Hackers Find Missing People For Fun

– [Interviewer] What
do you think happened? (sighs) – [Nathalie] I have a father
that is missing since 1988 on Father’s Day. – [Narrator] Every year, hundreds of thousands
of people go missing. People like Nathalie’s father. – [Nathalie] The police told
us the only thing we can do is report him missing. I was so upset. – [Narrator] There aren’t enough resources for the police to find everyone, so people like Nathalie are left to search for their missing
people on their own. But now a group called Trace
Labs brings together hackers from around the world to use their skills to find real missing people. They’ve turned it into a game, where participants find
clues in exchange for points, and it’s working to help find them. (mysterious music) (phone rings) – [Nathalie] One night my best
friend called me and said, hey Natalie, did you
heard about Trace Labs? They look for missing
person, it’s hackers. I said, what? So, I wrote a email to Robert Sell. I said can you help me? And he said yes. – [Rob] I think because
I’m in search and rescue, I get to see things
that most people don’t. I get to see all the
people that go missing, and as I was paying attention to that, I noticed that there’s a lot
of people that go missing that we never look for. I always wondered who is
looking for those people if I’m not? And sometimes it’s nobody. (mysterious music) – [Narrator] The person
behind Trace Labs is Rob Sell. He’s a tracker for search and rescue, and a computer security professional. – [Rob] Trace Labs
became really a blending of those two passions. – [Narrator] As a tracker, Rob looks for little clues and details that paint a bigger picture about a person’s direction
of travel, their speed, or state of mind. Trace Labs takes the same
approach to online searching, finding little details about
a person’s online activity can add up and help lead investigators to their current location. – [Rob] We’re addressing all
those people that go missing that nobody’s looking for right now. (sirens scream) (intense music) – [Narrator] Rob started Trace Labs as a way to educate people and get them involved in the process of open-source intelligence
gathering, or OSINT. – [Rob] When you go to
a typical conference, a security conference, there’s so many different
things you can do, you can learn how to hack a car, how to hack a voting machine, whatever you wanna do is there, yet that effort is wasted in a way, because it’s not used for anything else. What we do is we take all that effort and we put it into something that’s actually gonna benefit society. Good morning, how you doin’? – [Student] Good how are you? – Not bad, Rob Sell,
nice to meet you Chris. – [Narrator] Rob organizes events like this Capture the Flag game, where participants use OSINT techniques to collect data that could be used to help find missing people. – [Rob] So open-source intelligence, it’s information that you would
find online on the subject. – [Narrator] As participants
gather useful information, they’re awarded points
towards winning prizes. Even seemingly trivial
data can be important in tracking someone down. – [Rob] Quite often, we’ll see a person will get
put into human trafficking, so we’ll look for their picture, because usually we can see their tattoo or some sort of sign on their body where we can identify them. Contestants that come in
will say, wait a minute, are these real missing people? And you can see their mind
change, where it’s like, wow, we’re actually changing people’s lives. – [Narrator] For this event,
Rob has brought together numerous hackers and
security professionals, all working to find whatever data they can about these missing people. – [Rob] We collect information
on those missing persons, and then give that to law enforcement to help them to locate
those missing persons. – [Narrator] Nathalie’s father is listed among several other missing people the contestants are looking for. He’s been missing for over 30 years. – [Rob] So, those are gonna be tough, and you may get very
little information on them at the end of the day, but I think any little bit that we get that we can submit to law
enforcement could help. So, when you think of
your digital footprint being out there, there’s
a concern there sometimes, but in this case, we’re using it to actually
locate those people, so the more we have of you, digitally, the better off we are in some ways, right? – People are actually helping out while they’re having fun, right? – [Rob] Yes. – Although it’s a serious issue– – Right.
– It’s a great initiative. – Yeah. – [Narrator] In the years
since Rob started Trace Labs, they’ve provided law enforcement with data on dozens of cases, even information about the
current whereabouts of people. – [Rob] What these people
here are doing today is really helping law enforcement
to locate those people, and that’s something the
families can really appreciate. (mysterious music) – [Narrator] After two days, the team finds no new
information on Nathalie’s father. But groups like Trace Labs mean you don’t have to search on your own. He’s still listed, and
contestants are still looking for any data they can find. Sharing that burden for even a day or two can make all the difference in the world. – [Rob] We’ve gamified
something very serious, which on the face of
it doesn’t sound good, but it was the only way for
us to achieve our objective of crowd-sourcing hundreds of people, and bringing them in
for that focused effort to locate that child or elderly person or whoever it might be. Anywhere I can push that envelope and allow us to do better, I
feel pretty good about that. So, hopefully this
inspires people to do that. – [Nathalie] Just to know
that Trace Labs, stranger, they would do research for
my father, I was touched. I don’t think I’m gonna
stop looking for him. I will never stop. (light music) Thanks for watching! If you like this video, don’t forget to subscribe to Freethink for more great videos every week.


  • Freethink

    What do you think of the idea of open-source intelligence?

  • Jason O

    Have police stopped looking for your missing loved one? Have you lost all hope in finding them? Well continue losing hope with Trace Labs! Don't believe us? Here's a story of how a woman seeked help using trace labs, and watch how we tell her we can't find her father. It didn't work for her, and it won't for you!

