Life without Windows or OS X

GNU/Linux is quite possibly the most important free software achievement since the original Space War, or, more recently, Emacs. It has developed into an operating system for business, education, and personal productivity. GNU/Linux is no longer only for UNIX wizards who sit for hours in front of a glowing console. Are you thinking about switching to Linux and want to learn how to use it? Have you been using GNU/Linux for some time and want to learn even more? This is the place for you.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Can We Trust “Trusted Computing”?

I known many of my statements on this blog seemed to aimed at “geeks”. But its really aimed at every one...if you use a computer and or surf the web I'm speaking to you. My mission is to chat about “choice” and the governments responsibility to make sure we have one.

We Where Told To Trust DRM.

Digital rights management (DRM) is the umbrella term referring to any of several technical methods used to handle the description, layering, analysis, valuation, trading and monitoring of the rights held over a digital work. In the widest possible sense, the term refers to any such management. Some digital media content publishers claim DRM technologies are necessary to prevent revenue loss due to illegal duplication of their copyrighted works. However, I have argued that transferring control of the use of media from consumers to a consolidated media industry will lead to loss of existing user rights and stifle innovation in software. Napster requires users to pay an additional $.99 per each track to burn a track to CD. Songs bought through Napster cannot be played on iPods.

Can We Trust “Trusted Computing”?

TC refers to a technology developed and promoted by the Trusted Computing Group (TCG). The term is taken from the field of trusted systems and has a specialized meaning. In this technical sense, "trusted" does not necessarily mean the same as "trustworthy" from a user's perspective. Rather, it means that it can be trusted more fully to follow its intended programming with a lower possibility of inappropriate activities occurring that are forbidden by its designers and other software writers. Trusted Computing puts the existence of free operating systems and free applications at risk, because you may not be able to run them at all. Some versions of TC would require the operating system to be specifically authorized by a particular company. Free operating systems could not be installed. Some versions of TC would require every program to be specifically authorized by the operating system developer. You could not run free applications on such a system. If you did figure out how, and told someone, that could be a crime.

The EFF seems to have to good views on the subject both for and against, however Seth Schoen's article Trusted Computing: Promise and Risk, concluded that “ hardware enhancements might be one way to improve computer security. But treating computer owners as adversaries is not progress in computer security. The interoperability, competition, owner control, and similar problems inherent in the TCG and NCSCB approach are serious enough that we recommend against adoption of these trusted computing technologies until these problems have been addressed. Fortunately, we believe these problems are not insurmountable, and we look forward to working with the industry to resolve them.

We need too speak up while we still have the right too.


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