Bricking power tools


Home Depot Tech Will Brick Power Tools If They’re Stolen. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

(Mis)Uses of Technology

from the

what-could-possibly-go-wrong dept

Thu, Aug 5th 2021 9:25am —

Karl Bode

We’ve noted more times than I can count how in the modern era, you no longer really own the things you buy. Thanks to internet connectivity, hardware you own can be bricked or downgraded to the point where you lose essential features. Or, just as often, obnoxious DRM means you have to jump through all kinds of bizarre hoops to actually use the thing you thought you owned, whether that’s Keurig using DRM to prevent you from using competing coffee pods, to printer manufacturers using DRM to keep you from buying cheaper cartridges.

Now Home Depot is experimenting further with DRM at the point of sale. The company has started embedding chips in many of the major tool brands it sells (DeWalt, Milwaukee). And unless the tool is enabled by a Bluetooth-based system at the register, it simply won’t work when you take it home:

“Home Depot says their new anti-theft strategy is now being used in several stores nationwide to combat the thefts of their most popular power tools. A chip is inserted into power tools of major brands like DeWalt and Milwaukee brand tools, similar to how gift cards need to be scanned and paid for at a store to activate. Once the tools are paid for, the store will use Bluetooth technology to activate the tool.”

Yes, what could possibly go wrong. What if the system is buggy and doesn’t work? What if you then try to contact a manufacturer or retailer that no longer exists or supports the device and systems in question? Too bad….