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Social Media Can Help You Fake Your Own Death 146

Posted by timothy
from the you-never-read-this dept.
Julie188 writes "We are inundated with warnings that social media is systematically stripping away our privacy. But Frank Ahearn, the so-called 'Dear Abby' of disappearing, is attempting to show folks how to use those same technologies to regain your privacy, even helping you go as far as faking your own death. Ahearn is a professional skip-tracer who has hunted down people like Monica Lewinsky. In an interview with Ahearn on Network World, he says, 'One can legally disappear through the use of corporations and offshore corporations. The idea is to embrace technology and to become a virtual entity.' My favorite tip is that New Zealand is the place to land once you leap off the grid. Not only is it far from most of the rest of the English speaking world, he says, but it also has great beaches."
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Social Media Can Help You Fake Your Own Death

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  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @11:08PM (#33582724) Homepage Journal
    Marge:"When I asked you if that Twitter account was to fake your own death you told me no."
  • Damnit (Score:5, Funny)

    by DeadBeef (15) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @11:09PM (#33582732) Homepage
    Where am I supposed to skip to if I'm starting in .nz?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Where am I supposed to skip to if I'm starting in .nz?

      I guess to the same place the rest of you Kiwis skip too... Australia. Slightly lower sheep:man ratio here but the weather is better!

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by jamesh (87723)

        Less earthquakes too.

        • Not Australia (Score:1, Interesting)

          by Dr Max (1696200)
          The problem with Australia, if you can get here (kiwis let every one in) is we have so many more asshole cops that want to check your licence at every set of traffic lights. Not to mention the obscene terror laws (that they use on anyone they want, no need for a search warrant in Australia), or the random pedestrian frisking and pockets searches.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by jamesh (87723)

            The problem with Australia, if you can get here (kiwis let every one in) is we have so many more asshole cops that want to check your licence at every set of traffic lights

            I've been driving for around 16 years now, and spend more time on the road than most people would. In all that time, aside from random breath tests (where they didn't ask to see my license anyway), i've been stopped around 3 times...

            The first was for no obvious reason, the policeman asked if i'd been drinking, didn't bother doing a breath test, and sent me on my way despite the fact that my car was obviously not quite up to roadworthy (bald rear tyres for a start). Didn't even think about asking for my lice

            • by Viridae (1472035)
              I live in a major ciy. I see fewer police, have had fewer dealings with the police while living here than when I lived in a regional centre.
            • by Dr Max (1696200)
              Your city sounds great I’m going to move there. A certain Queensland city that will remain nameless has gone crazy with power. Your 16 years of driving is also an advantage cause a lot of these laws came in recently and the cops target a younger crowd (although they seem fairly indiscriminate when it comes to the pedestrian searches here).

              Bad cops should be shot (with a camera).

            • by dintech (998802)

              Hmm, you need to bazooka some trucks and get your GTA stars up to 3 for any decent response.

            • Re:Not Australia (Score:4, Insightful)

              by nedlohs (1335013) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @10:06AM (#33586442)

              Are you "of middle eastern appearance"? Are you under 25?

              No on both? Then yes the Autralian police are fine and upstanding providing a wonderful service to all Australians.

          • by Ian Alanai (1066168) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @01:41AM (#33583558)
            And the poisonous spiders that hide in the dunnies. And the poisonous snakes that hide in your shoes. And the poisonous jellyfish that hide in your togs. And the poisonous crocodiles that hide in the sewers. By god, it's no wonder they drink so much.
            • by cayenne8 (626475)
              "And the poisonous spiders that hide in the dunnies. And the poisonous snakes that hide in your shoes. And the poisonous jellyfish that hide in your togs.

              Ok, gotta ask, what are "dunnies" and "togs"?

              • by StikyPad (445176)

                dunny [dn]
                n pl -nies
                Austral and NZ informal
                    an outside lavatory

                tog (tg, tôg) Informal
                n.
                1. togs Clothes: gardening togs.
                2. A coat or cloak.

                • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                  by Dr Max (1696200)
                  Dunny is any toilet in Australia, and togs are swimwear which is where our other nick name for budgie smugglers, DTs came from (dick togs).
            • by mjwx (966435)

              And the poisonous spiders that hide in the dunnies. And the poisonous snakes that hide in your shoes. And the poisonous jellyfish that hide in your togs. And the poisonous crocodiles that hide in the sewers. By god, it's no wonder they drink so much.

              Sharks that can follow you 200 KM on shore, the dreaded Hoop Snake not to mention the suicidal and deadly Koala Drop Bear.

              Strewth, it's time for me lunchtime beer.

          • The kiwis certainly don't "let every one in." They have a points system. It helps to be an English-speaking, highly-skilled professional. But even then you're not guaranteed permanent residence. Granted, something like 20% of their population is immigrants, but they don't let everybody in.
        • by st0nes (1120305)

          Less earthquakes too.

          You mean fewer earthquakes.

    • by mirix (1649853)

      French foreign legion used to be the way to go, could try that out.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Northland. All the good weather of Australia, and a far lower aussie:human ratio.

      • by fj3k (993224)
        Northland summer: "occasionally rising above 30C"
        No wonder there aren't many Aussies there; the good weather of Australia starts in the 30s.
        • by youngone (975102)
          Yes, except that at 26c Northland is very warm, but pleasant. At +34C in Australia, its usually too hot to enjoy. Northland also has no poisonous things unless you count the Katipo spider, but I've never seen one, and I've been looking for 40 years or so. (Not continuously).
          • by Nursie (632944)

            "At +34C in Australia, its usually too hot to enjoy. "

            Says you! Some of us moved to Australia (from northern europe) specifically because of the heat. Mid 30s is just right. Anything under about 25 now feels a little chilly to me.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Kittenman (971447)
      Brother, if you're in NZ already it's almost like being dead.
      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Brother, if you're in NZ already it's almost like being dead.

        I thought I was dead once. Turns out I was just in Christchurch.

    • Re:Damnit (Score:5, Funny)

      by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @12:26AM (#33583264) Journal
      Fiji. You can go there and live off the land. There are some isolated islands where there is nothing but a bunch of villagers. They will take pity on your pathetic incompetence and give you food from time to time after you demonstrate that you don't know how to fish or open a coconut. Bonus if you're white because they think white person's flesh is not suitable for human consumption. Of course that is only a theoretical consideration since cannibalism hasn't existed in Fiji for over a century. Or so they say.

      (note: this post is based on a true experience someone told me).
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by MrKaos (858439)

        Bonus if you're white because they think white person's flesh is not suitable for human consumption.

        Funniest thing about this comment is people think it's funny.

    • by dark grep (766587)
      South Island, dummy.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Have you tried North Korea? When you disappear there, you're pretty much guaranteed never to be found in any realistic time frame, ever again.

      Of course, there IS that small matter of the funny neighbor with the odd glasses you might meet. He seems to insist that his name is "Dear Leader" or some such nonsense, and from what I've heard, he has a pretty bad temper. You might wish to avoid him.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by AK Marc (707885)
      You are a Kiwi and don't know? Perth, of course. Or Tasmania. Darwin? No one will go there looking for you. And you are already a resident there, sort of.
    • by tehcyder (746570)
      Anywhere.
    • by z_gringo (452163)
      Belize
    • by Type44Q (1233630)

      Where am I supposed to skip to if I'm starting in .nz?

      The answer should be obvious: Antarctica!

  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @11:13PM (#33582774) Homepage
    Even if you go off the grid the terminators will still track you down.. SkyNet will triumph. Neither Arnold nor Summer Glau can save you.
    • by monkeySauce (562927) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @12:15AM (#33583202) Journal
      That's what you think. Summer Glau saved me twice last night, and it was wonderful.
    • by antdude (79039)

      Summer Glau can terminate me any time! :D You know, they do have names: Cameron (unknown model) and T-800 (don't think it had a name?).

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by MaskedSlacker (911878)

        You know, they do have names:...T-800 (don't think it had a name?).

        So, what you're saying is, they do-don't have names?

