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[liberationtech] Chromebooks for Risky Situations?

Tom Ritter tom at
Wed Feb 6 07:24:28 PST 2013

Nadim, I'm with you.  I'm not sure it's the perfect solution for
everyone, but like Nathan said, if you already trust Google, I think
it's a good option.

On 6 February 2013 07:12, Andreas Bader <noergelpizza at> wrote:
> Why don't you use an old thinkpad or something with Linux, you have the
> same price like a Chromebook but more control over the system. And you
> don't depend on the 3G and Wifi net.

We started with the notion of Linux, and we were attracted to
Chromebooks for a bunch of reasons.  Going back to Linux loses all the
things we were attracted to.

- ChromeOS's attack surface is infinitely smaller than with Linux
- The architecture of ChromeOS is different from Linux - process
separation through SOP, as opposed to no process separation at all
- ChromeOS was *designed* to have you logout, and hand the device over
to someone else to login, and get no access to your stuff.  Extreme
Hardware attacks aside, it works pretty well.
- ChromeOS's update mechanism is automatic, transparent, and basically
foolproof.  Having bricked Ubuntu and Gentoo systems, the same is not
true of Linux.
- Verified Boot, automatic FDE, tamper-resistant hardware

Something I'm curious about is, if any less-popular device became
popular amoung the activist community - would the government view is
as an indicator of interest?  Just like they block Tor, would they
block Chromebooks?  It'd have to get pretty darn popular first though.


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