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"Science fiction operates a little bit like science itself, in principle. You've got thousands of people exploring ideas, putting forth their own hypotheses. Most of them are dead wrong; a few stand the test of time; everything looks kind of quaint in hind"
- Peter Watts

Burner Modem  
  A connection device that can be thrown away if necessary.  

We've all heard of burner phones, intended to be cheap enough to throw away after only one anonymous use. I think there is such a thing as a burner modem, but this is the first use of it in sf that I've read.

By their nature, unconnected computers don't need updating to comply with new laws. In turn, they don't hold software certificates for social apps, never mind traffic records. If you can link them to an external connection, you have a way to get online without checks. For Freya, this is an essential tool for information gathering - and the reason she carries a tiny burner modem, which can siphon nearby WiFi. The results can be unreliable, the connection unstable, but most of the time she can get a crude browser to run, and most of the time it does the trick.

This particular machine is definitely hit and miss. She hard resets the tower four times before it works...

From The Breach, by M.T. Hill.
Published by Titan Books in 2020
Additional resources -

Compare to this early expression of an idea from John Varley's 1984 story Press Enter - a telephony device that generates a new phone number every time it is used.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Breach
  More Ideas and Technology by M.T. Hill
  Tech news articles related to The Breach
  Tech news articles related to works by M.T. Hill

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