The updater for the Mark Ultra VIII E-Meter has an interesting feature

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by Fényképezőgép, Dec 7, 2013.

  1. I downloaded a copy of the Mac and Windows versions of the updater for the new meters from the Hubbard E-Meter website so I could poke around in them. Here are some interesting strings found in one of the binaries:
    Got Brick Command
    Brick - Succeeded
    Brick - Failed
    Attempting to brick device
    Presumably, this is for the purpose of disabling the meters of Scientologists whose IAS memberships are not up to date, which is stated as a condition of meter ownership on the website.
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  2. Anonymous Member

    lol concrete steps!
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  3. DeathHamster Member

    I dunno. The meters are supposed to start warning 14 days before the end of the yearly "update" period. Presumably they lock up at the end of the 14 days and until they are "updated".

    So why would they need a brick command?
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  4. Anonymous Member

    cuz brick is such a nice word
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  5. The FAQ on the update/registration site reads "Yes. Any Scientologist who is in good standing with the Church and has a current IAS Annual or Lifetime Membership may own a Mark Ultra VIII E-Meter. However, to retain the right to own the meter, you will need to renew your Annual Membership or upgrade to Lifetime Membership on or before the date on which your current membership expires." If someone with an expired Annual Membership connects their meter, the updater probably disables it until they're in good standing with the IAS.

    Mark Ultra VIII meters, for the record, are registered to your IAS account through the updater / website as well. The Church of Scientology still permits selling or giving your meter to someone else, by transferring the meter to their account:

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  6. DeathHamster Member

    I wonder how many meters they're going to brick by accident?
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  7. Anonymous Member

    all of them
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  8. Based on the line "Got Brick Command", there is more than likely a means for Scientology staff to flag the meter of someone who's been SP declared for bricking, should they connect it after that.
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  9. Anonymous Member

    If you consider "brick" to mean "render the device useless" they kind of ship that way.
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  10. Anonymous Member

    thetan bricks lol
  11. Anonymous Member

    Bricks and doorstops are probably the best use for the things.
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  12. DeathHamster Member

    I wonder what the carrot/stick is to make someone connect their meter before the yearly "update" period is over?

    Without bricking, someone who's declared could sell their meter to someone in good standing, then do the transfer ownership step. With bricking, it'd have to be brought back to the org for de-bricking. (No, I doubt they'll return the money for the meter or the meter.) If their web software was any good, they could figure out that it was an SP meter at the transfer ownership step.

    Bricking seems like the usual overkill, and is probably on pretty thin ice legally.
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  13. Rod Keller Member

    They really hate that squirrels have meters they can use after they leave Scientology. I think that motivation could lead them to try to destroy them if possible. I'd be curious to see what happens when Ralph Hilton and Craig Robart get a hold of a Mark 8.
  14. RolandRB Member

    3. brick
    As verb: to brick something. This is the action of rendering any small-medium size electronic device useless. This can happen whilst changing the firmware, soldering or any other process involving either hardware of software.

    I bricked my mobile phone when I tried to install Linux on it.

    Not disabling but maybe destroying the e-meter so it does not fall into squirrel paws.
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  15. I'm aware of the definition. Not sure why you posted it here.
  16. RolandRB Member

    To make them pay for repairs.
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  17. RolandRB Member

    "Disabling" or "destroy"? From the definition, it seems to imply "to destroy", rather than "to disable". There is a subtle difference.
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  18. DeathHamster Member

    Bricking isn't always ultimate destruction. Sometimes it's only penultimate...
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  19. 1) Anybody can submit definitions to Urban Dictionary, and while generally reliable, it is by no means moderated or fact-checked like comparable sites (cf. Wikipedia). There is no guarantee that any definition there is accurate or official.
    2) The definition you quoted doesn't contain the word "destroy". It contains "render … useless", a process which may or may not be reversible. I don't claim to know the mechanism by which the updater bricks a meter, but it is capable of erasing the firmware and installing firmware updates (according to other strings found in its files). The mechanism by which it most likely bricks a meter is either erasing the firmware or installing firmware that severely limits its functionality (e.g. nothing other than a "please renew your IAS membership message).

    Having read the other strings in the file, my conclusion was that bricking is probably done by erasing or otherwise modifying the meter's firmware to "render [the meter] useless". If that is indeed what happens when a meter is bricked, then that bricking can very easily be reversed by the updater by simply installing the normal firmware.

