[OLPC Security] olpc security - wetware issues

alien alien at MIT.EDU
Fri Feb 9 02:54:04 EST 2007

If you can make a hundred dollar laptop, you should be able to find a
way to communicate a child's activities to its parents. Perhaps the
first two-second idea off the top of my head isn't feasible, but I'm
sure if a few talented people were to actually take the problem
seriously, something could be done.


Simson Garfinkel writes:
>A spoken report of the child's activities?
>On a laptop with 512MB of flash total? With a 300Mhz processor?
>And, like, the parents are going to know what to do with this?
>On Feb 8, 2007, at 6:42 PM, alien wrote:
>> No-- that's why I suggested the software could provide a "written or
>> spoken report of childrens' activity." I'm sure there are other
>> possible solutions as well, if we put a few creative minds on the
>> task.
>> s
>> "Simson L. Garfinkel" writes:
>>> Aren't you implicitly assuming that the parents can read?
>>>> Yes, the parents are likely to have little to no technical
>>>> experience. That does not mean that we can ignore them or attempt to
>>>> act "in loco parentis" when it comes to technical matters.  We must
>>>> provide tools and some basic educational material so that those
>>>> parents who choose to take an interest in their childrens' education
>>>> are able to do so.
>>>>> kids on online safety.  That seems like a better approach and  
>>>>> one that
>>>>> fits the goals of OLPC more than having software that attempts to
>>>>> restrict the children.
>>>> I agree that there should be an online safety campaign-- that's a
>>>> great idea, and certainly necessary. But I'm sure that if the  
>>>> trend of
>>>> online exploitation in the developed world is reversing, it is also
>>>> because parents in the developed world are becoming savvier, and  
>>>> have
>>>> been provided with tools by large companies which allow them to  
>>>> keep a
>>>> closer eye on their children's activity. Hence, in addition to an
>>>> online safety campaign aimed at children, we should also provide
>>>> educational materials aimed at parents, and provide them with the
>>>> tools they need-- which we already have-- that would allow them to
>>>> keep a watchful eye on their kids.
>>>> Brainstorming: envision, for example, a "For Parents" piece of
>>>> software on the system, which will provide either a written or  
>>>> spoken
>>>> report of childrens' activity, allow the parent to touch a button  
>>>> for
>>>> further detail on any one section, and with the touch of another
>>>> button will easily allow parents to modify access to a particular IM
>>>> buddy/web site.
>>>> s
>>>> Matt Anderson writes:
>>>>> On Thu, Feb 08, 2007 at 06:12:24PM -0500, alien wrote:
>>>>>> In the developed world, kids who are solicited online often become
>>>>>> real-life victims of their online "friends." There is no point in
>>>>>> distributing these laptops for educational purposes without  
>>>>>> some basic
>>>>>> safety mechanisms that will prevent their owners from becoming
>>>>>> victimized as well. A tool which enables parental monitoring/ 
>>>>>> controls
>>>>>> is a fundamental program and should be distributed by default with
>>>>>> each laptop. This is not "extra," and to fail to include it will
>>>>>> result in deaths. Really.
>>>>> My understanding was these computers would be distributed to  
>>>>> children
>>>>> who's parents would not be able to afford their own computer,  
>>>>> and who
>>>>> most likely are even less computer literate than the child who  
>>>>> owns it.
>>>>> How are they supposed to fit into what you are suggesting?  What  
>>>>> level
>>>>> of protection can they be expected to provide?  The control  
>>>>> could be
>>>>> given to the school or the government, but that doesn't seem much
>>>>> better to me.
>>>>> To me what you are describing is a user problem.  Kids in developed
>>>>> countries are falling for these sorts of online traps because they
>>>>> weren't given instructions on how to stay safe online.  Recently  
>>>>> that
>>>>> trend has been reversing because there have been campaigns to  
>>>>> educate
>>>>> kids on online safety.  That seems like a better approach and  
>>>>> one that
>>>>> fits the goals of OLPC more than having software that attempts to
>>>>> restrict the children.
>>>>> -matt
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