## NFC-Tag Network
**Hardware / Networking**
In 2010 the Berlin artist
published the [Dead Drop](https://deaddrops.com/)
Project. The aim of the action was to create
an anonymous offline P2P file distribution network in
public space. USB sticks were embedded in the walls of
buildings and public places for this purpose. These could
then be recorded with data by persons using a laptop
or similar hardware. The lack of anonymity, the effort
for the hardware and the change from file distribution
to message transmission should be considered and revised
in the project.
The Dead Drops project is to be revised so that the
overall concept meets the new requirements. The work
focuses on the project goals that are decisive for the
completion of the project. The anonymity of users will
be further developed, considering various techniques and
procedures. The installation of the hardware is simplified
and limited to a minimum of effort. The aim is to reduce
costs. The last task involves switching from file
distribution to messaging.
To get a more detailed overview of the installation
process of a dead drop, this information
[was studied first](http://www.instructables.com/id/USB-Dead-Drops/).
The following points have emerged as worth considering.
The installation of the hardware takes a lot of time. For
the installation quite a lot of materials have to be bought
and brought to the installation point. A dead drop user must
have at least the appropriate hardware (laptop) to access
the USB stick embedded in the wall. In most cases, access
is cumbersome to difficult and cannot be anonymous.
After several reviews of different data transmission standards,
near field communication (NFC) was classified as relevant for
the project. This removes some of the points mentioned above.
The NTAG2162 is inexpensive (pcs./1.00€), easy to install on site,
requires few [additional materials](https://cyber.equipment/)
and the tag can be accessed via smartphone. It was decided
against the laptop, because nowadays a majority of people use a
smartphone, which usually cannot be claimed by a laptop.
Disadvantageously it turns out that the NFC tag can be read by
most smartphones without software, but an additional app must
be installed to describe it.
In order to communicate with the NFC tag and to keep the project
effort as low as possible, external software solutions were
accessed. The [NFCMessageBoard](https://github.com/mofosyne/NFCMessageBoard)
app was installed to save and retrieve messages. The software
is an open source application that can be downloaded free of
charge from the Internet. To secure our tag sticker against
manipulations, we still need the
The backup is done with a password. One problem is that users
need to have the expertise of an app installation and other information.
In addition, the user manual can only be transmitted via the Internet
or verbally. This problem should be reconsidered after the project
has been completed.
During the research of the positions some points could be
defined more exactly. In order to achieve the greatest possible
effect, places should be selected that have a scene or suitable
target group. These include trendy bars, pubs, etc. To increase
anonymity, toilets were selected as settlement points. WCs have
an established cultural background through toilet slogans. We
transport this preliminary information to our project by giving
users the opportunity to contact other communication partners
offline via their smartphone. In addition, care was taken to
ensure that the tag is integrated into the surroundings and thus
merges with the town. This is intended to increase the service
life of the tags against vandalism. The following positions have
Since NFC technology is still in its infancy in Germany and has
not yet spread among the population, a representative result cannot
be assumed. Although attention has been paid to reach the largest
possible target group, they can only find out about the project if
they read this documentation or speak to the project manager personally.
People who see one of the stickers and can see the NFC tag below it
would be able to access the sticker tag. After six months it should
be checked again if the tags are still at the installation position
and if the tags were used (i.e. if there are messages on the tags)
only after that a final conclusion of the project can be published.
After another check in the field, all stickers (except for University
of Essen) were still available. Unfortunately, no data could be
extracted because no one described it. This project has failed.
If you want to carry out a project in this form again, you have to
increase the digital attention and the number of stickers in order to
generate a statistical relevance. Nevertheless, even on a very small
scale it can be indicated that near-field communication outside the
economy is not in the focus of subcultures and can therefore rather be
described as a niche product.