What the barcode on your discarded boarding-pass reveals


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My God! Change his seats? What if the attacker puts him between two screaming babies? The horror!


Thanks - always wondered about this. Now it’s on my phone anyway since I’m always on the same airline I just have their app.


I must fess up. I’ve done this, but not with a ticket I found lying around.

I got a work phone some years back, and the previous owner of the cell # was some guy who owed a lot of companies a lot of money, because I was getting collections calls 4-7 times a week at first.

So after a few weeks I got curious, did some searching and a narrative arose about what had happened with this guy. He was some sort of real estate investment guy tied into the subprime meltdown. Mere weeks before I got his cell #, he lost his considerably large house, sold his Audi, moved, changed all his numbers and basically hid from everyone he owed money to. The utility companies, industrial hardware rental companies, all kinds of stuff really.

So a few months pass, and he apparently starts shopping around for new jobs, because I start getting confirmation calls about his flight reservations which mentioned his confirmation number.

Now, I was aware I could have really messed with him and cancelled his flights (I had his full name, home address, cell # and confirmation #), but that kind of violates my rules regarding harmless pranks. So I just gave him shit seats at the very back of the plane a half dozen times.

Eventually, I worked out his new contact info, and got rid of the collections people by giving it to them. They were too lazy to google it, which was annoying, but it was the only way I could get some of them to stop calling me. They really didn’t believe that I wasn’t him, didn’t know him, and and 0 to do with him.


Except for giving him shit seats. Which seems random, and mean and weird.


Random and weird, perhaps. Mean, only if you have a low bar for meanness.

Giving his contact info to the debt collectors is far more mean, but you seem weirdly fine with that.


Could have ordered him Vegan meals on this flights.


Why would someone discard something rather than holding onto them for years and years like I do…? (don’t tell my wife)


No, not exactly fine with that either, thnx


This goes along a bit with the Internet of Things That Lie story.
Systems built without understanding that they will be Gamed in a malicious manner.


You’ll be happy to know I don’t consider turning his information over to be particularly mean either. Just fair.


Be prepared to get calls ten years from now…
I could tell every time that his debt got sold off because a new round of calls would start -that went on for a couple years (the debt filtered lower and lower until it got to the really annoying bottom feeders). After the first few years, there were just a few random calls looking to serve him. I was feeling a bit unloved since I hadn’t heard from anybody for a long time, but just a few days ago I got a call.


Exactly. It was a good 2 years of the calls gradually tapering off when they started hot and heavy again, and I’d been in possession of his contact info for the better part of a year. He’d had ample opportunity to sort out his affairs, file bankruptcy–and I know for a fact he already had a new high-paying job as well. Completely fair come round 2 of collectors.


There’s an elderly couple in another state that has the same last name and initials as I and our email addresses are very similar. Either their handwriting is bad or they just don’t remember their email address but they’ve used my formerly spam-free address to sign up for a bunch of Fox News and church lists, which then translates to an influx of spam. I pieced together their full contact info from various unsubscribe webpages; what should I do with that info?


Write them a nice email explaining their mistake? Or maybe just ignore it?


Figure out what their real email address is and sign them up for as much spam as possible? Preferably to MSNBC and Satanists?


I used to get emails from some lady who thought I was her daughter-in-law. I even got birthday gift cards for her grandchildren. She just kept insisting it was the right email, no matter how often I explained that wasn’t my name and those weren’t my kids. I finally had to hit reply-all on some glurge she’d sent, saying “Look, I do not know this person, can someone please give her the correct email address?”

I got a note from her saying I was “so rude”, and another one from someone on the email list saying they didn’t know who she was either.

I ended up abandoning that email address as being unwieldy so I have no idea if she’s still emailing it.


Sure it’s trivially easy, but that could be fixed by adding some DRM.

Sure it’s still trivially easy, but accessing it is now punishable by $500 in fines and imprisonment.

  • related question:

Would encoding the text in pig-Latin count as DRM?


When you get caught. That’s the important part.
When DRM is broken and there’s no lawyer/cop to see it, does it make a sound?


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