Of all the tricks that Netpliance used to make it harder to hack the I-Opener, clipping the pins on the IDE header must rank as the most irritating and painful.
It's not impossible to bypass it, as Badflash pointed out, but it requires considerable time, patience and dexterity. At the end of it, the finished solder job may not be factory-perfect and the pins may not be perfectly aligned, causing all kinds of contact issues.
Fortunately, they attempted this trick on only a few V2 units, if my memory serves me right. I wonder why they stopped there - it was perhaps the most effective anti-circumvention measure that they came up with. Maybe they thought that the gooped locked-down BIOS with the locked-down QNX image on the V3 was foolproof.