After 14 years, a puzzle to find a man has been solved

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/12/30/after-14-years-a-puzzle-to-find-a-man-has-been-solved.html

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The Laura Hall website you link to gives Phishing warnings.

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Fascinating that the key was reverse-image searching the original photo.

So much interesting stuff is going to be found by machines, soon.

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Especially since Pimeyes was released in 2007. I wonder what would have been found, if anything, if the image was run through at that time instead of in 2020. It also isn’t within the spirit of the game going this route instead of the six degrees of separation.

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I’m honestly surprised that it took this look to find him. I’m thinking of that 4chan thing a few years back where that guy stole some flag of theirs? He put in on a flag pole with a webcam pointed up at it, showing nothing but blue sky. He was trolling the trolls, I guess. Anyway, they all got together and found it fairly quickly on the other side of the world. They cross referenced stars visible at night with weather reports and seasonal changes that matched the visible sky, and maybe other methods to narrow it down to a 10 mile radius or so. Then they drove around playing a loud noise until they could hear that noise on the webcam and triangulated it that way. Impressive piece of work except that they’re all horrible monsters.

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The thing here is though, the flag was a stationary object constantly broadcasting video and audio of its location. While Satoshi was a guy who had a travel photo from his visit to a foreign place. So even tracking down where the photo was taken wasn’t useful. The fact it turns out he was the friend of an employee of the PR company that worked with the ARG creators really narrows your search options at the time down to being able to go through the ‘six degrees of separation’ to find him.

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I guess I thought given a name and a photo of a person, and all the tools of image search and social media that we have, that it wouldn’t take very long. Heck, if you had a photo of me, one reverse image search would get you my LinkedIn from the feed of our company holiday party last year. Five seconds later you know where I work. One public records real estate search of the county and you know where I live. It would take less than a day to be sitting in front of my house. I’m not even on social media and I don’t post personal info anywhere that I don’t have to, so it’s not like I’m the easiest case, either.

I guess it’s sorta comforting that it took 14 years to find this guy. :slightly_smiling_face:

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On further review, reverse image search is how it was done, but the breakthrough image wasn’t even around until 2018. So really, it’s just down to the fact Satoshi didn’t have his face publicly posted in many places that delayed the search for so long.

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This is precisely why I insist on keeping the front door locked and generally just being aware of who is passing through the neighborhood. Not that I’m in a who’s who of notable people or anything like that. But my wife works in healthcare and people do all sorts of weird shit when they feel shortchanged in any small way. I don’t trust em.

Yeah, the puzzle creator was being kind of a dick. There was no information on the card except the face and the name. Everything else was a red herring.

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