Artist leaves secret USB ports in NYC walls

Do you feel brave enough to port your laptop into a wall and find out what's inside?

Feel risky enough to plug your laptop into a wall?
Feel risky enough to plug your laptop into a wall? Aram Bartholl

Sometimes it feels like sharing a flash drive around an office is dangerous enough. The question is, do you feel lucky enough to trust one stuck in a public wall?

Aram Bartholl has begun installing USB "dead drops" throughout New York City as a living experiment in public data networks. Bartholl's an exhibiting German artist in residence at Eyebeam in New York City with numerous installation art projects under his belt. Currently, these dead drops are in five locations, with more to come.

"Dead drop" refers to a spy term for physical locations where information or items are exchanged between two people. In the case of this current project, it's almost like a geocache with a risk/benefit equation each user will have to evaluate for themselves.

In case you're curious, there's no need to rush to NYC: according to Bartholl, the Dead Drops project will expand to other cities, too. But if you feel like exploring and live around the city, the locations are detailed clearly, although they seem designed to feel a little furtive and dangerous. I'm not sure I'd trust what amounts to a data glory hole, but I have to admit I'm tempted to try--if only because I'd feel like a character in William Gibson's "Zero History."

(Via BoingBoing)

Tech Culture
About the author

Scott Stein is a senior editor covering iOS and laptop reviews, mobile computing, video games, and tech culture. He has previously written for both mainstream and technology enthusiast publications including Wired,, Men's Journal, and Maxim, and regularly appears on TV and radio talking tech trends.


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