  • Jason O

    Woman: My Father has been missing for 30 years
    Hacker: How old was he when he went missing?
    Woman: 60
    Hacker: That will cost you 5000000 points

  • Ryan Derek

    This is a great thing

  • Kingedi Edi

    And how is this for fun , If u look at the title

  • Valentina. rx


  • Humpy And Bex

    WOW Well done! Hats off you you Sir!

  • throwaway113

    can you please find a person that goes the by the name of Shima Luan, there has been no trace of her for 3 years now, her last appearance on twitter was may 2016, all i know is that she lived in queens, new york
    please find her

  • Fisher Space Pen Co.

    Please find my friends son! His name is Landon League. Landon disappeared from Las Vegas, Nevada on June 23, 2008. He was abducted by his non-custodial mother, Victoria League-Lopez. A felony warrant is on file for her.

    A photo of Victoria is posted with this case summary. Her date of birth is August 20, 1977, making her 30 years old at the time of Landon's abduction. She's described as Hispanic, 5'4 and 125 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. Victoria may use the last names Lopez and/or Lopez-Garcia. She has a scar on her lower back.

    Victoria picked Landon up from his father for a weekend visitation. Later, she called Landon's father to say she was "moving some stuff" and asked if she could keep the child a little while longer. Landon's father agreed. He never saw his son again. Victoria took him and fled.

    Victoria and Landon may be traveling in a blue 1998 Toyota Corolla with the Nevada license plate number 523UAG. They may be in Guadalajara, Mexico. Victoria has several relatives in Mexico, as well as one brother in California.

    There is some concern for Landon's safety, as Victoria has a history of domestic violence. Landon's whereabouts are unknown and his case remains unsolved.

  • Edmund Singleton

    There was once upon a time as an aid to help  find missing children, their image would be
    placed on the side of milk cartons, I remember a news report from that era, a
    mother did not think her offspring would be found or even searched for. Her reasoning,
    her child would not be considered very attractive. Every time a missing person’s
    story is reported on the news, just as it was  yesterday, I keep thinking she was correct, and
    her suspicions seem to still be right all these many years later…

  • Kobe Productions

    What if they don’t want to be found?

  • Tiim Smiith

    How many points do you get if you find tupac?

  • BSM44

    Awesome keep going love& light

  • The Mak

    Hackers when they find someone missing: lol I win

  • Sea Bass


  • 峻明

    How can i contact these people?

  • Cruz Azul


  • Josh Evans

    i wouldnt work for the goverment if your hacking screw that they pay me maybe 5000 dollars per find then i might i would wear a mask tho

  • Chris Praster


  • Sada Holli

    This is amazing.

  • TheMzwilj2

    I'm looking for my missing son

  • TheOldnic



    around 19 years of age in 1944




    Picture soon after finding the Somerton man in 1948

    Two people completely different but interesting (taken around a month before Somertan beach man died in 1948)



    1935 the man between the girls conforms to other people similar to the Somerton beach man essence European Greek , the man to the right is short and a Northern Irlander



  • Andrew Jackson

    Why did the cameraman make Rob look autistic?

  • Jay Viescas

    What are all these cynical whiners bitching about?? General forensics uses many elements of game theory to help solve crimes. There isn't only one approach to pattern recognition and predictive observation (scientific method) otherwise video games wouldn't be as popular and addictive as they are, Pokemon Go, anyone? Not to mention behavioral profiling. I find it refreshing that hacking isn't shown to be just a "bad" thing but a tool for helping as well.

  • Alvin Wine

    That is good helping like that as long as it is not abused and technology nowadays can be abused

  • The Tactic


  • bryan t

    Doubt you can find Tupac!

  • Sponge bob

    Doing the hard work for the cops who use all there spare time to then go harass and kill the citizens of America.
    Oh and they get paid 200, 000 or so for doing it. xD

    How much do trace labs get in donations grants and funding I wonder?

  • Macio Luko

    How are they doing with the Missing 411 cases?

  • syed sarwar hussain

    Energy in right direction

  • robocoplays

    Macbooks? Hmmmm…

  • Golen

    damn I was expecting them to find someone like proof? Hopefully they found her father at the end? But nope…just an advertisement with no evidence

  • Violeta Cardenas

    This didn’t prove anything! They said they have found people in the past but they never said who like how tf are u gunna lie about this shame on them

  • Jan Kelly

    Gods bless that man x

  • Marissa Bones

    At least someone is trying

  • Thomas Fluskey

    Why havent they found Madeline then.

  • Organic Soul Gumbo

    This was so damn vague…

  • Divina Garcia

    In situations like this is it good for a person to have tattoos to be able to find them easier or to identifie them in some sort of way 🤘🤘🤘

  • Bugsy Siegel

    Wow interesting

  • Brittney De Shea

    There are armchair detctives on Reddit that do this totally for free.

  • Reallyreeta

    Can you find my dad? He’s been missing since I was born

  • Crying Hippy

    I want in!

  • MiaPlays202

    Well this isnt dark at all

  • Bill Burts

    How does a guy missing 30 years ago have a digital footprint?