      • by definate (876684)

        I love seeing the T-1000 in other movies. Me and my friends can never remember his name, and I think we don't want to, so every show/movie he is in we say "Sweet, the T-1000's in this show".

        Even if it's a comedy, I like to pretend that he's just really good a mimicking (or really bad at mimicking) human emotion.

  • by Seriousity (1441391) <Seriousity.live@com> on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @11:21PM (#33582832)
    It was revealed today that a member of parliament had been arrested for stealing the identity of a dead baby and thereby falsely obtaining a passport. [tvnz.co.nz]

    The Government here has a few thousand monkeys that spend all their time browsing through the various redundant overlapping government agency databases to catch you out for identity fraud, benefit fraud, unlawfully riding a train without a ticket or forgetting to tie your shoelaces in the morning. But yeah, we have some nice beaches, so it's worth the risk :D
    • by Psaakyrn (838406)
      They've all that, yet this happened in the 1980s yet only caught wind in 2005... I think you're perfectly safe there. :p
      • by taniwha (70410) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @12:24AM (#33583254) Homepage Journal

        Well to be fair he's a nutter, part of a right wing party that seems to have jumped the shark at this point, he was the proponent of our '3 strikes' legislation - when this was announced in parliament today there were shouts of "strike two".

        The main reason why the government started doing that in 2005 was because we had discovered that Israeli spies had been doing exactly that thing, getting fake NZ passports using the birth certificates of dead babies - the police went back through the records to hunt down any such passports, to cancel them to protect our citizens traveling abroad.

        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          he was the proponent of our '3 strikes' legislation

          To clarify, he was behind the "3 strikes violent crimes GOTO jail" and not the "3 strikes copyright infringement GOTO dark ages"

        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          "The main reason why the government started doing that in 2005 was because we had discovered that Israeli spies had been doing exactly that thing, getting fake NZ passports using the birth certificates of dead babies..."

          I seem to recall years back..there were a whole litany of things you could do with "dead babies"....?

    • Damn and I wanted to emigrate. So any nominess for a nice peaceful country with the strong possibility of anonymity?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Ian Alanai (1066168)
        Costa Rica, it has no army. And a good dose of tranquilo. And a Caribbean coast. And Latino lovers. And volcanoes, but they are very relaxed and not all uptight like the NZ ones.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cosm (1072588)
      Have you seen what the few hundred thousand monkeys here in the US has been doing lately? They make more [usatoday.com] than the private sector, apparently bean counting is a lucrative globally lucrative business.

      And I guarantee most of that extra income goes to...hookers [google.com] and blackjack [wikipedia.org]!
      • They make more than the private sector, apparently bean counting is a lucrative globally lucrative business.

        Not once you normalize the data for skillset and experience. Ironically, Republicans are usually careful to do this so gender pay disparity disappears, but not when it supports their theory. The same is true of Democrats in reverse.

    • Don't worry, it's not like anyone is planning to go to New Zealand. Faking a move to New Zealand can be just as good as faking ones own death.
  • Just a tip (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kindgott (165758) <`soulwound' `at' `godisdead.com'> on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @11:44PM (#33582998) Journal

    Don't buy this book on Amazon using your credit card if you do intend on disappearing. It might tip off anyone who does come looking for you.

  • Then NZ has great natural disasters.

    As well as great beaches.

  • Time & money (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wen1454 (1875096)
    The average person does not have the time to create disinformation or the resources to move to New Zealand. On the other hand governments and large organizations will find disinformation strategies very useful. It is only a matter of time before sites like wikileaks are inverted.
  • iendedi. s/istartedi/iendedi/g. Whoah!

  • Ad for his book (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aztektum (170569) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @12:16AM (#33583212)

    This whole 'interview' seemed very shallow with no detail. The interviewer kept pestering about illegal things which he kept saying "No, don't do that." and I kept saying "Well what would one do then?" Finally at the end he mentions his book with a link to where you can buy it.

    So, what is the point of this article then?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    NZ may be a great place to end up but it has a first-world intelligence and police service with very good databases. The French military naively thought they could wander round NZ in the '80s with no one noticing but just about every step these secret agents took was remembered, videotaped and documented by sticky-nosed busy-bodies. The best place to hide is in a crowd and with NZ being so underpopulated, strangers stick out.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      NZ may be a great place to end up but it has a first-world intelligence and police service with very good databases.

      Oblig. Tui ad "Yeah, right!"

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/politics/4124806/Inquiry-into-SIS-role

    • NZ does have one of the 7 bases of Echelon, but apart from that, their intelligence agencies suck.
  • by PPH (736903) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @12:40AM (#33583340)

    ... a bunch of phoney identities under which to wreak havoc. Meanwhile, keep your real name and reputation clean. When one of the 'evil' identities gets into trouble, kill it off.

    Set these up early in life and keep them going with minor activity. Loan a fake SSN out to an illegal laborer to stay on the books. Then, when you hit it big in Vegas, you record the income under the false ID. That person 'dies' (Hey, it was a Mexican gardener anyway), leaving no trace of the cash. Party with it using the next ID, etc.

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      That seems like a lot of effort for a very unlikely pay off.

  • Why not fake a birth and give this person a unique identity online? Complete with pictures, tweets, Amazon account, everything.
  • by westlake (615356) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @12:52AM (#33583384)

    New Zealand has a population of 4 million.

    73% of unmixed European descent. Demographics of New Zealand [wikipedia.org]

    Metro New York City has a population of 19 million, and is ethnically, religiously, and culturally diverse.

    Approximately 36% of the city's population is foreign-born. In New York no single country or region of origin dominates. The ten largest countries of origin for modern day immigration are the Dominican Republic, China, Jamaica, Guyana, Mexico, Ecuador, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia and Russia. The largest ethnic groups in New York City are African American, Italian, Jewish, and Irish.
    The New York City metropolitan area is home to the largest Jewish community outside Israel, and the city proper contains the largest Jewish community in the world. It is also home to nearly a quarter of the nation's South Asians, the largest African American community of any city in the country, and comprised as of 2008 a population of 659,596 ethnic Chinese. the largest outside of Asia.
    New York City [wikipedia.org]

    The Islamic population in 2004-2005 was around 600,000. Columbia Presents First-Ever Study on Muslim Political, Social, Religious Identity in NYC [columbia.edu]

    Manhattan has 354 million square feet of office space.

    But New York remains importantly, if less visibly, a manufacturing center. There are no unmarketable skills, however obscure.

    The fool on the run takes to the back roads, the Pacific, the Klondike - where the youngest child will point him out as the stranger. The one who doesn't belong. Doesn't dress the part. Doesn't act the part.

    • But New York remains importantly, if less visibly, a manufacturing center. There are no unmarketable skills, however obscure.

      However, if you want to remain cash only and off the radar - New York has few marketable skills, few places you'd really want to live, etc... etc...

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      And if you are a white guy of European descent?

      And no the youngest child is not going to point you out in NZ - tourists and migrants aren't uncommon at all.

  • by Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @01:34AM (#33583518)

    It's easy.

    Lord_of_the_nerf has changed his relationship status to Single
    Lord_of_the_nerf likes The Cure and Why Does Everyone Who Loves Me Leave???
    Lord_of_the_nerf's current status: *sigh* WHEN DOES THE HURTING STOP???
    Lord_of_the_nerf likes Schick Razors and Warm Baths

  • by Target Practice (79470) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @02:40AM (#33583812)

    And here I thought social media was used to fake a life...

  • it mainly helps you fake your own life.

  • FUBS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DynaSoar (714234) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @05:29AM (#33584338) Journal

    "We are inundated with warnings that social media is systematically stripping away our privacy."

    We are inundated with hair-on-fire cliches being used to preface a forced association between someone's inconsequential issue and some hot button topics and trigger words, in order to convince us that the association is valid and the issue is significant. Needing to use these is a good sign that the ensuing issue is too insubstantial to stand on its own.

    Fear, uncertainty and uh-huh.

  • One can legally disappear through the use of corporations and offshore corporations

    I read about this in that memo I got from the Department of Redundancy Department.

  • I mean, the place just rocks [bbc.co.uk]!

When Dexter's on the Internet, can Hell be far behind?"

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