Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Shedding Your Identity In the Digital Age

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the under-the-radar-sonar-and-lidar dept.

Privacy 138

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."

cancel ×

138 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

I think if you're really trying to hide.... (2, Interesting)

caferace (442) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222712)

... (and I did RTFA and the ones before) that getting offline (both 'net and financially) would be a wise thing. Seems like most people get tripped up by that, out of curiosity, cash troubles and loneliness.

-jim

Re:I think if you're really trying to hide.... (3, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223324)

getting offline (both 'net and financially) would be a wise thing.

Exactly. If you're really trying not to be found, staying away from communities like twitter and facebook are just the start. Otherwise, you might as well shout "Here I am, Look at me!" from the rooftops.

So, as the guy says in TFA (which incidentally is one of the better reads I have come across on Slashdot):
Had I shown that a person, given enough resources and discipline, could vanish from one life and reinvent himself in another?

I would have to say no. Ratliff is obviously somewhat dependent on social engagement (which he admits as a source of stress), but there are many who are a lot more self-contained who would require less in the way of social interaction, who I think would stay below the radar for a lot longer.

Hiding from the government is different. (3, Insightful)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222740)

Sure one might be able to hide from a group of relativly untrained people with no resources for quite a long time. But in my experience if someone is actually wanted by the police they tend to be found pretty quickly. The only reason so many get away is simply a lack of any real motivation to target that specific invidiual. This is why the bike you had stolen is far less likely to be found than the man who murdered his wife. In the end, a well trained force with authority and technology is quite difficult to evade in the long run. Especially without going life ruining stres and anxiety.

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30222882)

Actually a number of fugitives do manage do to it for up to 30 years in some cases. It does involve dropping contact with your fomer life, forging a new identity and the like. Depending on how far you want to go move assets to cash or diamonds or some other portable light weight material (gold is far to heavy). Then be sure you are a long way away, and off the beaten path i.e. a small town. Keep a low profile, drive so as to avoid attracting attention, don't use electronic media. etc. Living like a hermit with minimal human contact also helps. Spy agencies do provide good training on this with their deep cover agents. (In this case its government vs government).

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (4, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223102)

Yes very true, cash helps.
So many have family, lovers. Thats the key. the feds just sit back and wait. Sooner of later love conquers the best made plans.
Its also getting hard in places like Australia.
Federal agencies talk to each other and you need 100 points of ID for most things that make life 'ok'.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100_point_check [wikipedia.org]
After http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Israel-New_Zealand_spy_scandal [wikipedia.org] I would expect many parts of the world are more carful with new applications.
Most important too is to cut all web history. If your 'old' computer is found and they have your viewing history, that blog visit or new log in could be vital. Log all the sites you had an interest in and wait for common IP's.
Keep all internet usage in your new home bland and fit in with your new life.
Depending on your contacts and abilities you could start a few front companies and pass cash/diamonds along.
That would need travel to set up accounts and with face recognition, thats getting to be hard.
After making a company the option of buying a real third/second world docs opens up.
Always good for escape with real papers.

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (3, Interesting)

dilvish_the_damned (167205) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223438)

Only a few points of ID can get you started, and if you do it right you can use exactly one false document as a seed for the rest "authentic but false" documents. It takes time and a lot of hard work. It really has to be worth it to forget about your past. In this case only a fool would succumb to issues like past loves.

--dant

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (1)

krou (1027572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30224824)

I remember reading Mindhunter [amazon.co.uk] a while ago, and there was one particular story in there about a serial killer or rapist (can't remember which offhand) who claimed in his prison interview that, if he got out again, the police would never, ever catch him again. John Douglas (the FBI profiler) sat back, and took him up on the intellectual challenge, and went through his profile of the guy. He figured out that his crimes were deeply related to his father, who died many years ago. Douglas asked what would happen if he posted FBI agents around the prisoner's father's gravestone on his birthday, anniversary of his death, Christmas etc. The guy just grinned, and said, "You've got me."

Great book that, enjoyable read.

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (2, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223248)

and off the beaten path i.e. a small town. Keep a low profile

      I'm trying to figure this out. How exactly are you going to "keep a low profile" in a small town, where virtually everyone knows everyone else? You'll always be "that stranger". IMO a large city is better for anonymity.

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30223772)

There's a difference between a tiny town and a small-ish town. I'd guess that it falls somewhere around a population of 7,500, adjusted by maybe 2,500 depending on whether there's a mobile work population (i.e. railroads, labor-intensive farming, a college, or a factory). Less than that and news travels instantly; more than that, and there is room to vanish, especially if the person is either white and conservative-looking or Hispanic and willing to work a shit job and live in the slums -- seriously, even crap-hill one-elevator towns have their dirtier sides. It's a damn lousy place to hide for someone black or asian -- sorry, but too many of the residents didn't go to college and don't go to a real town often enough to get over face shock, and even if there's a neighborhood that caters to them, our fantasy fellow on the run is right back into tiny-town territory if they try to settle in there.

