Olpc Panel presented at ShmooCon 2007

by Jason Scott (textfiles.com ), Sean Coyne, Ivan Krstic, Scott Roberts,

Tags: Security Panel

Summary : A Plenary Session on the Security and Social Impact of the One Laptop Per Child program
The Children's Machine, also known as the XO-1 and previously as the $100 Laptop, is a low-cost, power-efficient and durable machine developed by faculty members of the MIT Media Lab at the One Laptop per Child non-profit organization (OLPC). The laptop's purpose is to redefine learning for children in developing countries, particularly those living in the most remote areas and in the poorest of countries, by providing them with access to knowledge and modern forms of education. The laptops contain flash memory instead of hard drives and use a custom operating system based on Fedora Core Linux, which includes a new security architecture called Bitfrost. They are built to utilize wireless mesh networking, a form of mobile ad-hoc networking, to allow machines to communicate without requiring configuration by the user. The laptops will be sold to governments and issued to children by schools on the basis of one laptop per child.
What may be the consequences of such a massive distribution of computers to children in developing nations? A much larger Internet population in a few short years appears to be a certainty. Will tens or hundreds of millions of computers running Linux drastically alter the computer security landscape? What is the potential for the laptops to be abused by criminals or closed and oppressive governments? And how will the Internet affect millions of children who find themselves with access to a world decades ahead of their own culture?