The USB Drive has become a ubiquitous part of our technological tool bag. All over the world, people use theses little sticks to save and transport all manner of digital information. They may be small, but they can be little lifelines to the traveling techno-workers of today. Most USB drives are simply designed. You may see an odd character-influenced one now and again, but for the most part makers only ensure that they are small enough to be convenient, and big enough not to get lost.
But for the German design collective dialog05, the USB is something much more. They see it as a representation of the public’s growing comfort and understanding of the technology they use on a daily basis. In their mission statement, they argue that a “USB culture” has developed as individual users create their own uses for the devices. Inspired by this democratization of technology, dialog05 has created the datenklau, a crowbar-shaped USB drive meant to represent the sometimes illegal activities that USBs are used for.
Whether it’s a teenager sharing a pirated movie with his friends, or a modern day whistle-blower downloading sensitive data that proves the wrongdoing of a major institution.The datenklau celebrates the USB as an instrument of theft in the digital age.
Whether or not you subscribe to dialog05’s interpretation, there’s no arguing the simple beauty of the datenklau’s sleek lines and white finish. It’s a stunning USB, and at the very least challenges our perceptions of an instrument we use every day. Not bad for a little hunk of plastic and metal.