Anyway, to look at how someone would vanish themselves in a small town, we could start start with housing and a job. People are more willing to house roommates/lessees on little more than a handshake and the promise of steady rent payments in small towns, and their employers are less likely to do comprehensive background checks, because "nothing bad ever happens there." Thanks partly to sampling, it's entirely possible that they're right -- nothing bad HAS happened there since old lady Anderson shot her cheating husband 13 years ago. Necessities would be easy to come by; while outright dumpster-diving wouldn't be an option to cut bills (townies WOULD freak), adequate furnishings and suitable clothing (remember, small town) would pop up at garage sales, church fundraisers, and community auctions, since there aren't enough people around to make Craigslist a worthwhile effort. A smart rummager could walk out with a new wardrobe (plus a slightly coffee-stained sofa) for the cost of a nice dinner in town. Also, cheap crappy cars abound, so wheels would NOT be a problem. Plus, the local cops and clerks in such places are 90% local "good kids" and football stars who didn't want to spend 40 years at the bumper factory. They're more interested in keeping drunks off the streets and their depressingly tiny budgets balanced than in looking into an even slightly plausible background for some worker. A small town with a community college could also be a plus; NOBODY bats an eye at ordinary-Joe strangers in those places; they just assume "student" or "drop-out" and leave it at that. Plus, a college implies a library, perhaps with some half-decent research databases, which is a good thing as long as our avoidant soul is bright enough NOT to search for info on their old identity or acquaintances that way. Also, a small college suggests that there should be some sporting/gym facilities beyond just a basketball hoop and a baseball field, which aren't guaranteed in tiny towns.

Presuming that the person had a non-trivial wad of cash to begin their sojourn, it would probably be easier, safer, and cheaper to maintain something like a decent lifestyle on the run in a podunk town than it would be in a city. The paychecks would suck, but a very modest amount of big-city savings would buy some mild creature comforts for a LONG time. They could get the Internet for entertainment, so long as they dumped their old browsing habits and particularly avoided talking politics or spending money online. Whoever's on their tail -- PI, cop, or interested amateur -- could be assumed to be watching for someone to reach out for their favorite flavor of tea, shoes, or porn under an assumed identity, and a sudden request for a special blend of Pekot to be sent to Bucktooth, Nebraska, would be a dead giveaway. A day trip to a real town would be the best way to get something unique, or better yet, they could just learn to live with the generic Wal-Mart crap -- it's good enough for Joe Kettleson across the street. Speaking of the Joneses, a little community involvement wouldn't hurt; they could join a church or volunteer for something, and show up as friendly yet forgettable as possible. While they're meeting the natives, they would need to absolutely avoid being an avowed atheist, socialist, or intellectual, or anything else further "left" than John McCain. "I never thought much about that stuff" would be a perfectly acceptable answer to any philosophical or political question. In the same spirit, they wouldn't want to come on like an avid Limbaugh listener or card-carrying member of the John Birch society, even if that's how they really did feel -- that would stand out, too, however backwards the place might seem. Apathy to big issues would be the target.

Cities come with serious crime, real cops, and omnipresent surveillance cameras. Everything's more expensive, and nobody's in a terribly giving mood. Any charity or homeless facilities are likely to be swamped, and while there's a certain degree of anonymity available (and even extra opportunities in that vein), it's more likely that any single serious error in obfuscation is going to be noticed and reported by someone. There's a reason why serious criminals keep turning up in small towns, living as upstanding community members -- it works. Under enough heat, no cover is perfect, and the newsfolks just love stories about "that nice man next door" turning out to have a necklace made of ears sitting in a safety deposit box 500 miles away. Nevertheless, if you consider that some of these folks -- serial murderers, cop killers, rapists, bank robbers, domestic terrorists -- are as hot as they come and STILL stay hidden for years or decades, it's got to look good for someone merely looking to duck a minor parole, ditch a vindictive ex, dump a rotten employment history, or dodge some bill-collectors.

Oh, and in case someone's getting a bright idea, don't take my advice too seriously, it's just an example to try to enlighten anyone who hasn't actually spent time anywhere "rural," and it comes with a conceptually irrelevant but practically significant poison pill. Don't try this at home, however you want to define "home."

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30224314)

Nice comment, I wish I had mod points.

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (1)

krou (1027572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30224834)

Great post, mod partent up.

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (2, Interesting)

LordAndrewSama (1216602) | more than 4 years ago | (#30224860)

posting what sounds like a lot of experience of being on the run is also not advisable ;)

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (1)

Kensai7 (1005287) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223362)

...some other portable light weight material (gold is far to heavy)...

What about Saffron [wikipedia.org] ? ...long the world's most expensive spice by weight... ...Saffron prices at wholesale and retail rates range from US$500 to US$5,000 per pound (US$1,100–11,000/kg)...

Damn, with one kilo of good quality saffron you can really have some nice vacation, without being stopped at any borders for illegal activity! :p

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30223536)

It also lets you plan long routes very efficiently, and disguises your eye color!

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30223736)

No, I think that's melange...

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223768)

It's almost impossible to resell, unfortunately. Who buys it on the street, or would trust you to cut it?

Gold has better weight/value ratio (2, Informative)

ickeicke (927264) | more than 4 years ago | (#30224380)

Gold still has a much better weight/value ratio. One kilo of gold costs more than 25.000 euros, so it costs more than twice as much as the highest quality saffron in your example. Gold also has much less issues with quality (easier to certify/quantify the quality), and is much easier to sell quickly. Besides, a private individual (as in: not a professional saffron dealer) selling large amounts of saffron might attract a lot of attention...

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30224820)

I bought two ounces of saffron for $6 in Morocco last year.

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (1)

Amanitin (1603983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223460)

Then be sure you are a long way away, and off the beaten path i.e. a small town.

