“You go ahead to the hotel. I’ll get him to bed,” Matt said. He lugged the man from the black car, bumped the door shut and patted on the roof. Only when the Uber rounded the corner, Matt searched the man’s pockets for keys. The air inside the ground floor apartment was saturated with lingering smells that hit his nose like a bowl of overcooked Brussels sprouts.

Matt lodged the man into the couch and quickly searched the place. Furniture was sparse and what was around was worn. Paint peeled off the woodwork, whitewashed walls were smudged. It was no more than two small rooms and an open plan kitchen and it breathed the atmosphere of poverty and neglect. The bedroom held a wardrobe, a mattress on the floor, and a heap of dirty laundry in a corner near the door-less en-suite, which was a mere shower stall and a sink. The shower’s sealer was stained black from mold and so were the sink’s drain and the tap. One toothbrush, toothpaste, shaving gear and an empty bottle of shampoo. That was it. The home of a single man. Matt positioned the three pinpoint cameras, two in the bedroom, one in the bathroom. That should be enough. He checked reception on his cell phone, before he moved the man from the couch to the bedroom. With two fingers, he slipped the man’s phone and wallet from the back pocket of his jeans and lowered the man onto the mattress. He flipped open the wallet and removed the cards one by one. A Dutch ID, a driver’s license, an ING bank card, and what looked like a supermarket’s loyalty card. No credit card.

Matt pocketed the cards. “I hope you ain’t too attached to your name, Jonathan Groen.” he said softly to the sleeping man at his feet.

The Dutchman moaned and turned to his side, balled up in a fetal position, his mouth slightly open.

Matt waited until the loud snores of an alcoholic filled the room, then closed the door to the bedroom.

The living room and kitchen didn’t bring any surprises. A passport was all he needed to find and he did within a few minutes. It sat on the desk in a pile of what looked like bills, most of them unopened. He took a picture of the lay-out of the envelopes over the old MacBook’s keyboard. He swept them aside and opened the laptop. The computer came to live when he touched its track pad. It took him a few seconds to hack into the Dutchman’s electronic banking account. “Jesus,” he muttered, smilingly, as he typed in the password. People had no clue what they gave away to websites and content providers. Tracking and tracing apps would quickly become as obsolete as the fax or the telex with people so willingly giving up their privacy. He dug deeper into the bank account. A couple of hundred Euros on a running account. No savings account. Nothing that indicated any source of regular income, at least not since over a year. The only unchanging spending was what seemed the rent of the apartment to a rental agency. The monthly transfers had almost depleted the account.

Before setting up a tunnel to the servers in the basement of his Palo Alto home, Matt installed spyware and tracking apps on the Dutchman’s laptop and cell phone. From now on, all internet activity of the computer would seem to come from the US. And he himself could track every single electronic movement of the Dutchman. He took out his laptop and quickly reprogrammed the microcontroller chip inside the Dutchman’s to disable the camera warning light. He checked the reception. He’d be able to spy on the Dutchman’s every move as long as he stayed in reach of the laptop’s camera. He positioned a pin-point camera in the room and one in the kitchen. He stashed a red computer bag under the desk, half-hidden in the dark.