IFWT_Dead drop

Random USB drives are all over NYC, sticking outside of surfaces for people to go around and share whatever files they feel strangers need to have. But it looks like more of these weirdly placed memory sticks are popping up all around the world.

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The idea of placing a USB drive inside of a wall for people to come up to and share, began in Germany by an individual working on a media arts project whose name is Aram Bartholl. These USB drives stuck in walls are called ‘dead drops’ and are deliberately placed in public places to encourage anonymous file sharing between strangers.

Bartholl was staying in New York when he began leaving dead drops in the Big Apple, and they were featured in an art exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) called the “Talk to me” exhibit.

Bartholl’s dead drops aren’t the first information discovery system of its kind. Geocaching has been around longer and is much more efficient in that geocaches have an app that records where hidden objects are located; whereas one must search for an actual USB dead drop.

However, the entire premise behind dead drops is anonymity in file sharing. These USBs are not linked to any networks so no one leaves a digital trace of their existence, unless they intentionally do so.

While the idea of dead drops does seem like a cool idea, there are some draw backs to it too. Some common downsides are weather factors which may cause damage to these USB drives given poor thought as to the environment they’re placed in. Another is they may be prohibited in certain public places like store fronts and transit stops.

But even more concerning downsides are those with bad intentions who upload to these dead drops. There may be individuals who rather share malicious files that could possibly cause damage to strangers’ hard drives.

Nonetheless, dead drops do open up peoples’ minds as to how they can share information. They are very cool, although they will require some sort of caution when plugging your computer into a random USB in a wall.

Source: Ars Technica