An artist, who was using a program to remotely capture and upload pictures of people testing out Apple computers across New York, has had his home raided by the secret service.

Kyle McDonald created the project entitled People Staring at Computers as a "photographic intervention". He described it as a "custom app installed around NYC, taking a picture every minute and uploading it if a face is found in the image."

The website created full screen images and video of shoppers testing Apple computers. McDonald said he started the project when he obtained permission from a store security guard to take photos. 

The secret service has its electronic crime division involved with the investigation. McDonald recently posted a tweet which revealed they had raided his home: "@secretservice just stopped by to investigate [web address removed] and took my laptop. Please assume they're reading any e-mails you send me."

The photos taken were uploaded to a Tumblr page and were commented on by followers of the project. 

The BBC has been told by a secret service spokesperson that they are investigating McDonald under the US Code Title 18/1030 or "fraud and related activity in connection with computers".

Offences under the legislation could see McDonald facing up to a 20-year prison sentence. 

McDonald has informed his Twitter followers that the online freedom group Electronic Frontier Foundation has advised him not to comment on the case. 

As of 8 July 2011 no arrests have been made relating to the case. Apple is yet to comment. 

Should he be in trouble? Or is this "art"?