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Unusual question came up on our website:

https://hardwarerecs.stackexchange.com/questions/498/tempest-proof-pc-notebook

What do you think about questions like this? Can it be taken seriously?

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  • What's he even asking for? A faraday-cage computer case? – Undo Oct 1 '15 at 21:04
  • Something like this (among others). – belford Oct 1 '15 at 21:06
  • First time I've read a question on SE that legitimately made me uncomfortable. – Adam Oct 1 '15 at 21:29
  • An author has improved the question a little bit: hardwarerecs.stackexchange.com/questions/498/… What else do we except to reopen this question? – belford Oct 2 '15 at 7:17
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Asking for unusual equipment (eg. a CIA-resistant computer) should be fine, as long as you can clearly define what it is you're looking for. In this case, I think the question should be closed as unclear.

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Can it be taken seriously?

Some people might be able to. I can't.

Speaking for this specific question... I don't know what he wants. A computer? A computer case? That is also a faraday cage? A computer... without a... processor? He hasn't defined what 'TEMPEST-proof' means. I've voted to close it as unclear.


In general, though, if someone can clearly define their requirements, even if it's a tinfoil-hat person, I think the question should be okay. If he'd asked for a 'computer inside a faraday cage that runs OS and doesn't have a processor made by company that has at least x GB RAM and such'... then fine. I'd be inclined to say that's on topic.

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    TEMPEST-proof, presumably means that the device doesn't leak radio or electronic signals, vibrations or sounds. TEMPEST is an NSA and NATO certification for both spying and shielding against such unintentional electronic leaks. Wikipedia has a decent article on it. – Andy Mod Oct 2 '15 at 3:50

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