Going to a remote place where strangers stick out the local community is exactly the opposite one should do. Color your hair, put on a fake beard and go to downtown New York.

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30225104)

move assets to cash or diamonds or some other portable light weight material (gold is far to heavy).

$100,000 USD of gold is ~2.6 kilos. Somehow I don't think the weight is going to be your biggest issue when dealing with gold as a fugitive.

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30222920)

actually 65% of reported murders in 2008 in the uk remain unsolved.
  source www.statistics.gov.uk

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222954)

"Unsolved" can mean a ton of things. I'd wager the vast majority of those are cases where they don't know who the culprit is, not where the suspect can't be found.

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30223880)

Or even where a suspect was found, but not enough evidence to convict him.

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30222994)

It's really not all that hard to avoid the police either. The biggest difference is that if you're hiding from the authorities you generally aren't too concerned with staying within the law while doing so, which opens up a lot of different options. For example, a bogus driver's license and social security number can go a long way & they aren't too hard to obtain if you are willing to break various laws.
As someone said, he basically had a neon sign on his head while doing this, and didn't end up getting caught despite all the efforts until he intentionally walked into a "trap" where he knew people would be looking for him. In addition, he kept most of his ties to his real life, where someone who was truly trying to disappear would have most likely not.

Hell, if he was really trying to go off the map, he could have just bought some camping gear and a month's worth of food rations and camped out in a remote location. Still, all in all it was an interesting experiment.

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223046)

heh, just google "garrido". Read it and weep.

Have no doubt, if you are on an "enemies list" (e.g. political enemy of the current power holder) you could very well be toast.

However, if you are a common criminal, no matter the magnitude, I have no doubt you can escape justice for a long while, if you are clever.

Fortunately, most fugitives are not "clever".

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (1)

MasterLock (581630) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223146)

Where's Osama?

Hiding seems to be working for him

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30223184)

If he was killed shortly after 9/11 during US bombings, would the terrorists give that away? Would the war-mongering armies? Lots of his videos seemed to be vague about time of recording. I don't watch much tv, though,

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (2, Insightful)

skine (1524819) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223370)

Us starting a war in Iraq instead of looking for him seems to have worked for him too.

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (3, Funny)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223794)

Where's Osama?

Hmmm... has the government thought of checking the logs of the 'Where's Osama?' facebook page? There might be some useful clues in there.

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (4, Interesting)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30224148)

Where's Osama?
Hiding seems to be working for him

An Egyptian newspaper ran his obituary a while back. I don't know how credible the newspaper is though.

And Benazir Bhutto, while being interviewed on the BBC by Sir David Frost (yeah, that Frost. Of the Frost v Nixon fame) mentioned in passing that Bin Laden was dead. (This was Nov 2nd, 2007, shortly before she was killed by the way.)

Frost didn't say anything, didn't even acknowledge it (which might lead some to believe he already knew this) and the interview carried on as normal.

Later, the BBC transcript of the interview left out the references to Bin Ladens death.

When numerous complaints were sent to the BBC from viewers who saw the interview live, the BBC didn't deny that the section had been edited from the interview. They simply claimed there was nothing nefarious about it, and that interviews were frequently trimmed for length. They didn't comment at all, about the Bin Laden aspect of it.

True story. Video is online, google has multiple copies, etc...

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (4, Insightful)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223764)

The truth is that we don't really know how successful police really are at "catching their man".

For all the fancy "Police investigation" TV Series where the good guys always end up getting the bad guys, in the Real World the only feedback we get comes from the media, and while they will happily publish news of the kind "Dangerous Murderer Caught" they don't exactly tend to publish news of the kind "Five Years Past And Dangerous Murderer Still Loose".

Broad statements about how the police always catches their man when sufficiently motivated probably result of an outsider perception which was build upon from an information flow where successes are loudly celebrated while continuous failure is hidden and silent.

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (2)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225140)

Yes they do. You just haveto read more than the headlines to catch it. Since it isn't breaking news tv stations won't showit but newspapers usually have a short article on them.

It iswhy I have stopped watching tv news. They are more talk show than news reporting. And since they are talk show they become self censoring.

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225274)

Maybe things are different where you are but in the UK most of the police forces nationwide publish crime statistics annually on their website.

While serious crime generally does tend to get cleared up, most of the forces have an absolutely lousy rate for non-violent offences.

Re:Hiding from the government is (not) different. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30224212)

You claim that it's hard to hide but the FBI's statistics show that about 20% of the MURDERERS got away with it in 2008. Sure, they solve a "Cold Case" from time to time but you probably won't get caught if you can survive the "First 48".

The about 20% comes from the FBI's claim that there were 16,272 murders and 12,955 arrests in 2008.
http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2008/index.html [fbi.gov]

Re:Hiding from the government is (not) different. (4, Insightful)

Tellarin (444097) | more than 4 years ago | (#30224910)

There is a clear difference between hiding if people know who you are
and getting away with murder if the police does not know you're the one they're looking for.

