paperkey // ? feature request

David Shaw dshaw at
Wed Feb 11 04:58:37 CET 2009

On Feb 10, 2009, at 9:51 PM, Robert J. Hansen wrote:

> David Shaw wrote:
>> I don't know if I'd go so far as to call it a GUID as it is only
>> unique relative to the vendor and device type
> Must be my luck, then -- the ones I've looked at have all had per- 
> device
> serial #s.

I suspect the better-quality or brand named ones are more likely to  
have real serial numbers.  The ones that I have without serial numbers  
are very much "no name brand".

>> There is also no guarantee that the host computer will log the device
>> serial number (modern Linux does, but you're more likely to find some
>> flavor of Windows in an internet cafe).
> Yes and no, I think.  E.g., China's internet cafes are being pressured
> heavily to use the government-approved Red Flag Linux.  There's also
> been talk in the press about the Russian government pressuring  
> internet
> cafes to give "more complete cooperation with law enforcement", which
> sounds like it could cover a whole host of badness.  On the other  
> hand,
> you have the very lax regulatory situation of the United States, where
> that sort of pre-existing relationship is hard to imagine.

Indeed.  Of course, even if the host does log the serial number, the  
log is less useful if the serial number is "FFFFFF" or the like.  Not  
that the lack of a serial number really changes the equation all that  
much.  There are half a dozen or more ways for someone to be traced  
through an internet cafe if the person doing the tracing is  
sufficiently motivated and capable.  The Timothy McVeigh example from  
earlier is particularly good here: the US government really, really  
wanted to find him, and fast.  That is certainly "sufficiently  
motivated and capable".


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