An interesting new offline anonymous form of file-sharing is literally taking to the streets as online services are increasingly targeted by anti-piracy groups and legislation.
Dead Drops is the name that Aram Bartholl has given his radical file-sharing endeavor, a project that is part of his residency at the Eyebeam Art + Technology Center.
Bartholl has embedded USB drives in a number of public locations around New York City in the exterior walls of public buildings, light poles, and curbs. Now he is encouraging the public to plug into the drives and share their files with one another.
“Plug your laptop to a wall, house or pole to share your files and date. Each dead drop contains a readme.txt file explaining the project,” Bartholl has posted on his blog. “‘Dead Drops’ is still in progress, to be continued here and in more cities. Full documentation, movie, map and ‘How to make your own dead drop’ manual coming soon!”
While the idea is certainly intriguing, there are several factors that make Dead Drops impractical to a point that I don’t think it will catch on except for people who want to experience the novelty. For one thing I’m sure cities aren’t going to take too kindly to someone boring holes into structures and leaving behind permanently embedded flash drives. Then there’s the fact that it is neither discreet nor inconspicuous standing around with your laptop plugged into the side of a building. In fact, the appearance just reeks of sleazy, illegal activity. Not to mention what people might end up finding on these drives, like porn or a nasty virus perhaps.
So you won’t catch me seeking out Dead Drops in my city anytime soon. Would you try it?