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (-1, Troll)

coolforsale125 (1686038) | more than 4 years ago | (#30224962)

http://www.coolforsale.com/ [coolforsale.com] Dear ladies and gentlemen Hello, In order to meet Christmas, Site launched Christmas spree, welcome new and old customers come to participate in the there are unexpected surprises, look forward to your arrival. Only this site have this treatmentOur goal is "Best quality, Best reputation , Best services". Your satisfaction is our main pursue. You can find the best products from us, meeting your different needs.Ladies and Gentlemen weicome to my coolforsale.com.Here,there are the most fashion products . Pass by but don't miss it.Select your favorite clothing! Welcome to come next time ! Thank you http://www.coolforsale.com/productlist.asp?id=s76 [coolforsale.com] (Tracksuit w)ugg boot,POLO hoody,Jacket,Air jordan(1-24)shoes $33,Nike shox(R4,NZ,OZ,TL1,TL2,TL3) $35,Handbags(Coach lv fendi d&g) $35,Tshirts (Polo ,ed hardy,lacoste) $16 free shipping,Thanks!!! Advance wish you a merry Christmas

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (1)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225086)

most police work is nothing a genius needs to do, but a lot of repetitive work digging through thousands of potential clues until you find the one you need. few years ago a doctor was murdered at a playground where i used to play as a kid. the initial suspect was the soon to be ex-wife due to a messy divorce in progress

the police took the bullet and lifted a partial print. they couldn't match it in the computer database so they dug through thousands of paper arrest records until they got a match. turned out the ex-wife's uncle was arrested years ago for jumping a NYC subway turnstile and got caught. he was interviewed and said he was in the city but left the day before. too bad the cell phone tower logs had him near the playground at the time of the murder.

reminds me of a Law and Order episode. most of them gloss over the details, but in one episode Lenny had to call hundreds of pizza joints or something like that until he got a break

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (1)

moeinvt (851793) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225112)

"... in my experience if someone is actually wanted by the police they tend to be found pretty quickly."

How many times have you been caught?

Re:Hiding from the government is different. (2, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225306)

Most crimes go unsolved, whether it's your bike, someone breaking into your house, even murder. Many "solved" crimes are unsolved; Former Illinois Governor (now Federal prisoner) George Ryan stopped the death penalty in Illinois when it was found that half the men on Illinois' death row were innocent -- the real killers were (and are) still free.

Note the last line in this news story [sj-r.com] and many others: "No arrests were made immediately following the attacks." Ther still haven't been any arrests.

You must remember (5, Interesting)

Whiteox (919863) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222758)

The point is that Ratliff still used the net incognito, which was important in this comp. I suggested to Wired that this be a yearly event, much like Cannonball. This first one attracted a lot of interest and made use of social websites as a tool. Fascinating sociology.
He could've after all, hid in his mum's basement.

Re:You must remember (4, Interesting)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222832)

i think that bears repeating, really the only reason he was found is because he pretty much did the digital equivalent of walking around with a neon sign on his head.

The average person can dissapear quite effectively from pretty much anyone except the govt or groups with similar power.

Re:You must remember (3, Interesting)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222964)

    Yup. It's pretty easy to disappear. Don't go out where you'll be seen. Give traces where you aren't.

    You know, it's not very hard to send a trusted friend your credit card and cell phone, and tell him "Use the card every few days to pull out $40, and deposit the cash once a month at a different branch.. Call your girlfriend/house/friend from my cell every few days just to chat."

    Now go camp out at another friends place, where you won't be expected. It's really not that hard to disappear for a month at a friends house. TV, internet connection, and they bring you food and other necessities that you pay them for in cash.

    If the heat is on, hoof it, catch the first morning city bus to a used car dealership. Buy a car with cash, and drive on the temp tag for a month. The more common the car, the better. Buy gas and food with cash. Go across the Canadian border in an obscure location (there are plenty of them). Trade the car to a sea going fisherman for passage to somewhere else. Greenland ... Iceland ... Europe. If you're slick about it, you can be sitting in Germany, drinking down good German beer, and laughing about the fact that they're still checking for you in Los Angeles, where you bought the car, or Chicago where your friend is using your credit card and cell phone.

    Pick up day labor jobs. Maybe the fishermen will let you stay on board for a month in exchange for a cot to sleep on, and food to eat.

    Is email really that important? Read it on your own server somewhere with pine over an SSH connection 4 steps away in distant lands. (i.e., sitting in Germany, shell into Russia, to Canada, and then to your box. Keep the neon signs saying "I'm here" flying in all the wrong places.

    And no, you wouldn't guess where I'm sitting right now. :)

Re:You must remember (1)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223088)

And no, you wouldn't guess where I'm sitting right now. :)

Hmmm... lemme guess... "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean no-one's following you?!?"

Re:You must remember (2, Insightful)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223222)

There is plenty of intelligence sharing across borders these days. Some of it has cooperation at either end, some of it does not. Also the willingness to share depends entirely on the reward for sharing - money, politics, blackmail, good will, etc.

Those hops you're making through distant lands, in all probability there are logs on either side of the machine that can be massaged together to form a nice little picture of the next and previous hops. It might take a while, but if you communicate with your old life, chances are good that you'll get found if there is a big desire to find you.

That said, you can remain illusive for life as well, but you have to sever every single tie to your old life and start anew. The only person you can ever hope to trust enough is yourself in that regard. Sure you might have accomplices willing to buy throw away cell phones and such, but every extra brain in the mix is one that can give you up.

If you want to be sipping the German beer because you pissed off a village chief somewhere, then you have to give up the old life and maybe only ever speak of it on your death bed.

Re:You must remember (0)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223226)

And no, you wouldn't guess where I'm sitting right now. :)

Answer: In a chair.
What do I win?

