July 29th, 2009


a pre-defcon post: the toilet paper EULA

I was using a public restroom. The toilet paper roll was running a bit low. I turned and noticed a sticker behind it inside the dispenser. Read it. Had to write down what it said.

This dispenser is subject to restrictions on sale, modification, filling and use, and may be used only to dispense the trademark-bearing products identified on the exterior. [company] strictly prohibits unauthorized sale, modification, filling, or use of this dispenser, and will enforce its rights under United States and foreign laws.

Yes. The toilet paper dispenser had Terms of Service. Maybe the store leases it, as part of a multi-level toilet paper purchase agreement. Maybe we all just have too many damn lawyers. Even so I had to stare at it because it never occurred to me that a company making toilet paper dispensers would want to enforce its rights, or even stretch its arm out to protect all future use of its product. Forever, apparently.

Why do they want to control something so small?

So off I go to defcon again this week, with like-minded hackers who want the world to be ours. If I have the intellect to make that toilet paper dispenser great, I should be able to do it. Turbo-charge the thing if I want. It's not a scary thought, it's not going to hurt people, unless you're afraid of freedom. And who in the United States should be? Whose country is this?

It will be discussed.