    Observation: if someone with sufficient technical knowledge gets a Mark Ultra VIII meter and updates the firmware on it, it would probably be possible to reverse-engineer the downloaded firmware, trick the updater into installing it, and ultimately…

    …mod the meter.

    This could be something as simple as removing the requirement for an annual update check, which would enable a Mark Ultra VIII to be used indefinitely, regardless of its owner.
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  20. HellRazor Member

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  21. Nope. Here, have a screenshot. Potentially identifying information (e.g. the name of my home folder) is blurred out.

    For those of you who don't speak UNIX, the long command does two things: one, make a list of all readable strings (4 characters or more) in the file; and two, show us the ones that contain the word "brick". -i tells the grep command to ignore case, so it finds "brick" as well as "Brick", "BRICK", "bRICK", and "bRiCk".
    • Like Like x 3
  22. TrevAnon Member

    Which hasn't stopped them in the past, I'd say.
  23. RolandRB Member

    Couldn't they make the needle behave in a strange way to get the auditor to look closer and then make it explode in their face?
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  24. muldrake Member

    My guess is their counterargument is that it is actually illegal to circumvent their bricking. Specifically, that it is a violation of the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Thus, they could have some basis for a DMCA takedown of ebay auctions of meters if they ever start doing that again. (Did they stop?)

    This would be an attempt to do an end-run around the first sale doctrine, which is the doctrine that it is generally permissible to sell an item one legally possesses.
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  25. Anonymous Member

    They could just have 1 web e-meter and sell everyone USB cans.
  26. jensting Member

    Or an iOS app. Nothing to it (maybe a bit of external hardware to make the wheatstone bridge appear as an audio input, but that's simple). They won't, of course; it neither looks expensive nor are they actually motivated to improve the lives of their victims. Anything that is seriously expensive and comes with added smoke and mirrors is a good thing. If it were simple it might encourage the victims to start thinking about whether it is actually any good, and we can't have that.
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  27. Anonymous Member

    iOS app would shuffle profits to Apple but the idea of making it available on ur smartphone is something we should do
  28. Anonymous Member

    phones are metal maybe just holding the phone could take you up the bridge
  29. Anonymous Member

    lets make moxon sue google play
  30. muldrake Member

    If you're dumb enough to be a scilon in the first place, you're dumb enough to put up with a shitty interface.
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  31. Anonymous Member

    /me slaps muldrake with LRH penis
  32. 099

  33. hokum Member

    Could you do me a quick:

    $ find . -print | xargs grep "^:[0-9a-fA-F]"

    In that directory. If it finds anything PM me.
  34. DeathHamster Member

    Back in the early days of coin-op video games, manufacturers tried a number of things to stop cloners. One of which was a daughter board with battery-backed ram holding the game program. If you pulled the daughter board, it interrupted the battery and *poof* program vanished. They sealed the daughter board in a block of epoxy to make it impossible to read the ram directly without wiping it and to hide the circuit.

    They gave that up pretty quickly.
    1. If you were careful, you could still read the ram, and a freezer would destroy the epoxy but not the board.
    2. I believe that there was also a legal snag in selling a physical product that would self-destruct and couldn't be backed up or repaired.
    Until recently, there was a legal barrier against remotely bricking stolen US smart phones, even with the owners' consent. Why that changed might a good place to look. (Will CoS claim to be the actual owner of the e-meters?)
  35. rof Member

    Fuck epoxy.

    I am going to glue my mind to idiocy.
  36. Anonymous Member

    Hopefully all of them. Bricks are much more useful.
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  37. The Internet Member

    If a vendor can brick some device after you've bought it, I think you must be leasing rather than owning.
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  38. RolandRB Member

    I wonder if all these new meters will auto-brick themselves when the next e-meter model is released.
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  39. jensting Member

    For which values of "we?"
    Seriously, while yet another electro-psychometer would be dull, a game controlled by the cans, say "Bust your BTs!" with the BTs going "Zoooom - Zooom - I'm Out Of HERE!!" would be kind of cool. Think "Angry Birds" with an, ehrm, special input device.
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  40. Anonymous Member

    yes my friend

    we must
    • Like Like x 1

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