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Hasan Elahi vs the FBI and his Blog Monitoring Himself

Written By David D'Angelo on Tuesday, January 15, 2008 | 1/15/2008

Hasan Elahi was once a terror suspect after the 9/11 attacks. He was investigated and subjected to several lie detector tests before he was finally released by the FBI. He was just nabbed and detained in a Detroit airport just because of a tip in which the former apartment he rented was reported to have contained explosives and an Arab walking out of it after the attacks.

After the rigorous ordeal, Elahi was released. Fearing another incident of such magnitude he decided first to call FBI and inform them about his every move, where he had been and where he will be going.

But technology had a way of doing that. So instead of sending it directly to the FBI, he decided to create a website, trackingtransience.net, in which those photos were automatically posted to a map, creating a visual tracking device of where he was at any time.

Elahi saw the act as protection, protest and art, flooding the web with so much information — photographs of every meal, every airport, and even public urinals that he used — that the very density of it all, while public and available for everyone to see, created a new sense of anonymity. He was hiding in plain sight. And while the photographs give away his location, they never include himself — only his point of view.

"You know exactly where I am, but yet, you don't really know where I am," he says, enigmatically. "So it kind of plays with this real beauty of telling you everything and yet telling you nothing."

For more detailed story about Hasan Elahi read Kevin Site's People of the Web: Hiding in Plain Site.

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