere, my head felt like an elephant had sat on it, and the air in the room felt thick, polluted. I had to get out of there. I was no longer able to focus my attention on anything except this stupid camera. So I went to the gym. Worked out for several hours. When I got back to the apartment, Conor was setting on the couch watching the Dodgers game. It took everything within me to restrain myself from gouging out his eye with my car keys. He quickly paused the game and said “I’m an idiot!” I unclenched the keys from my hand and let them fall to the floor. I went into the bathroom and cooled down in the shower.
When my rage subdued, I returned to the living room and sat on the opposite couch, nodded at him, and waited for him to speak. He sits up, turns off the television, and plainly says, “I’m an idiot.” There was a long pause. I was waiting for more, but that was all he said. Conor starred at me as if those 3 words were enough.
Since Conor was too much of an idiot, I begin questioning him so that I could understand why there was a hidden camera in his bookshelf. Here is a condensed version:
Conor: “I wanted the camera so I could monitor the apartment while I was away in Wyoming.” (Him and his family had taken a trip to Wyoming the previous weekend) “But I realized you were going to be here and that I didn’t need it. As you know, I buy lots of things, which by the way, I just got another really cool camera. You can check it out if you want. But I bought the Drop Cam because I still wanted to test it out anyway.”
Me: “ Why did you hide the camera in your bookshelf, if you were only testing it?”
Conor: “I wasn’t hiding it. I tried to get it to work in different locations and it seemed to get the best get reception there.”
Me: “So you waited until I was out of the apartment to setup and test this camera?”
Conor: “Yes, but I would have told you if it had worked.”
Me: “If it doesn’t work, why is it still there? You tell me about all the stuff you buy, why did you not tell me about this one?”
Conor: “I forgot it was there and I guess I just didn’t think about it.”
Me: “If you were not trying to hide the it from me, why did you cover up the status indicator light in front of the camera with black electrical tape?”
Conor: “When I was reading reviews about it, a lot of people said that black electrical tape helps it work better.”
Now, I wish to god I was making all of this up, but sadly these are the words that came out of Conor’s mouth. Those who know Conor, also know that he is a huge tech nerd and is incredibly smart. He remembers everything, he pays attention to detail the way an architect does, and will correct you if you say anything that is politically, technically, or scientifically inaccurate. Conor and I became friends while working at an Apple Store back in 2008. He was the guy who knew more than the Geniuses and never seemed to be bothered by the chaos.
Conor's current job is providing IT support to executives for a major film studio. Wait, executive IT??? How the fuck was he not able to get this $200 camera to work? So the next day, I tested it out. I placed the camera in various locations of Conor's apartment and without even a slight hiccup, the Drop Cam worked just fine.
I had to be get to an event in Hollywood, so I downloaded Drop Cam app on to my iPhone for live streaming. Later in the day, I received the notification that the camera detected motion and from my iPhone, I watched Conor P. Holness walk into his apartment. As much as I’d love to show you Conor’s reaction when he saw that I had fixed his “broken” Drop Cam, I can't because that would be invasion of privacy and illegal.
I began trying to figure out the real reason why Conor would setup this camera and had it pointed it in the direction of where I slept, ate, and changed my clothes when he was not home. I could only think of two reasons.
Reason 1. Conor does not trust me.
Which makes no sense, because my first day in his apartment, he insisted I have the password to his iMac. I have my own computer, so that was completely unnecessary. Nonetheless he trusted me enough to allow me to use his computer, along with everything else in his apartment. Unless... there was something of value on the couch. I practically flipped the couch over trying to find this precious thing he had to keep an eye on. But I found nothing. As I sat there, it dawned on me that I was the precious thing.
Reason 2. Conor likes me.
Like, likes likes me. But his introversion kept him from being honest and telling me how he felt. So instead, Conor resolved to watching me sleep, eat, play my guitar, meditate, and get clothed, using a creepy ass camera hidden in his bookshelf.
At this point, I'm looking in my contact list to see which of my old friends from Long Beach would go beat the shit out of him. Yet, there is a part of me that wants to believe Conor. After all, we’ve been friends for a long time. But he has gone so far out of his way to cover his tracks. Suddenly the receipt disappears along with the box that the camera came in, he removes all evidence that he owned this device, and he changes his iMac password. What are you hiding Conor Holness? Why are you lying?
The thing about me, is that I am a rebel. And when you lie to or mistreat a rebel.... we rebel. I called Drop Cam support, they said if the camera was removed from his account (which it was, otherwise I would not have been able to set it up on my computer) then all the video gets removed. This means I have no proof he recorded anything. Not that it would matter anyway, because according to the LAPD, a pervert can be a pervert, so long as he is perverted in his own home.
