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In Elysium (2013), we see the CEO of Armadyne, John Carlyle, hammer out some code and upload it to his brain. He is asked if he wants to protect the data and is prompted to choose either "Paralyze" or "Lethal", and chooses the latter.

At the end of the movie, it is revealed that Max will die if the data is used, presumably due to this protection.

This seems to be a nonsensical plot point, because using this protection offers Carlyle absolutely nothing. Clearly, it doesn't deter anyone from stealing the data from him (since the protagonist's crew does just that), especially since the thieves wouldn't even know that it's protected until after they take it. And once they have the data, finding a victim to copy it to and sacrifice would be beyond trivial on an overpopulated, impoverished Earth. 

Carlyle puts himself at risk of getting killed by the protection if something goes wrong, without getting any benefit out of it. What possible reason could he have to use this technology?

2 Answers 2

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It's been quite a while since I've seen it but I think this was meant to work in a slightly different way:

The "copy protection" doesn't influence the original host of the data, but will influence whoever tries to obtain it.

Think of it as a kind of malware trap only triggered by further illegitimate copies. Paralysis would be enough to stop most thieves. The legal option is just an extreme as added on top.

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Maybe the purpose of the "data protection algorithm" is to make sure that if someone tries to take the data with "standard computers/architectures" then the host dies and the data is protected. Then the hacker figured out a way to circumvent the "data protection algorithm".

Something like having anti virus software for Windows, but someone with god like hacker skills can get around it.

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    Apr 21 at 2:26
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