Doctorow's SchoolBook Computers Created By Australian Govt

In a splendid display of hubris, the New South Wales Department of Education is starting to hand out the first of 240,000 "unhackable" netbook computers to high school students, a project that will continue over the next four years.


(Lenovo netbook computer)

Demonstrating whose side he's on, NSW CIO Stephen Wilson remarks that high schools are "the most hostile environment you can roll computers into". Therefore, the government has added asset-tracking software, GSM/GPS tracking, passive RFID tags, BIOS-embedded filtering and even non-Philips head screws to hinder attempted case infiltration.

The tracking software is also embedded at the BIOS level; it is administered through an enterprise services bus, which also connects the computer to the Remedy suite for asset management, Active Directory for authentication and Aruba's Airwave for wireless network management.

In addition to being equipped with famed software giant Microsoft's impenetrable and unhackable Windows 7, it also uses AppLocker within Win7 to dictate which applications may be installed.

Web access is filtered using SmartFilter plus additonal web filtering at the network layer. Finally, Microsoft's Forefront Antivirus technology is used to complete the netbooks' unbreakable ring of perfect security.

Back in the real world, however, efforts to take these "unhackable" netbook computers and turn them into devices that might be useful for young people getting an education are already underway. Tech sites are accumulating sidenotes, comments and suggestions already.

This entire scenario sounds remarkably similar to the SchoolBook notebook computers that were given to students in Cory Doctorow's excellent 2008 novel Little Brother.

I got back to class and sat down again... I unpacked the school's standard-issue machine and got back into classroom mode. The SchoolBooks were the snitchiest technology of them all, logging every keystroke, watching all the network traffic for suspicious keywords, counting every click, keeping track of every fleeting thought you put out over the net...

Cracking my SchoolBook had been easy. The crack was online within a month of the machine showing up, and there was nothing to it -- just download a DVD image, burn it, stick it in the SchoolBook, and boot it while holding down a bunch of different keys at the same time. The DVD did the rest, installing a whole bunch of hidden programs on the machine, programs that would stay hidden even when the Board of Ed did its daily remote integrity checks of the machines. Every now and again I had to get an update for the software to get around the Board's latest tests, but it was a small price to pay to get a little control over the box.
(Read more about Doctorow's SchoolBooks)

Hey New South Wales school kids! Look for "unhackable" computer hacking tips on sites like Slashdot and Hack a Day. Story via IT News Australia.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/28/2009)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 4 )

Related News Stories - (" Computer ")

Loihi Chip Mimics Human Brain's Neurons And Synapses
'You can hook a Thorsen tube into a control circuit... and the tube will "remember" what was done and can direct the operation...' - Robert Heinlein, 1956.

Brain Connected To Internet - ‘Brainternet'
Fascinating! or thoughts to that effect.

Koniku Kore, Mouse Brain-Based Chip, Detects Explosives
'As a matter of fact, this mouse is going to keep on thinking forever.' - Cordwainer Smith, 1962.

Siri Now Smoother, Perkier (Thanks, Deep Learning!)
'Good morning, Dr. Chandra. This is Hal.' - Arthur C. Clarke

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

effie Automated Ironing Appliance
'Household Automata received an urgent task to develop production units of бытовые тканевые разглаживатели - a household fabric smoother.'

BabyX AI Real Enough For You
'...what's to keep me from showing face, Man? I'm showing a voice this instant... I can show a face the same way.'

We Could Downgrade Puerto Rico - And Thereby Save It
'It was cheaper to pay the refugees to go without up-to-the-minute equipment.'

Pegasus, Nvidia Supercomputer For Autonomous Driving
'...a 2045 convertible with a Hennis-Carleton positronic motor and an Armat chassis.'

Loihi Chip Mimics Human Brain's Neurons And Synapses
'You can hook a Thorsen tube into a control circuit... and the tube will "remember" what was done and can direct the operation...'

Self-Assembling Bacteria Build A Pressure Sensor
Nature is a master of fabricating structured materials consisting of living and non-living components.

3D Printed Artificial Muscles Are Stronger Than Yours
Bots don't need to work out.

Fog Computing (AKA Edge Computing) Ad Hoc Networks
'The tiny devices chirped their impulse codes at one another...'

Dubai Scorpion Police Hoverbike Ready To Pull Young Kirk Over
'Is there a problem, officer?'

Korean Tesla Model S Video 'Excelsior' Is Indeed Our Motto
'Improving man by bringing him close to Nature, while they combine the sensations of coasting with the interest of seeing the country well...'

HEXA Robotic Help For Plants
Then some unknown race had chanced upon the dreamers and decided to "help them out."

DIY Robot Shoots You In The Face
'...there were automatic guns that fired ligamine darts.'

A Bayesian Approach to Safe Imitation Learning For AIs and Robots
Um, how about that pension for the humans who serve as the models for robot behavior?

Qoobo Headless Robotic Therapy Cat Was Anne McCaffrey's Idea
'...used as surrogates in intense dependency cases.'

Autonomous Cars Talk To Each Other At MCity
'My cars talk to one another.'

PUFFER Robots - From Philip K DIck's Second Variety?
'Across the ground something small and metallic came, flashing in the dull sunlight of midday.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.