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Shedding Your Identity In the Digital Age

November 24th, 2009 11:11 admin

newscloud writes “Writer Evan Ratliff tells how he managed to hide from crowdsourced searchers for 27 days. The first person to find him and photograph him would claim a $5,000 prize. In addition to hiding out as a roadie with indy band ‘The Hermit Thrushes’ for a week, Ratliff donned a variety of increasingly impressive disguises. It’s an interesting read on how to disappear in the digital age: ‘August 13, 6:40 PM: I’m driving East out of San Francisco on I-80, fleeing my life under the cover of dusk. Having come to the interstate by a circuitous route, full of quick turns and double backs, I’m reasonably sure that no one is following me. I keep checking the rearview mirror anyway. From this point on, there’s no such thing as sure. Being too sure will get me caught. About 25 minutes later, as the California Department of Transportation database will record, my green 1999 Honda Civic, California plates 4MUN509, passes through the tollbooth on the far side of the Carquinez Bridge, setting off the FasTrak toll device, and continues east toward Lake Tahoe. What the digital trail will not reflect is that a few miles past the bridge I pull off the road, detach the FasTrak, and stuff it into the duffle bag in my trunk, where its signal can’t be detected. There will be no digital record that at 4 AM I hit Primm, Nevada, a sad little gambling town about 40 minutes from Vegas, where $15 cash gets me a room with a view of a gravel pile…’ Spoiler alert: We previously discussed the denouement of the contest.”

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