This is a peer-to-peer filesharing network

[Aram Bartholl] is building his own filesharing network that screws those fat cats who want to control your freedom. He’s added file cache devices throughout NYC (five so far but more to come) that are anonymous and free to use. Upload what you want, download what you want. They’re completely offline which means monitoring who’s doing what gets a lot harder and quite possibly requires a warrant from a Judge (we’re obviously not legal experts, your mileage may vary).

As for the slew of comments that are sure to point out the dangers of malicious USB device; We think everyone knows they’re taking on some risk when connecting to a USB plug protruding from a brick wall.

[Thanks Neckbeard]

115 thoughts on “This is a peer-to-peer filesharing network

  1. I was working on a similar concept; off-line data “swap spots” using wifi, but this is much more elegant (in a way). I love it.

  2. Interesting idea…

    I’m sure since it’s open to the public, a warrant to plug in and see what’s on there isn’t going to be required, then staking out the locations doesn’t require anything either.

    Not sure how large the USB drive is, but that limits the effective number of files you can share if they aren’t just music/pics (think movies, games, software)… and for the larger files, how long are you going to have to stand in a dark alley in NYC to download it… lol

    One other thought… does he have permission from the building owners to install these and do a crappy concrete patch job? lolu

  3. I wouldn’t really want to put my laptop against a brick wall. Extension cord required!

    Another idea – same concept as the USB, but using a 3.5mm audio jack instead. Have special software that decodes audio signal into digital data. Use a M-M 3.5mm cable, connect it to a 3.5mm jack in a brick wall, and share files. Would probably be a lot slower, but safer.

  4. yea and rip usb port out of motherboard while doing it + it’s a piece of metal sticking from a wall, should have used female port.

  5. Glory hole USB style. Amazing idea though. U just need to do this on ur crap laptop incase you run into a virus, or more specifically the USB haksaw (hak5.org for info)

    –2uro

  6. better check that the plug is not 110/220V AC before connecting.
    or how about a relay that is triggered by the usb host power and switches to mains once connected…

  7. People will just hammer this off the wall and it’s limited to 1 person at time. It’s not so wel suited for illegal filesharing so it’l probably not get very big.

    cool idea though. Really like how it looks.

  8. Locations:

    87 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn, NY (Makerbot)

    Empire Fulton Ferry Park, Brooklyn, NY (Dumbo)

    235 Bowery, NY (New Museum)

    Union Square, NY (Subway Station 14th St)

    West 21st Street, NY (Eyebeam)

  9. @me

    I don’t think you have to worry about a steak-out since you don’t know what’s on the drive until you plug it in. How can you charge someone with a copyright violation that they didn’t know they committing?

  10. At a local arcade there is a NFL Blitz machine that has an N64 memory card slot.

    After the second day the machine was there, One full inch of chewed gum was packed into the slot.

    If someone takes issue with this, they are either just going to get pliers and twist the usb connector off…

  11. The risks would be too severe for me to use such an installation, especially once the local pedophiles get wind of the setup. Also, would the person who placed these drives be liable for enabling the distribution of such images?
    Nice idea but the real world is just too screwed up for it to work.

  12. Better make sure that there isn’t 110/220V on that plug.
    Or what about a relay triggered by the usb-power, so it switches to mains after you connected. :)

  13. wow this is a pretty cool idea. the only thing i see that may be a problem with it is that either people will vandalize the USB(both the physical stick and also the files in it) or someone will just chisel it out and use it for their own use.

  14. News flash, year 2013: There have been more cases of sniped pirates downloading movies from RIAA honeypot flash drives in the streets. Despite all the dangers, they just continue to download. Since the complete shutdown of the bittorrent these fileflash networks have become extremely popular despite all the dangers.

  15. As these are located in public places, no search warrant is needed by law enforcement to take control of them.

    Additionally, if the ‘protectors of other peoples property rights’ decide to look into this, the building owners are liable for content regardless of them actually knowing of their existence.

    As it is (sub)human nature to deny to others things they find beneficial any knuckle-dragger can come along and destroy the connection. They need to be recessed into the wall and camouflaged to mask their appearance. Users can bring their own extension cable.

    While a great idea, it needs another bridge to span the gap and provide an untethered means of contact and that ratchets up the complexity to a much higher level.

  16. What happens when the usb connector is broken off? Or when it rains an corrodes the copper pads?

    It’s a neat idea, don’t get me wrong.

  17. I think I like the wifi idea better. Pogoplug hidden somewhere with power and a shelled usb stick stuck inside of it. Or something equivalent on a roof top with a low power solar panel, gel cell battery and a decent antenna.

    Solar panel and battery would probably be more expensive than a router and usb memory though.

  18. now if this was a usb-to-ethernet adapter(or wifi variant) connected to a file server on the other side of the wall. it could require you to have a share folder with a specific name(“wallshare” perhaps) with files you want to share to it. the file server on the other end probes the usb ethernet adapter by mac bound ip addy in a router to get to the specified shared folder on your computer. a built in webserver would provide an instruction page telling you what [\\computername\sharename] to view existing shared files.

  19. I like the idea of a solar powered pogoplug / 4 or 5 64 gig flash drives, and wifi. I would limit the range to 10 yards or so to keep the cloak and dagger, and then geocache the heck out of it… It really does bring so many awesome technologies together to screw the man…

    Stick it all on top of an awning or ledge so it is out of sight but able to broadcast to the street…

    also would be a great foot traffic boost if you had a business in an urban center / mall and you could get the word out correctly.

    As for this idea: 1) it should be recessed for weather 2) a mini usb female in a brick wall is harder to spot / harder to break 3) as is, you can just use a USB extension so you aren’t scraping your laptop against a brick wall. 4) While this is the simplest implementation of the idea, a little more thought and effort will make this idea a massive hit.

    my .02

  20. I think its only a matter of time before someone breaks all of them or they are infected with viruses. I have to agree it is a very cool project though.

  21. I like the female usb port idea. Another cool place for them would be at coffee shops and such. like each table has built in 8g drives in them for anonymous sharing

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