USB Dead Drops

USB flash drive guts

USB flash drive guts

The idea behind this morning’s post about USB flash drives struck me last night/this morning on a whim.  Through absolutely no coordination whatsoever, I noticed the appearance of a photopool series on Flickr  with every photo labeled “Dead Drops.”  From the photos in the pool it appears someone1 is going around New York epoxying and cementing USB flash drives into public crevices. 2

A dead drop is, according to Wikipedia, “a location used to secretly pass items between two people, without requiring them to meet.”

Now, for the questions:

Who is doing this and why?  Why those locations?  What are on these drives?  Where are they?  Is someone mapping them?  Are they read-only? 3 And, how long before someone sitting on a park bench or leaning up against a phone booth scrapes themselves on one of these?

I’m not sure about the answers to those questions…  but I suspect this man may know…

Mystery computing

Mystery computing

  1. Perhaps the photographer Aram Bartholl aka agoasi? []
  2. In a way, I suppose this is a public service – sealing cracks in walls and buildings. []
  3. I don’t see a switch on the one in that photo above []
Tagged with , , , 9 comments

9 Comments so far

  • Spacexula
    October 29, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Interesting question though, if you don’t get the property owners permission, could you be charged a fee for the removal of said device?

    Personally I would never stick a USB in my slot without protection. My mom raised me better than that.

  • eagleapex
    October 29, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    I’d recommend a USB extension cable. You could sit more naturally and conceal the business end with your arm/leg.

  • ARAM
    October 30, 2010 at 12:50 pm

  • peter
    October 30, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    that picture of bre plugging his laptop into a brick wall (and the funny contortion he has to do to use it) is one of my new favorite pictures.

  • USB Flash Drive “Dead Drops” Installed In Public Locations Around NYC
    October 31, 2010 at 10:55 am

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  • Chooch
    October 31, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    That is the best idea ever! That takes Letterboxing to a whole new geeky high.

  • Gregory Kay
    November 3, 2010 at 8:48 am

    This is a novelty at the moment, but, as every government and all too many corporations become more and more intrusive, inquisitive, and downright restrictive of our activities on the internet, such things as this are, quite literally, revolutionary ideas. This simple, economical system allows for the free exchange of digital information completely outside of government or corporate awareness and interference, putting a huge dent in Big Brother’s abilities. Imagine such information portals not only in walls, but glued to the bottoms of chairs, tables and park benches, even trees and stones, anywhere they can be unobtrusively reached by a simple USB cable; the implications are enormous!

  • damnitDave
    November 3, 2010 at 11:15 am

    soooo its like a glory hole for computers then….im so doing this in Humboldt county

  • USB Dead Drops « Teknophilia
    November 18, 2010 at 12:10 pm

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