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[liberationtech] Chromebooks for Risky Situations?

Brian Conley brianc at
Wed Feb 6 11:36:18 PST 2013


Plenty of Syrians do have internet access, and use it on a regular basis.

Also, lack of appropriateness for one use-case doesn't necessitate lack of
appropriateness across the board.

Linux is a great solution for many use cases, but as has been elaborated,
quite a terrible one for many others.


On Wed, Feb 6, 2013 at 7:44 AM, Andreas Bader <noergelpizza at>wrote:

> On 02/06/2013 04:24 PM, Tom Ritter wrote:
> > 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.
> >
> > -tom
> > --
> >
> But you can't use it for political activists e.g. in Syria because of
> its dependence on the internet connection. This fact is authoritative.
> For Europe and USA and so on it might be a good solution.
> --
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Brian Conley

Director, Small World News

m: 646.285.2046

Skype: brianjoelconley
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