Do I need a permission to install one or more Dead Drops in my city?

No! Everybody is invited to install one or more Dead Drops  in their neighborhood! I will continue installing Dead Drops around the world but you can make your own too! Please make sure to follow the guidelines how to install a Dead Drop. Once you re done please submit your Dead Drop info and pics and it ll be added to the data base. Credits for the concept (to me Aram Bartholl) and links to deaddrops.com are very welcome!

Do you put any files on the drive after you’ve installed it?

No, they are empty and waiting for your files. I only leave a readme.txt on there which explains the project and links to this site. Yes, the sticks are set to read and write and should mount as a plain mass storage drive (get rid of any autorun custom ‘cruzer’ stlye software).

How about security issues? How do you prevent  misuse with viruses, root-kits and malicious software?

I don’t take any actions here! Dead Drops are placed in public space in the city. They are public domain. This is part of the concept and part of the game. (If you ever worked in the field of street art you know what it means to place things outside). In general everybody is responsible for the security of their computers and systems. Is the Internet a safe place?!? Malicious code for USB flash drives is a problem in general. They could (and will) be misused for malicious software.  Be aware of that! Secure your system! Boot a virtual machine! Or ask your friend to go first ;-) … (It’s the thrill of the ‘glory hole’ says  boingboing ;-). Also! Dead Drops themselves will be subject to digital and or physical vandalism. Don’t be sad when it happens. Keep growing and install a new drive in maybe slight different location.

How can I make sure not to infect my system?

There are many possibilities to be on the safe side. ie. you could just boot from your system CD in save mode (Win or Mac) , this would prevent any virus to access your harddrive. Or go ahead and get  (Linux) Ubuntu ‘Live’ bootable from CD or USB.

What size of USB flash drive do you use?

You can use any size you want. I’ve used mainly 2GB and 4GB sticks. They are less expensive but old very small storage flash drives are cool too. I guess it is more interesting to have a lot of Dead Drops spread over the city, high density than a few with high capacity (USB powered hard drives are thinkable too! The first one who’s cementing one in I’ll buy a beer :-)

Why don’t you use an extension cable!

You can do that if you want. Although I like very much the gesture of plugging the computer directly into a building/wall/curb. I am sure everyone can be gentle enough to not break the Dead Drop. When you install one please make sure it is accessable with and without a cable. Leaning on the wall is very comfortable (ask Bre :-). A cable would be the next step before wireless Dead Drops which I personally don’t like as much. (But we can discuss options …)

How about water and rain?

Try to find places which are less exposed to weather. Try to find walls which are protected by overhanging roofs or similar. Often the rain doesn’t hit the wall itself (unless there is a thunderstorm). Experimentation with dryed flash drives after rain need to be done. … As long as the contacts are dry and the board is sealed of we are good, non?

What file format should the USB drive be?

I recommend FAT32 since a wide range of operating systems can read it


  1. Eric
    Posted November 5, 2010 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    This is a shitty idea

    • g dogg
      Posted January 30, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

      fuck you faggot

  2. Eric
    Posted November 5, 2010 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    I’m going to smash every deaddrop I can find

    • tinou
      Posted November 5, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      “I’m going to smash every deaddrop I can find”

      Thank you Eric, you’re triggering so many ideas in my mind to make deaddrops smashproof. I’ll soon implement them and write tutos. Stay tuned, this is going to be fun.

    • Soghetto
      Posted November 5, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      There will always be haters – just makes it better. For every broken one because some loser wants to ruin others enjoyment to make themselves feel valuable in life – there will be 3 more put up to take its place.

      Not to mention the risk of getting caught being malicious to a dead drop would almost guarantee an onslaught of public humiliation by the underground masses… that might be more fun that placing dead drops :)

    • Posted November 14, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      Hello Eric Douglace

  3. martikke
    Posted November 8, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    am i going to install one in a wood , good or bad idear ?

    ps : i life in germany , so sry 4 the bad english ^^

  4. Superman
    Posted November 9, 2010 at 1:05 am | Permalink

    How legal is this? If someone were to get caught taking files off the dead drop spot by the authorities, what could happen? Particularly in the US

    • Jokir #0801
      Posted November 14, 2010 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      Well, it depends on the placement of the dead drop, really. If you are caught drilling a hole into someone else’s property, then vandalism may be a factor, so you can make your judgments there. As far as downloading files off of a public flash drive, there shouldn’t be any problem with that anywhere, so far as the files themselves are legal. You may get some funny looks from passersby, but even if a law official were to see you, they would (hopefully) understand after you explain the concept of a dead drop to them. As for out of the US, I can’t answer. Maybe someone else here knows?

  5. josephb76
    Posted November 9, 2010 at 1:38 am | Permalink

    It would be cool if you could eventually make a mobile app that had GPS mapping of all dead drops globally (the app would be constantly updated). There could be city map files in dead drops for tourists and visitor of other countries.
    Fun idea. Thanks.

    • wouter
      Posted January 16, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      I was just thinking this… for a while already thinking about what to start programming now… OK first I have to learn Java but this could be a nice project. I love the idea of the dead drops – I’m doing geocaching already, and see lots of similarities and possibly overlaps between the two.