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Re: Separate trusted computing designs

From: Jonathan S. Shapiro
Subject: Re: Separate trusted computing designs
Date: Fri, 01 Sep 2006 10:41:42 -0400

On Fri, 2006-09-01 at 11:28 +0200, Christian Stüble wrote:
> Am Freitag, 1. September 2006 04:41 schrieb Jonathan S. Shapiro:
> > On Fri, 2006-09-01 at 01:24 +0200, Marcus Brinkmann wrote:
> > > I have a definition, but I do not know if you will find it useful.
> > > It's the best I can come up with, and it works surprisingly well in
> > > practice.  Here it comes:
> > >
> > >  A free choice is one that can be made independent of any other
> > >  choices.
> >
> > It seems to me that what you are describing is an *independent* choice.
> > A free choice is one that is made without coercion. A choice between two
> > discrete options, each having costs and benefits, remains a free choice.
> That's the reason I asked. What is the definition of coercion then? The 
> decision to use Linux and accept that I cannot use word any more in imo a 
> free choice, but many people will say that for them this is not a free 
> choice.

I am evaluating a "bag" of decisions. Coercion is when I am forced
through external influence to alter or bias either (a) the set of
decisions or (b) my assessment of merits and demerits of the
alternatives in some way that is not consistent with my uncoerced will
and intent in the context of making the decision.

Note that the word "forced" is critical. A person who educates me in a
way that causes me to alter my assessment is quite different from a
person who puts a gun to my head and forces me to act in a fashion that
is inconsistent with my will or my assessment.

> Basically, users have a free choice to disable their TPM. If the OS does not 
> work with a disabled TPM, it remains a free choice. But the costs and 
> benefits are not as equal as before...

Definitely. But free will is not without cost. There is a common
statement in the US: "free speach does not mean that you can yell fire
in a crowded movie theatre". This is sometimes referred to as the
difference between freedom and license. Freedom to act does not render
one immune to consequences or costs/benefits.


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