Create An Offline, Peer-to-Peer Filesharing Network With USB Dead Drops

While online file sharing protocols like BitTorrent have their uses, if you want to discover and share cool files with the community, a new project called Dead Drops—in which you leave files on flash drives scattered about—may offer inspiration.

The idea behind Dead Drops is that people can share their favourite files and data through USB flash drives embedded into walls and buildings, and can discover other people's files in the same way. Each dead drop is installed empty except for a readme file explaining the project. It's a neat idea, and while it isn't without flaws, could serve as inspiration for similar smaller projects.

Obviously, my first issue is with the publicity of these drives—anyone can come along and install malicious software onto one and infect others. Also, embedding it into a building only works if you have permission to do so—which I can't imagine is that widespread. All that said, the idea of an offline peer-to-peer network is interesting, and could certainly give birth to smaller, similar ventures—perhaps in your closer, more trusted group of friends, a college dorm, or other small community. Hit the link to read more about it, and then come back and share your thoughts. Are there any instances in which this would be a project you'd want to start? Or would you just as soon stick with BitTorrent, Google Docs and other online file sharing methods? Let us know in the comments.

Dead Drops [via Instructables]


    And the usbs get corrupted and filled with pron

    Would need to be a USB cable sticking out of the wall rather than just a stick... you won't see me holding up my rather heavy laptop against a wall for however long it takes to verify that the files are malware free and copy them.
    Also some degree of moderation would be necessary, because otherwise some troll would just rock up, delete everything useful, and fill the USB up with porn (or worse child porn), gore, malware or whatever. Perhaps making it possible to add files but not delete and a serious open-at-own-risk warning?

      I have to point out: the lack of moderation is kind of the point. While somebody could fill it with unsavory material, you could just as easily delete all of that and fill it with cute photos of kittens, or bank account details, or a complete rip of wikipedia. You are not responsible for what somebody else puts on there, and child porn enthusiasts aren't about to go trading it (quite literally) in the open streets.
      sidenote: I believe you are legally required to report child porn if you see some, otherwise you can also be charged.

      As for the idea, I quite like it. Given a lack of power source, this is about as good as it gets. I'd agree about the cable, though...the usb connector would be too easy to snap. If you add a short usb extension cable to the mix, it might make it a bit hardier overall.

    Like already stated, this will only become a haven for malicious code writers. Programs like DC++ have been in use at my university and have succeeded very well. Sure there may be a HUGE legal issue with it. But none the less a much better p2p program. And plus, I don't understand why anyone would want to go out of their way too purchase a lets say 16GB usb device just to 'lose' it on purpose, I stress out when I lose my 8GB, and lets face it, with way information systems are moving these days even my 8GB is not a lot of data. Nice try, but I think its back to the drawing board on this one.

      Surely I'm not the only Lifehacker reader with a USB mini/micro/extension cable about their person at least 90% of the time?

        ugh replying to wrong comment. sorry mods

    neat idea, but good intentitions are always abused.


    The world is so not ready for communism. How many pictures of one's penis can you put on a stick?

      9,100 of 3 megapixels if you have 8gig. Of course it also depends on the size of the penis... some of us just need to take up more space....

    After seeing some of the usb devices shown on, I'd be extremely reluctant to even plug one in to see if it has any malware.

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