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Trusted Or Treacherous Computing? 208

theodp writes "Just because Richard Stallman is paranoid doesn't mean Microsoft's not out to get you. For a hint about the possible end-game of Microsoft's Trusted Computing Initiative, check out the patent application published Thanksgiving Day for Trusted License Removal, in which Microsoft describes how to revoke rights to render based on 'who the user is, where the user is located, what type of computing device or other playback device the user is using, what rendering application is calling the copy protection system, the date, the time, etc.' So much for Microsoft's you-should-have-control assurances."
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Trusted Or Treacherous Computing?

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  • It stops anyone else from trying it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 24, 2006 @07:40PM (#16979244)

    No... it doesn't work that way. When you disable the TPM, it really is disabled. It's just that your machine and its software can no longer remotely attest to its configuration -- meaning that it can no longer report that the hardware is intact and that you are running SPECIFIC code. In that case, the remote server will refuse to send any content. This is the essence of DRM.

    In future, once the plans for these TPMs have reached fruition, you will not be able to connect to the internet (because the ISP will insist on a trusted connection) if you disable the TPM.

    However... disabling it really does disable it. They have no need to cheat... the hardware and politics behind it is already murky and sinister enough as it is.

  • by Jasper__unique_dammi ( 901401 ) on Friday November 24, 2006 @07:45PM (#16979306)
    I may be redundant here, but the EFF article [] looks great. It is long though, but I just want to post this to encourage you reading it all. It may prevent a couple of misconceptions. (it did for me)
  • by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Friday November 24, 2006 @08:19PM (#16979576)
    The Trusted Computing tools are already planned for inclusion in the next generation of both Intel and AMD CPU's. There's no chip to turn off: it will be a CPU feature that may or may not be de-activated on request, but getting the system booted far enough to turn the feature may require access to an authorized software tool itself. And hardware such as DVD's, CD's, USB sticks, and hard drives are clearly planned to include Trusted Computing access control. That can help prevent unauthorized users from using stolen equipment, but also will prevent use of them by non-Microsoft-signed software.
  • Perhaps this law (Score:3, Informative)

    by ArielMT ( 757715 ) on Friday November 24, 2006 @10:35PM (#16980592) Homepage Journal
    Law enforcement? How? What law might you be considering?

    "Malware" isn't illegal. I know of no reasonable law that defines what this might be.

    Perhaps a little-known law called the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 [] (18 USC 1030 []), reasonable or not, defines malware as illegal.

    And any law that purports to make "malware" illegal is utterly unenforcable - do you really believe that some teenager in Romainia is going to be dragged into court in California for a single offence of this type?

    Granted, the enforcability of this law, just like any U.S. law, tends to stop at the border, so no a Romanian script-kiddie isn't going to be dragged into a California courtroom, and he won't be dragged into any Romanian courtroom either unless writing malware's a crime in Romania as well.

  • by russ1337 ( 938915 ) on Friday November 24, 2006 @11:07PM (#16980846)
    Encryption was moved from the Munitions list to the Commerce list in 1996 "because of the increasingly widespread use of encryption products for the legitimate protection of the privacy of data and communications in nonmilitary contexts"

    "November 15, 1996: Encryption products that presently are or would be designated in Category XIII of the United States Munitions List and regulated by the Department of State pursuant to the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2778 et seq.) shall be transferred to the Commerce Control List," htm []
  • Re:Say what? (Score:3, Informative)

    by jrockway ( 229604 ) <> on Saturday November 25, 2006 @03:42AM (#16982274) Homepage Journal
    The difference between the GPL and an EULA is that the GPL gives you extra rights on top of what you have by default, whereas an EULA takes them away. If the GPL's considered invalid, that means that nobody's allowed to copy the GPL'd work. However, it's up to the person who owns the copyright to sue whomever is still copying the work. Since he GPL'd the software to begin with, he's probably not going to sue people who are distributing the software under the terms of the GPL. So even if the GPL's not "valid", it can still be valid in practice. Obviously the typical EULA is different, since no copying at all is allowed.

    Taking away rights and giving away extra rights are two different issues completely. Please don't be confused by the common word "license".

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll