Take Something Out, Put Something In... Preferably Non-Explosive

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When I first heard about geocaching, I thought "They've made dead drops a game anybody can play!"

I didn't consider that not only did it give a cover for, say, terrorists to securely pass data around, the caches themselves could look like bombs if they're poorly placed:

In a game of global positioning called geocaching, the lowly treasure hunt has gone high-tech -- but it can also be a game of risk when terrorism-sensitive authorities find the goods first.

Scot Tintsman found that out when he stashed a green bucket under an Idaho highway bridge last September, intending to fill it with goodies for other players to find using Global Positioning System units. But before he could finish adding the requisite trinkets and log books and posting its GPS coordinates on the Internet, a bridge inspection crew found it.

Rounding a corner on his motorcycle to finish rigging his cache, he was greeted by a barricade of police cars and a bomb squad. He struggled to explain the misunderstanding.

"I got off my bike and three officers approached me very cautiously, hands on their holsters," he said. "I was trying to turn off my MP3 player and I think they were worried I was going for a detonator."

. . .

In November, a geocache outside a police station in Provo, Utah, met a bomb squad robot as its fate. It contained a toy gun, holster and nightstick.

In June, a bomb squad in De Pere, Wisconsin, used a robot-mounted shotgun to blast the lid off a suspicious-looking military ammunition box found in a park. It also turned out to be a geocache.

And on the night before the 2004 presidential election, police and the FBI spent hours questioning a man seen prowling along a fence at Los Angeles International Airport with a GPS unit. He was a geocacher from Vermont trying to stash a toy snake into a cache, placed five weeks earlier, that had already been visited by 463 people.

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This page contains a single entry by Chris published on January 20, 2006 1:46 PM.

You Are A Cipher. Apple Can Help. was the previous entry in this blog.

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