[OLPC Security] Grey Markets: differentiation of legitimately purchased laptops

Jameson "Chema" Quinn jquinn at cs.oberlin.edu
Fri Oct 19 11:24:02 EDT 2007

On 10/18/07, Mike C. Fletcher <mcfletch at vrplumber.com> wrote:
> Mike C. Fletcher wrote:
> ...
> > Focusing back on the issue at hand:
> >
> >     We are looking at ways to provide a disincentive to grey-market
> >     sales so that the perceived short-term value is reduced, in order to
> >     allow the real long-term value to seem comparatively more valuable.
> >     The suggestion on the table is to alter the colour-specification
> >     file during production of the G1G1 laptop runs so that they all have
> >     a single distinctive xo-logo colour (white).  The regular run's
> >     colour-specification file would then *not* include that colour
> >     combination.
> >
> Official word from 1CC is that this change is not going to be possible
> in the short-term.  We cannot implement these changes for the first run
> this late in the process.  Which means the first run of G1G1 laptops are
> likely going to have regular colouration.  We will have to rely on other
> processes to reduce/mitigate black-market operations.
> Take care,
> Mike

That's unfortunate. I would suggest that the fallback position would be to
have a voluntary registry of legitimate G1G1 owners, freely available on the
internet (and even cached locally on OLPC servers?), and with initial signup
controlled by OLPC. Some positive measure like this would help stop a black
market in XOs from developing in the first place - as a solo machine, the
main attraction of the XO is the political statement, not the screen or mesh
or low-power-consumption.
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