Threat Model: Parents

Cathal (Phone) cathalgarvey at
Sun May 31 02:33:04 PDT 2015

I'm not one to call parents who surveil children "Orwellian": a parent's job is to prepare a child for the world and protect them from the world. Some parent:child combos are trusting and the children are sane. Others, not; and it is *not* always the parent's fault if their kids aren't well-behaved human beings as teens.

That said, it's a teenager's prerogative to explore what it means to be an adult as they approach the day they take ownership of themselves, and to push boundaries and make mistakes. So, push-back and assertion of self and future rights is normal, too. 

On 31 May 2015 09:51:02 GMT+01:00, nerv <nerv at> wrote:
>On Sun, 31 May 2015 01:48:10 -0600
>Mirimir <mirimir at> wrote:
>> On 05/31/2015 12:15 AM, Cathal (Phone) wrote:
>> > Wipe the machine, install fresh and clean Linux, and then password
>> > lock the BIOS.
>> That's excellent advice ... to someone who owns the machine. I'd say
>> also to use LUKS. But maybe here that would dramatically escalate the
>> confrontation. And there's also the lack of physical security.
>> Zenaan's advice is more appropriate in a child-parent context. If
>> that's impossible, the best option is probably doing private stuff
>> elsewhere.
>I think trying to go against the parents themselves would be a bad idea
>unless you know they can be reasoned with, but having a look seems only
>fair, their children should know to what degree they should trust their
>I would personally use software such as process explorer and tcpview to
>get an idea of what is running (assuming they use windows here), but if
>you think the parents may be using something stronger than your usual
>parental control tool maybe booting the system from a live cd and
>having a look at what may be hidden from regular process managers
>(might be a bit extreme, I'm not sure any parent would go that far, but
>it will be pretty effective, and maybe less of a chore. If they really
>are monitoring all activity on the computer they might deduce that they
>are "busted", it might even "incriminate" you once they realize that
>their kids shouldn't know that much about computers.)
>In any case, the most likely is that they use some basic software and
>just "manually" check what was the machine used for, so a small
>introduction (if needed) about using computers (and the right
>tools) safely and cleanly might just be enough to stop Orwellian
>I never contributed to a mailing list before, hope I didn't fucked it
>> > On 31 May 2015 03:24:45 GMT+01:00, Gadit Bielman
>> > <thetransintransgenic at> wrote:
>> >> Hi.
>> >>
>> >> I'm trying to help (probably badly, but..) a friend deal with
>> >> parents that
>> >> they expect are spying on them.
>> >> I know that in general, it's impossible to secure a computer that
>> >> you can't
>> >> trust and don't necessarily have administrator privileges to.
>> >>
>> >> But their parents are not exactly the NSA -- any spying that's
>> >> happening is
>> >> almost definitely some sort of product, plus basic things like
>> >> maybe looking through their history. (I don't know much about
>> >> they're situation
>> >> -- maybe they know more, so
>> >> well-if-you-know-they-do-this-then-you-could-do-this type advice
>> >> would still be helpful.)
>> >>
>> >> Would antivirus be able to detect spy-on-your-kids products? Would
>> >> they be
>> >> able to scan their computer with like Immunet or something, even
>> >> they
>> >> didn't have administrator privileges?
>> >>
>> >> Tor would probably help -- unless the monitoring was looking at
>> >> the RAM or
>> >> something for website names, which would be way overkill on a
>> >> commercial
>> >> product, no? Or (more likely) if it was taking screenshots at
>> >> regular intervals, which would also break running a VM or
>> >> something. (Is there any
>> >> way to detect taking screenshots?)
>> >>
>> >> I know probably the best thing would be running TAILS as a LiveCD
>> >> -- the
>> >> problem with that is that it's REALLY obvious over-the-shoulder.
>> >>
>> >>
>> >> Um, thoughts about any of those?
>> >> Any other things about parents as a threat model in general?
>> >>
>> >> I know this is pretty far from what is usually discussed on here,
>> >> but I'm
>> >> really interested in what you think/it would potentially help a
>> >> lot of people.
>> > 
>Goto Daichi (nerv) <nerv at>
>Version: GnuPG v2

Sent from my Android device with K-9 Mail. Please excuse my brevity.
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