Re:You must remember (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30223280)

you don't win anything. a chair is what he is sitting upon, not where he is located.

Re:You must remember (2, Funny)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223580)

His computer room then, do I win?

Re:You must remember (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223664)

Easier: "Atmosphere."

Re:You must remember (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30223754)

And no, you wouldn't guess where I'm sitting right now. :)

I would have wagered your mom's basement, but too obvious. So, I'll go for the can. What do I win?

Re:You must remember (5, Insightful)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223836)

Yup. It's pretty easy to disappear. Don't go out where you'll be seen. Give traces where you aren't.

        You know, it's not very hard to send a trusted friend your credit card and cell phone, and tell him "Use the card every few days to pull out $40, and deposit the cash once a month at a different branch.. Call your girlfriend/house/friend from my cell every few days just to chat."

Depends on how badly they want you vs how badly you want to stay hidden... "JWSmythe (446288), in this bag we have one of your girlfriends fingers. In 9 days she will run out of fingers. Please get in touch with us.". s/girlfriend/someone_else_you_care_about as required.

I hope I never have to stay hidden from someone who wants me at any cost.

Re:You must remember (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30223936)

And no, you wouldn't guess where I'm sitting right now. :)

Too bad, because I just made a guess. Slashdot poster... let's see, how about "your parents' basement"?

Re:You must remember (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30223962)

wingnut detected

Re:You must remember (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30224046)

Behind 7 proxies perhaps?

Re: you wouldn't guess where I'm sitting right now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30224070)

I'm a guessin' south-west US, perhaps Florida near the Green Swamp

"guessin' south-west US, perhaps Florida" (1)

centauratlas (760571) | more than 4 years ago | (#30224616)

If YOU are the one looking for him, he is surely safe, oh geography master. ;-)

Re:You must remember (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30224490)

And no, you wouldn't guess where I'm sitting right now. :)

Your mom's basement?

you're in the faroe islands (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30224758)

working at a salmon fish farm

duh

Re:You must remember (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30224978)

"Go across the Canadian border in an obscure location (there are plenty of them)."

Assuming the crossing is successful (the border is monitored), a car with temporary U.S. tags being driven on the Canadian side *may* draw some well-justified attention from any passing police car for a variety of reasons. They'd probably wonder if it was a stolen car, for example. Any time you parked it somewhere you'd be running a risk of the local RCMP saying "that's odd", no matter how small the town. (Hint: definitely don't visit a Tim Horton's). It might be better to ditch the car and walk across, and then buy a car with cash on the other side (although you'd have to get Canadian money first, and there would be a trade off between remoteness and convenience getting equipped on the other side). Or, if you were to plan ahead, travel to Canada some time before to *get* some Canadian cash and keep it handy, and either steal a Canadian plate or make a fake one to install on your car.

"Trade the car to a sea going fisherman for passage to somewhere else. Greenland ... Iceland ... Europe."

Any fisherman is likely to be suspicious of such a deal, especially if it has U.S. tags. Ports are places where all sorts of shady business happens, and any captain is going to be justifiably suspicious, because they get significant fines if caught helping that business. What if you're a criminal fleeing the authorities? Yeah, great to have you on board, I hope you aren't a murderer! What if the car is stolen? They'd have nothing. And what are they going to do with a car sitting in Canada anyway? Finally, if you think such a ship would not be inspected upon arrival back in its home country, you could be in for an inconvenient surprise, especially if anyone picks up your trail enough to figure out your departure point. You'd be better off to simply offer "work for passage" to get on, and claim you want some adventure. Less suspicious. Maybe after being on board for a while you could judge whether or not you might be able to offer a large amount of cash to be dropped off in a dingy at night at the edge of some foreign harbor and row your own way in to shore, but it would be a huge risk. If it worked, worst case, the captain could claim you fled on your own and keep the cash exchange secret (a story you could suggest to him).

None of this would be easy. Once you are crossing borders and traveling in foreign lands there are all sorts of things that could go very, very wrong. I mean, you could be casually ordering in a small restaurant in a tiny near-border town in Canada one day, and innocently ask "What's poutine?" The local RCMP officer's ears would perk up, they'd wonder who you are and where you were from, watch you as you went back to your car, and run the plates just to be sure...

Re:You must remember (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30223014)

"The average person can dissapear quite effectively from pretty much anyone except the govt or groups with similar power."

Actually you're wrong.

It's easier to disappear from the government than it is to disappear from a determined
person who is looking for you and doesn't care how much it costs or how long it takes.

All the government will typically do is wait for you to appear on a database, or
for some cop to run your info during a routine stop. But if you make sure you
don't drive a car, and you don't use anything which can be traced to you, you can
most assuredly hide for quite some time.

As any skip-tracer will tell you, what gets people caught when all else fails is that
they don't change their habits, despite the fact that they may have changed everything
else. So, if you used to go golfing a lot, or bet on horses at the race track, you have to
give all that up if you want to stay hidden. Essentially, you have to cut all ties to your
former life, and that includes "who you were" in terms of behavior. Most people will get
lazy or lonely and slack off on this, and that's when they get found.

Re:You must remember (4, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223168)

Most people will get
lazy or lonely and slack off on this, and that's when they get found.

Yep. According to TFA, he overheard some searchers looking for him at the soccer game. And he was ultimately undone by his uncommon need for gluten free foods. Both of those were ties to his "old life". (Not that he could give up having celiac disease.)