  • DeenanTheKemon I

    My older brother is a computer programmer and a hardcore software enthusiast, he is a monster with a PC. He used to delete random peoples facebook accounts, out of boredom. These are the Smartest people on Earth , some tend to forget that.

  • Miamiala

    that sounds interesting

  • Nebula Wolf

    Yay for cool hackers. Kudos! ❤️

  • Kindyl Hogan

    I get adds for this stuff bro

  • Fayen G.

    wow, purge could never

  • morty

    My dad left 8 years ago for milk and cigarettes can you find him?

  • morty

    So you told that lady you could help and found fucking nothing…. docked 5 points

  • Weston Ney

    I often leave hair bands, playing cards, and my underwear all over the woods when I go missing…

  • • Swirlyy •

    Alright, cool. Now can they find Hopper?

  • Kazzy


  • Lavajo skatez

    Isn't kind odd tho that it says for fun in the title, like bruh

  • animerlon

    This is just an ad.

  • Villigar

    We do that a lot

  • Mystery girl

    The ppl who unliked this vid is stupid

  • Judes Xo

    This is a really great idea that you have initiated Rob!! So many bright minded hackers that could heavily assist

  • Joannas Arcamedes

    finally someone who actually says yes i can help….not many like that….

  • Joannas Arcamedes

    ok im a bit disappointed…no one actually does any physical ground work…

  • • r o s e •

    Just think that those people could possibly have been on your Instagram page at one point, looking for a missing person.

  • Boo It’s me!

    Professor: Anyone who can find this person gets 200 points

    Hackers: Bet. Acrylic nail sounds

  • Brendan Janvier

    deadass almost broke down when i saw my best friends name 4:08,i miss you so much jordan, respect

  • Ţhə Fãłłən Åřtıst

    Hacking can be used for good and bad

    What is better for the greater good or the worse comment your reasons!

  • jah morris

    look up on youtube “Disparition de Robert Saint-Louis”

  • Sir Saxxum

    Who else saw the laval,quebec and thought of xqc lol
    Prob only me

  • Hello

    1:47 Can someone give me the name of this wifi card that he is using?

  • Zach Dippenaar

    Fucking cool

  • akio

    imagine: finding missing people gaming tournament

  • Hunter Maze

    Trace Labs seems to be a good way to track people who are missing. If I new more about hacking/coding I would totally try to join Trace Labs search for missing people.

  • AntiVaccine Kid

    Just ask 4chan users and Redditors for help

  • Satan

    If they gave robux for searching, imagine all the 10 year olds doing more work in a day than investigators do in a year.

  • Cosmo

    Plot twist the dad was a hacker

  • gheymer F

    Finding missing people to have fun

  • Jay Powell

    You should use your technology to track Madeleine McCann

  • gabe

    5:26 the most Canadian thing ive seen

  • arsenic

    hello hello if i go missing pls contract trace labs , i am only worth 1/4 of a point but it would be greatly appreciated. maybe.

  • Robert Owens

    If any hackers wanna help, Jacob lyon from Niceville FL has been missing since late 2015

  • Kwantum

    they arent hackers they're using trackpads

  • Patoodle2

    Girl don't worry! Have you checked the grocery store? Hes probably there getting milk!

  • kodak quotes

    "my father disappeared" lol yea mine too its not dat bad

  • Lloyd Johnson

    I can’t believe they didn’t even try to lie about finding her dad. At least make me feel good about watching the dang video

  • tiana !

    I wish I could do this and help people .

  • WhenYourKermitAndGay

    “Can you help me find my boyfriend?”
    “Yeah sure, yells at the manager how much points is he?”
    “Around 400!”
    “Sorry ma’am it seems like he was found dead”

  • Dohmzs

    “How we turned missing people to games”

  • Xeriee !

    Her dad must have been like 🚶🕛🕧🕐🕜🕑🕝🕒🕞🕓🕟🕔🕠🕕🕡🕖🕢🕗🕣🕘🕤🕙🕥🕚🕦🕚🕥🕙🕤🕘🕣🕗🕢🕖🕡🕕🕠🕔🕟🕓🕞🕒🕝🕑🕜🕐🕧

  • xerneos

    me : *goes missing*
    police searches through my history for clues to find me : she didn’t seem to leave any clues, her history only has tutorials for how to boil water, use the coffee machine and occasionally hentai.

  • AsianPerson3

    So…. Where's the hacking?

  • shove it

    Best thing I’ve Ever Heard 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

  • Daya

    I thought hackers doesn't want their face to be recognised by others.

  • Goat Btm927

    Well there went my last brain cell

  • Project Human


    Hacker: shift+del

  • Some Fire Freaking Pit

    Bless these people!

  • squidos team

    3:47 persons

  • OREO Chillz

    This is to good that I think it’s fake now

  • Joshua Wade

    So childish idiots… these guys are heroes spending time finding missing person instead taking all of your bitcoins

  • King Solrac

    the internet stay taking W's

  • Yoshi McDermott

    I wonder if there is something like this in the uk I’m proper interested

  • Ivan

    Really cool! 😁👍👍


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