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The Wireless card Whitelisting is due to FCC regulation, which states that certain classes of devices must be Certified by the FCC themselves in the "End-Use Configuration" to be legal to sell, use, take on Airplanes etc...

IBM (Now Lenovo) Whitelist Wireless cards to ensure that the device will always conform to the FCC approval that the device was evaluated for.

To be fair, if you buy a Lenovo/IBM Laptop (I've had four in the past twelve years) and ensure that the Wireless card you get it with is the top-spec model at the time, you should never have an issue. My current Laptop, an X200, has an Intel 5300 which is still one of the best wireless adapters I've ever used :)

The Wireless card Whitelisting is due to FCC regulation

Does the regulation require that steps be taken to make it difficult for the end-user to modify the device in to a non-certified configuration? If not, I find this answer inadequate.

The whitelist affects other components as well, such as displays. It seems a little nannyish.

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