The other trick is: don't look back. He gave up instantly on people who could and would have helped (girlfriend, family) but not on the dedicated searchers. He seemed to have a need to keep track of the people tracking him, and he certainly got sloppy with tor. That might have been necessary for the "interesting story" aspect of this, but he could have gotten all the emails and facebook stuff after the fact from his editor. As it was, it was this aspect of his paranoia that led to his failure.

I did like that he was somewhat clever enough to use a "hard-to-google" alias (but not impossible: googling for "gatz -gatsby -fitzgerald" would remove much of the noise.) I'm envious of a friend (last name Smith) having a name that is completely invisible on line. If you want to search for him, you have to know more about him than just his name.

Re:You must remember (2, Insightful)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30224344)

He seemed to have a need to keep track of the people tracking him, and he certainly got sloppy with tor.

You know, if the police were after you, and you had a police band scanner, or some other way to see what the police were doing in their efforts to track you down, I think you wouldn't be able to resist the temptation to use it. A lot.

One thing that concerns me... (-1, Redundant)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223422)

One thing that concerns me is how easy it was for everyone to hack his credit card records. He doesn't make any comment in the article about this, but if I were in his position, I would be concerned about the ready availability of that information to anybody that wasn't a law-enforcement agency. I wouldn't be so alarmed about a gmail account, but most banks here (Australia) tend to block internet access after a few failed logins, and it's a criminal offense for bank staff to release details of customers' accounts.

Re:One thing that concerns me... (2, Informative)

secondhand_Buddah (906643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223502)

They weren't hacked. They were published on a blog.

Re:One thing that concerns me... (2, Funny)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223574)

You're right. Not sure how I managed to miss that.

But in any case, this isn't the kind of information that should (I hope) be available without a court order...

Re:You must remember (1)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223098)

>> or groups with similar power.

Yep this is ./ Don tinfoil hats now.

Re:You must remember (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223672)

Organized crime groups aren't tinfoil hat material.

Re:You must remember (1)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223340)

The average person can dissapear quite effectively from pretty much anyone except the govt or groups with similar power.

As it turns out, you don't need to be the government to get access to restricted data. If you read TFA (it's a good read), there are a few instances where the Hunters managed to get data that they shouldn't have, and in fact very likely illegally obtained it. They got the license plate from his car and his flight itineraries, swearing up and down in both cases that it wasn't illegal (which is a strong sign that it in fact was).

You don't need to be the government to track someone, there are plenty of people willing to commit crimes to access the same resources to find you.

Re:You must remember (3, Funny)

rcamans (252182) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222926)

Nah. He's a geek. We would have found him there in a minute. After all, that is where he lived.

Re:You must remember (2, Insightful)

smitty777 (1612557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223256)

I agree. The whole point of the Wired article this was attached to was on just how easy it is to disappear. According to the article (which is a fascinating read), the reason most folks get caught is because they don't fully distance themselves from their old lives. They eventually get lonely, bored, tired, and try to call or email someone, or use an old credit card. If you fully wanted to just "walk away", you could, but you'd have to really walk away. The point of the contest was more for fun and publicity. Like Whiteox said, he could have easily just sat in his mum's basement for a month, but that wouldn't have been any fun at all.

Slashdotters have him beat (3, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222924)

Writer Evan Ratliff tells how he managed to hide from crowdsourced searchers for 27 days.

This guy's got nothing on the average Slashdot reader. Not even the sunlight is able to find them in their basement dwellings!

three words... (3, Insightful)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222974)

Osama Bin Laden

Re:three words... (2, Funny)

Jazz-Masta (240659) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222992)

Osama Bin Laden

Osama uses Tor.

Re:three words... (3, Insightful)

CrAlt (3208) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223078)

I don't think that guy would be risking even being around an area thats populated enuf to have internet access let alone be logging on himself.

My bet is he is in some remote place using SNEAKER-NET with many relays each not knowing anything about the hops before or after their own relay to get info in and out.

You can't go down to the local internet-cafe being one of the most wanted and recognizable men in the world and expect some program like TOR to protect you.

Re:three words... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223158)

You know, I have never seen a picture of him without his beard. It seems a bit much for OBL to be sitting in a cave looking exactly like the guy on the videos.

Re:three words... (1)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 4 years ago | (#30224564)

My bet is he is in some remote place using SNEAKER-NET with many relays each not knowing anything about the hops before or after their own relay to get info in and out.

Actually, he's dead.

Re:three words... (2, Interesting)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223462)

Osama Bin Laden could easily have been dead for years. However, he was more useful alive to those pushing for military action, so it's unlikely that anyone would have admitted his demise.

Re:three words... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223544)

Three words: what the fuck?

they don't want bin laden found (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223882)

Huge can of worms there. Trial. Evidence. Saudi connections etc.
End of the war. End of funding.

Re:three words... (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30224354)

How do we know the guy is still alive?

FasTrak in the trunk? (1)

trentblase (717954) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222988)

That's definitely not a "sure" way to prevent a signal, unless the duffel bag also happens to be a faraday cage.

Getting careless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30222996)

The article demonstrates why only a tiny minority of us would be able to hide from determined hunters - we lack the discipline to accept the price of hiding on a continual basis. Ratliff mostly stopped using anonymizers and tunnels because they were annoyingly slow and this ultimately got him caught.

