… aka digital geo-caching?
Lately, there has been all manner of news about some draconian legislation on the verge of being passed in Washington pertaining to Internet regulation. It’s ironic that a governing body, which in theory should be elected by the people, only manages to pass, in a timely manner, legislation that benefits corporations. The passing of bills that actually benefit humans, well that of course, has to be debated unto a standstill that ultimately accomplishes nothing. Makes you wonder who REALLY determines who our “elected” officials shall be.
Anyways, with the Internet constantly under attack, people have been looking for alternatives for sharing information. One such method is the use of USB Dead Drops, which is an anonymous, offline, peer-to-peer file sharing network. It was initially conceptualized by Aram Bartholl, a Germany based artist, who implemented the idea in New York City in October 2011. The idea is to permanently attach a USB drive to an urban fixture, most commonly using concrete. The following pictures show some finished products:
This way, people can exchange their favorite files completely anonymously. Pretty interesting idea, and it got me thinking…
Back in my rave days finding the venue would often involve going to some shady location, called the “map point” in order to get the directions to the party. This was an attempt to stay one step ahead of the authorities, and decrease the risk of the event getting shut down. Today, everyone carries computers around with them, and therefore USB Dead Drops could potentially be the new “map points”.
While the initial concept calls for offline Dead Drops, some cool stuff could certainly be done with wired versions. For example, suppose a hypothetical musician in Sweden has a handful of devout followers in Los Angeles. One of these fans could set up an internet connected dead drop on to which the artist puts new music (from Sweden, across the Internet). No, it may not be as convenient as downloading a track from a webpage, but it has an esoteric, cloak-and-dagger, feel to it and I think the right crowd would be receptive to the idea.
I think there are even commercial applications as well. Imagine a restaurant that has a dead drop out front, containing a “digital business card” with menu/hours/review information available for download. An apartment complex could share information about available units to potential customers.
More information, including a database and world map of preexisting USB dead drops can be found at deadrops.com.