Writer needs advice

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions - Site Assistance' started by Wal, Sep 20, 2015.

  1. Wal

    Wal
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    Hi everyone,
    I'm an already published writer now working on his first full length novel. However, I'm not very inclined toward the modern technical world, particularly with regard to communications. I'm working on an outline for my current project and I've reached a situation where I need help. I'd like advice from you clued in users out there to determine if any iPad or similar would do what my central character would require of the device. The story is a thriller, based in current times eastern Australia. For the purposes of this exercise we'll refer to the character as Bill.

    Bill is living totally off the grid, deep in the bumpy green. He has access to population centres, places he'd get good phone reception, on an intermittent basis. He needs a device which will allow him full access to the internet, in particular Google Earth and web based email such as Hotmail or Gmail. He has a system which will provide him sufficient power to charge items such as iPad etc. But Bill has a really curly problem, at least at this stage. It's imperative that his use of the device, particularly his email, cannot be traced. He can buy and register his device before he heads for the hills. He will only use it when he is down in the urban areas, lost in the millions. Down there he can use it then move so his location can't be established. He has no working bank account and wants no electronic trace back to him. So the basic question might be; is there any system whereby iPad or any other such device can be run like a pre-paid phone, without having a linked account as such? Just walk in to Woollies or Coles and pay cash for some more download and usage?

    As I said earlier, I'm not up to speed in this area and I'd like advice. I can write around this issue, but I really want Bill to have that contact. I like the iPad as a device because it's large enough to use comfortably and small enough to be unobtrusive. But would it work as I'd like it to, completely off the grid?

    I look forward to any advice you guys might have for me,
    Best regards
    Wal
     
  2. twerppoet

    twerppoet
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    It might work, or not. It would take a very savvy computer user to pull it off. Of course that's true of all tablets and computers, but more so with an iOS device that gives users fewer ways to trick the device.

    All the apps Bill needs are there, and he could probably use VPN and other services to avoid being traced back to a location. However to get apps he needs to have an Apple ID. It could be a false ID. But if authorities had a warrant, they could force Apple to release what info they have. Messages and encrypted stuff would be fairly safe, but any location data from the GPS or cell tower location data might be available.

    Of course this means that law enforcement would have to somehow identify the device account as belonging to someone they want to find. If he managed to keep the account so low profile that it remained buried in the million of other Apple accounts out there. And he could have several accounts, and switch between them. Even creating new, one time use, accounts.

    There is also the world of jailbreaking. On the surface there is little to help with staying off grid, but if you're willing to dive into the shadier side of things then who knows what's available. Even if I knew, I couldn't talk about it on this forum. But I don't. Not an interest of mine.

    All in all, Bill would find an Android tablet easier to bend to his will. If he's a bit of a hacker there is little he couldn't do that couldn't be managed on a laptop computer.

    My suggestion is that if you need to write detailed descriptions of what Bill does, then you're going to need a savvy computer nerd to come up with them for you. Otherwise just gloss over the details. While not compelling, it's better than writing about things you don't know or understand yourself. It's hard to be convincing when you do.
     
  3. Wal

    Wal
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    Hi Twerppoet,
    Might be worth the effort to just work out some low tech way for Bill to communicate, I suppose. I really appreciate your input, this entire area is not one I'm comfortable with. Everything I write is deeply researched as the reader will very quickly realise when the writer is 'waffling''along on a subject he knows little about. You've given me a couple of ideas, so I'll play around with those and see how Bill might utilise them. Very many thanks for some valuable tips.
    Wal
     
  4. twerppoet

    twerppoet
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    No problem. Good luck on the book.
     

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