Tear-down of a prison laptop

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2024/02/26/prison-laptop.html


But does it play Doom?


That security model has a very old school flavor.

BIOS flash revert, obfuscated mass storage whitelist; but apparently nobody was interested in doing UEFI signing or shipping with nonstandard secure boot keys so that it will just ignore anything not signed by the vendor or the customer’s MOK, not relying on device IDs.

Presumably comes down to being a weird specialty market where more typical appliance vendors and PC OEMs don’t have enough experience with what peripherals can be turned into shivs to compete effectively; and the threat model is mostly people with physical access and limited resources; rather than fretting about the possibility of bootkits or defeats of disk encryption on networked systems.


You just know that if Rob were incarcerated that would be the first thing he’d do.

Aside from the vintage shank museum he’d set up in the library.


Access to information is a base level experience that we expect for Americans. I wonder if there is an e-ink style reader to allow a large library for inmates … as well as training courses, computer chess, etc…


The devices exist, but the content is as predatory as you’d expect.


Everything should have a clear case option. I don’t know why this has to be reserved for prison kit.


A lot of electronics used to but they pretty much went out of style in the 1980s.


Well, that needs to come back in style.

My local Bernina dealer has a sewing machine display model with a clear case that I’m obsessed with, but sadly it’s a factory sample that’s not meant for sale.

(Granted a lot of modern devices wouldn’t look cool with clear cases because all you’d see is metal RF shielding.)


Well, that might start an interest in learning. Imagine being able to see so many resistors, capacitors, speakers, and circuit boards in so many products.

We’re a nation of consumers, and gosh darnit. Just use the sealed contraption; and if it breaks, buy a new one.

Swatch continues to have good sales of clear case watches. Ah, a Swiss made time piece of my own. :slight_smile: +All those cool AF gears and stuff. Luv.


Back when the iMac came out with its translucent shell and - curses! USB ports instead of ports that matched everything we already owned - there was the inevitable wave of everything being translucent for a while. My friends and I loved pointing them out at Fry’s.

Look - a USB phone! a USB stapler! a USB trashcan! What a time to be alive!

For some reason, probably totally unrelated, we didn’t go on a lot of dates in high school.


BUT does it come with industrial strength cleaning? I’d expect the keyboard chum to be a lot spicier than found on most used office equipment. :face_vomiting:

I always hate this as a kid. Something about it just repulsed me. I remember having a toy train where you could see the gears inside.

No thank you.

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I saw a cartoon or an animated clip a while ago, where the “Visible Man” model was brought to life by the Blue Fairy from Pinnochio and immediately sent everyone he met into fits of terror or vomiting.


Jesus Christ - that would be nightmare fuel.

Though we did have this, like, medical encyclopedia? And it had these acetate inserts you could flip that showed the various parts of the body. Skeleton, organs, muscle, blood and nerves, etc. That I though was cool.


Why do prisons even have laptops? So the inmates can use them in the privacy of their cells? I would think desktops in a monitored room would be more appropriate.

You sould (not!) pay a visit to the Museo Anatomico Eugenio Morelli in Rome.
No plasticky stuff or pixels on screens there, only flesh and bones - not for the squeamish.

I especially remember a “book” of actual sections of a human body: starting from the tip of the nose and going through all of it till the buttocks. Sort of a real, physical, CAT.


Why shouldn’t prisoners have access to basic 21st century amenities like a computer? It’s not like whatever they would do wouldn’t be heavily monitored (and likely monetized) anyway.


One of the operating systems available is called “Endless Justice” - those sentenced to life must see the irony when they boot up the laptop.

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