Re:Getting careless... (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223030)

Ratliff mostly stopped using anonymizers and tunnels because they were annoyingly slow and this ultimately got him caught.

More like Ratliff wanted his life back and decided what he was getting paid wasn't worth it and so he deliberately left more and more clues as to where he was so he could go back to his life.

Re:Getting careless... (3, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223198)

More like Ratliff wanted his life back and decided what he was getting paid wasn't worth it

Yeah. What if everybody lost interest and stopped looking, and he was stuck in Outer Nowhere, working in a warehouse.

"You mean nobody remembers my Round the World Walk?" - old cartoon from Punch, showing a guy in hiking gear in the lobby of a big London newspaper.

You can't find everything online.. (1)

CrAlt (3208) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222998)

I understand he had to keep logging on to give the hunters at least some hints...

But

Things would have been 100 times simpler if he just didn't have a laptop or used his ATM cards. If he just pulled out all his cash,smashed the laptops and hit the road no one would be even able to tell what state he is in. He would have been able to go to where ever and make new real life friends. Every lead the hunters got was from weblogs and social networking posts.

If your addicted to the internet then ya... you can't hide forever. But if your a normal person with half a brain and CASH you can very easily get lost in the noise.

Re:You can't find everything online.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30224778)

Even if addicted to the Internet, some tips on mitigating the trail:

1: Dump the current computer he was using and buy another one. This is so his wireless MAC can't be traced. Even if using the same machine, he should consider reinstalling the OS or using a different one. Lots of websites don't just use cookies, they use shared objects in Java, Flash, Shockware, ActiveX, and many other add on protocols to re-identify a machine. Even if those are cleared, some add-ons have enough access to send up identifiable data on a PC (BIOS serial, MAC address of wired/wireless NIC, CPU serial, installation ID, SID of machine, etc.) Even the choice of OS might be important. Running XP, Vista, or in a year or so's time, Windows 7 will help hide a person's web hits, as opposed to an OS that isn't that popular. (Oh, and the user agent in the browser doesn't fool all sites. Some clever sites actually can catalog a browser by how good/bad it can render and figure out from there what a person is really running.)

2: Get a credit card with an alias. Some credit cards that people buy at 7-11 want a metric ton of paperwork. Others, since they have your cash, don't really care. This might be hard because people are using these cards as ways to commit fraud and try to launder money, so most companies require your SSN. You might be best off buying a store card from a place that has almost anything you would need (Wal-Mart). Another advantage of having store cards is that it looks less out of the ordinary when buying large purchases than paying with wads of $100 bills. Be careful though: Some store cards expire. Others start charging a fee like $10 a month until the card is exhausted.

3: If you like online games like WoW and such, most have a way to buy time cards from a Best Buy or whatnot. I don't recommend playing your old chars and account, but you can start clean with a new copy and expansions, as well as a few game cards to ensure a while being able to play. Oh, and don't go back to the same servers as your old guys. Start somewhere completely different, and try a completely different class than what you normally had.

4: A number of electronic devices will phone home to their maker, so ditch the well worn iPod and buy something not attached to your old identity.

The most important thing to remember, above those rules stated above is that cash is king. With all the chance of chargebacks, bounced checks, or other ways people can renege on purchases with other methods of payment, someone handing over greenbacks at a shop is *very* welcome anywhere in the US [1]. If you don't have cash and start using cards with someone's name on them, then the audit trail appears and someone, somewhere can likely start cross-referencing stuff. Some retailers will have "memory lapses" if they are asked questions about a frequent paying cash customer, which can't hurt.

[1]: The only exception are people who use large bills requiring tons of change back (like a $100 bill for a $1.50 purchase), or people who make the merchant think that they are passing bogus money, forcing the merchant to have to call a bank to verify notes serial by serial. This tends to tick merchants off and/or make them suspicious enough to make a suspicious person report to local authorities. However, paying four $20 notes for a $75 purchase will make a retailer happy, as that means one less credit card transaction that can be charged back without warning.

How many hermit thrush bands are there? (3, Informative)

liquiddark (719647) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223024)

Seriously. [wikipedia.org] What the heck? [wikipedia.org]

Read TFA... (3, Interesting)

downhole (831621) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223054)

I read the article in the paper version already. IMHO, he was found mostly because he insisted on "flirting" with the people looking for him and his previous identity.

Also IMHO, it's entirely possible to really disappear, even from a serious Government search, BUT in order to do so, you must be willing to truly forget about every single aspect of your previous life, forever. You have to be dead to every person you ever knew before the disappearance, and you have to forget about every hobby you ever had and every job skill and qualification you ever had. Hope you don't have any identifying medical conditions, tattoos, or disabilities either. You'll have to build up a completely new version of all of those things. And being able to put together a nice pile of cash (at least $1k, preferably closer to $10k) sure helps. Very few people have the discipline, will, and perhaps sheer insanity to actually carry this out, probably only a handful of Government spies/agents and a few of the most dedicated criminals around... I know I probably couldn't.

And if you're really in that much trouble, it's probably easier to just move to a non-extradition country and live there as yourself.

Re:Read TFA... (3, Interesting)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223426)

This is mostly true, we make people disappear all the time. As much as people think these programs are poor, and useless it's called the witness protection program. And those people who go in, go away forever. Occasionally someone does bump into someone they knew from +1000 mi away, but it doesn't happen very often. Sure the world is a small place, but it's not as small as most people don't think that you can't lose yourself forever if you really want to.