At this point I'm losing my mind. I have no where to go. No steady job or income to just leave. So I start thinking of ways to make him feel the pain I feel. I wanted nothing more than for him feel my headache and frustrations. I was full of anxiety from trying to understand why this happened. One afternoon, I passed Conor's bedroom and saw this:
While I was sitting there feeling utterly violated, this asshole was in his room playing with another camera he bought. He hadn’t even giving this whole situation a second thought. Just like that, Conor P. Holness had moved on to his new toy.
So I started writing...
Conor and I have been friends for such long that I feel like I need to give him the benefit of the doubt. I want to believe that the Drop Cam was broken and he simply forgot that it was hidden in the bookshelf. But then why would he go out of his way to delete the camera from his Drop Cam account, yet not unplug this “broken” device? None of his explanations fit with the information I uncovered. I saw through each of his lies and suspicious attempts to conceal facts.
No matter what conclusion I accept, the truth remains that Conor set up this camera without my knowledge. He tested it’s functions without disclosing to me his actions. When questioned about it, he begin his explanation with a lie. That one lie discredited everything else that followed. Conor's story is an obvious tale, and still he continues to be untruthful. Any respectable man knows when to admit when they are wrong. Conor is not respectable, he is not even a man. Conor is a coward.
It's possible Conor has Aspergers. When I sat down and had a conversation with his mother, she admitted that she felt Conor has some form of autism and that she simply did not catch it when he was a child. I am not sure why, but she also explained to me that Conor's father, her ex-husband, refuses to acknowledge Conor is his son.
So I don't know if any of this is true, but according to Conor's mother, Conor has no idea that his father refers to him as the "distant cousin." And each year during Christmas, the father sends money to his other 5 adult children, with instructions to make sure Conor does not receive any. Apparently, the father believes Conor is a gigantic weirdo. Too weird to be his son.
Okay, so it is possible Conor has some undiagnosed mental condition and almost certainly has daddy issues. But don't we all? Is this new information supposed to make me feel sorry for him or empathize with him?
Conor is an adult, capable of living on his own and supporting himself. He knows right from wrong, and yet he choose to be deceitful. Hell, even a child would not place a camera in a bookshelf without purposely meaning to spy on someone.
Conor, you disgust me. You betrayed my trust. You invited me into your home and defiled me. Never in my life have I felt so much hatred towards a person. I started going thru the old photos on my computer and every time your face appeared, I pressed the Delete button. Then I remembered being a child and looking at pictures of my mother when she was young. In some of the pictures, she was standing next to a headless man. The head had been removed from the image with a pair of scissors. Now I realize that that headless man was my father. My mother was trying to erase him from memory. The worst kind of pain is the pain caused by someone you care about.
Conor, I so badly want for you to feel the same hurt as I do right now. Karma is a bitch and I hope it rips your ass a new one. Conor P. Holness, I hope that you are embarrassed and ashamed now that your family is aware of the pervert that you are? The price you paid for that Drop Cam was $222.34 plus our friendship. Was it worth it? I guess we all know what the P. stands for now.
UPDATE: Conor finally admitted that he did in fact hide the camera in his bookshelf with the intentions of spying on me. But according to him, he was not trying to be a pervert. He claims his actions were the result of him being too afraid to ask me how my job hunt and apartment search was going. He wanted to ask me how much time I needed to stay with him, but rather than ask, he felt that pointing a hidden camera at the couch I was sleeping on, would provide him with that answer.
I asked him what I did to make him so afraid of asking such a simply question and his response was "Nothing. You didn't do anything".......
UPDATE (May 1, 2015): Many, if not, all of the people who have come across this article have done so because they are researching ways to hide their drop cam. It's quite disturbing.
Due to the huge amount of exposure this article has gotten, a detective from the Los Angeles Police Department reached out to me. He explained that the event that took place last summer is considered a criminal offensive, if everything I wrote is in fact the whole truth. Which it is. The detective gave me the option to file an official police report, which will open up an investigation. All information gathered from this investigation will be presented to a judge and the judge will decide to charge Conor with a misdemeanor.
Under no circumstance is it legal to record audio in a home or non-plublic place without the consent of the person/people occupying this place. As I am sure, all of you know, Drop Cam records audio along with video.
The second reason this is a criminal offensive is because you can not place security surveillance is a private location (i.e bathroom, bedroom) or an assumed private location.
In my situation, the couch area had essentially become my bedroom. It is where I slept and it is also where I changed my clothes when I was the only person in the apartment. There for, this is an assumed private location.
So, fair wronging to those of you attempting to secretly record the people in your home. If you don't trust someone, then don't invite them into your home....