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Artist and Eyebeam resident Aram Bartholl’s USB Dead Drops project is raising lots of discussion in the security and file sharing communities. The project release is now in full swing with this video showing how the USB drives were installed in different places around NYC. Aram writes:

‘Dead Drops’ is an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space. USB flash drives are embedded into walls, buildings and curbs accessable to anybody in public space. Everyone is invited to drop or find files on a dead drop. Plug your laptop to a wall, house or pole to share your favorite files and data. Each dead drop is installed empty except a readme.txt file explaining the project. ‘Dead Drops’ is open to participation. If you want to install a dead drop in your city/neighborhood follow the ‘how to’ instructions and submit the location and pictures.

Becky Stern

Becky Stern

Becky Stern (sternlab.org is a DIY guru and director of wearable electronics at Adafruit. She publishes a new project video every week and hosts a live show on YouTube. Formerly Becky was Senior Video Producer for MAKE. Becky lives in Brooklyn, NY and belongs to art groups Free Art & Technology (“release early, often, and with rap music”) and Madagascar Institute (“fear is never boring”).


  • Kevin Bondelli

    I figure it is only a short matter of time before these dead drops are used maliciously to spread viruses, trojans, and other mal-ware.

    It’s an interesting idea, but the internet itself is a giant dead drop. I don’t really see the necessity.

  • weitenma

    Just a suggestion as it would take some soldering but how about putting a female USB connector on the drive. That way a surreptitious male-male USB cable can be used to connect to the laptop (or other device). A more ‘natural’ position can be used for access and nothing will catch on it by anything or whacked off if seen by roving bands of ‘youths’ as it would be flush with the wall.