The first step is to kill all existing traces of your existence. House/car/lines of credit. Everything goes to cash. Anything you own, goes to cash. All bills are double laundered from the proceeds. You liquidate everything, anything you can't sell is destroyed. Everything you use in travel/spending expenses is paid for in cash, you keep no receipts and refuse all receipts. You never travel from the closest airports, you also bunny hop through several dozen different terminals if you're using plane travel or trains. All rentals are disposable to another drop off point.

The individuals who run the WPP's are very good at what they do for a reason.

Re:Read TFA... (3, Interesting)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223812)

No, I'm afraid that Witness Protection is usually _temporary_. And the witnesses are not protected from government tracking: too much paperwork is shared with too many branches to rely on protection from other government agencies. Witness Protection is too expensive and too cumbersome for a bureaucracy, whether federal or state, to properly support indefinitely.

I can easily believe that the people who run the federal program are competent, but they don't live forever. Administrations change, records are leaked, and it's an expensive program: I'd be amazed if there are more than a dozen people who've been in it for more than 10 years.

they sorta cheated (1)

ProfBooty (172603) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225362)

I heard an interview on NPR yesterday detailing some of the rules.

They were able to find him because the wired guy "leaked" info regarding places that Evan had to show up at. At wired, they apparently get the NYT crossword puzzle one week in advance. Anyways, if someone solved part of the puzzle they could make Evan preform the same thing as what was listed as the clue in the crossword puzzle.

In this case, it was go to a book club event. It becomes way easier if you know where the person will be.

I could do it. (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223240)

It's not like anybody cares to find me, after all.

Most annoying quote of the piece: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30223322)

"Obviously the smarts and dedication of the hunters had overwhelmed my planning and endurance."

No, Mr. Ratliff. Your inability to stick to protocols like Tor gave you away. If you'd stuck to your original ideas, you probably could have made it for six months.

Penis Bird Costume Works Every Time! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30223354)

GNAA is proud to announce, the official penis bird costume, ready for Christmas!

Inspired by Slashdot's "Shedding Your Identiy in the Digital Age", you too can blend in with the other penis birds this holiday and EVERY holiday!

Join the crowd:

http://penisbirdidentityfuzzer.gnaa.org/i-want-my-complimentary-penis-bird-beak.html [gnaa.org]

GNAA recommends buying your costume now to avoid the holiday penis rush.

Did we learn anything? (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223382)

The epilogue in TFA says ordinary people can find a lot about you legally and I want to know, how? It seems like Thompson, his boss, posted every detail about his bank transactions and regularly posted his IP and I guess gave full access to most of his social networks to the hunters.

Without these obvious markers how could some random guy get access to this data? Is the lesson that you really have no privacy or just that you shouldn't give your password to you boss??

Penis Bird Costume Works Every Time! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30223394)

GNAA is proud to announce, the official penis bird costume, ready for Christmas!

Inspired by Slashdot's "Shedding Your Identiy in the Digital Age", you too can blend in with the other penis birds this holiday and EVERY holiday!

Join the crowd:

http://penisbirdidentityfuzzer.gnaa.org/i-want-my-complimentary-penis-bird-beak.html [gnaa.org]

GNAA recommends buying your costume now to avoid the holiday penis rush!!

_why? (1)

trouser (149900) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223410)

Now we know what that lucky stiff has really been up to.

Boring (2, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223428)

1. $5000 is not that much incentive. (Hell it wouldn't cover costs for a serious attempt. Many private investigators and bounty hunters wouldn't touch it). This would be much more valid a prize that would change someone's life - say $20 million.

2. People over-estimate the government's ability to track people down. Criminals seem to manage weeks, months or occasionally years in hiding. Mostly because the incentive for catching a petty criminal isn't all that great. Now if it were national secrets at stake that'd be different.

P3nis b1rd costume works every time! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30223436)

Gee enN Aye Aye is proud to announce, the official p3nis b1rd costume, ready for Christmas!

Inspired by Slashdot's "Shedding Your Identiy in the Digital Age", you too can blend in with the other p3nis b1rds this holiday and EVERY holiday!

Join the crowd:

http://p3nisb1rdidentityfuzzer.yourfavoritegaysinspace.org/i-want-my-complimentary-p3nis-b1rd-beak.html [yourfavori...nspace.org]

Gee enN Aye Aye recommends buying your costume now to avoid the holiday p3nis rush!!

Hiding is not vanishing (3, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#30223734)

I wish the media would stop using the words "vanished" or "disappeared" in regards to missing persons or people who do not wish to be found. People do not vanish, they are there the whole time if you know where to look. The photoshopped stills accompanying the article are certainly no help. This confusion of thinking is really bad IMO.

I'm rather surprised he got into a hostel, the one I tried in Venice Beach a while back demanded a passport instead of the valid ID that I presented - evidently the desk clerk didn't like my looks (I was a wandering longhair at the time) and I was denied service, just like you hear the old stories about lunch counters or the new stories about British soldiers.

PS the classic counter-surveillance technique is three right turns in a row. If the same car is still in your rearview mirror, you can be pretty sure they're following you. Detecting surveillance is one thing, evading it quite another. Of course, these days they just stick a GPS tracker on your car, which is why you need to go into an underground structure and change vehicles.

Dear Ratiff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30224262)

Are you running Treadstone? Who is running Treadstone now?

Sincerely,
Jason.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>