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Portables Hardware Technology

OLPC Has Kill-Switch Theft Deterrent 138

Sid writes "Ars Technica reports that the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) XO has an anti-theft daemon in the OS that can be used to remotely disable machines, much like WGA. The Project added the kill switch at the behest of a few countries concerned about laptop theft. From the report, 'OLPC has responded to such concerns by developing an anti-theft daemon that the project claims cannot be disabled, even by a user with root access. Participating countries can then provide identifying information such as a serial number to a given country's OLPC program oversight entity, which can then disable the devices in certain scenarios.'"
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OLPC Has Kill-Switch Theft Deterrent

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  • by silentounce ( 1004459 ) on Monday February 19, 2007 @01:19PM (#18068694) Homepage
    Psshaww... Sony's laptops have much more effective kill switches [] than this.
  • by xtracto ( 837672 ) on Monday February 19, 2007 @01:23PM (#18068790) Journal
    I was able to do this and *much more* with Microsoft operating systems. I was able to turn off the computer, open the CD-ROM drive and even play sounds remotely using utilities such as black orifice or sub-seven.

    Gosh, this is nothing new...
  • by poopie ( 35416 ) on Monday February 19, 2007 @01:24PM (#18068798) Journal
    I can see the writing on the wall.

    Greetz griefers! Want to 0wn the n00b in your class? download this script and run it to disable anyone's OLPC.

    Here's what you do: ...
  • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Monday February 19, 2007 @02:58PM (#18070244) Journal

    The mechanism the laptop will use IS like the Tivo DRM (in fact there was a discussion on lwn whether Bitfrost is drm or not, and whether it would violate the GPLv3 or not). I believe Bitfrost WILL be GPLv3 compliant because the owner of the machine can request a developer key which will allow them to modify anything on the system (even remove the daemon). To prevent the thief from just requesting the developer key theres a 7 day waiting period (to confirm that the laptop hasn't been stolen) and then the key is issued. If the child already has the developer key, and then the key and the laptop are stolen, then the thief can disable the daemon themselves and get around the security. Also the developer keys are machine specific so stealing 1 key won't let you bypass the security on all machines.
    Interesting. But even without getting the key, I don't think they would have anything to worry about. The use of GPLv3 items either does place futher restriction on a GPLv2 or it doesn't. So far, It is being claimed that it doesn't to be compatible with a GPLv2 kernel in that it can still be distributed with it so the same rules could apply to TIVO or OLPC.

    Bitfrost is much more than just the kill switch and is actually quite interesting, and at least in theory sounds like it would be quite effective.
    I going to look more into it. It does sound like something that could be used in other areas. Like in chip manufacturing were a company (lets say soundblaster) could make one chip very well and limit the abilities on it to sell cheaper versions to the public. This could simplify the entire production process and eventualy make the product cheaper in the long run. Verry interesting indeed.
  • by that this is not und ( 1026860 ) on Monday February 19, 2007 @07:36PM (#18074736)
    I dunno. Is it printed somewhere in my Texas Instruments TTL Data Book? (hardbound, orange cover)

    Or am I not a 'geek' for not knowing key pop culture references?

    How many rhymes do you know that aid in remembering the resistor color code?

To be a kind of moral Unix, he touched the hem of Nature's shift. -- Shelley