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Re: Retracting the term ownership (was: Re: Separate trusted computing d

From: Marcus Brinkmann
Subject: Re: Retracting the term ownership (was: Re: Separate trusted computing designs)
Date: Fri, 01 Sep 2006 23:50:04 +0200
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At Fri, 1 Sep 2006 22:37:06 +0200,
Pierre THIERRY <address@hidden> wrote:
> Scribit Marcus Brinkmann dies 01/09/2006 hora 20:34:
> > > I love the quote, but it isn't very relevant. What TPM shows is that
> > > the nature of divulgence can be altered through technical means.
> > > Given such technical means, it is not obvious that Jefferson's words
> > > (or any of those who preceded them) remain true today and in the
> > > future. [...]
> > Well, it would be an interesting trick if you could change the nature
> > of information by mere postulation of a believe about it.
> If I understand Shapiro well, his wording is important: the nature of
> divulgence, that is the way information is given out, is something
> essentially different from the very nature of information itself.
> Of course, if I give you a paper to read it in a vast room full of other
> people moving around, chatting and doing many osrt of things, while
> trying to check, from my desk, that you don't copy the ifnormation, I'll
> have a hard time.
> But if I keep the paper in my hands, merely letting you read it in front
> of me, you will have a hard time making a copy. Of course, it depends of
> your memory, of the means you will have at hand (micro-camera in a
> button, a friend with a professional zoom on a camera, etc.) and of many
> other details of the situation.

I would likely refuse to read the paper under these circumstances.

But it is an interesting example.  Suppose you could invent a
mechanical device, that you strap around somebodies head, which will
monitor the eyes, ears and mouth of the person, and interfers when
copyrighted material is exchanged without a license.  It can also keep
your eyes open if you do not look at the advertisement.  Would you
support such technology?  In a sense, such a device is the logical
extension of TPM technology.

This is of course only a thought experiment, because no such device
exists, and is not likely to exist.  However, I still think there is a
grain of truth in the analogy: In both cases, the goal is to put
information into somebodies reach while still controlling this
information.  Disney wants people to identify with their latest
cartoon character, but at the same time they want to control all uses
of that cartoon character.  This gives Disney control over the
culture, and thus over the population.  Use cases of trusted computing
at the work place are similar: TPM can be used to exploit the labor of
the workers, while at the same time controlling tightly how the
workers can do their job.  That's a new version of the old song of
disempowerment of workers, with easily predictable, desastrous
consequences for the population.

The struggle against "trusted computing" is nothing less but a
struggle for self-determination and freedom of thought and expression
of the individual.

> TPM won't change by any means the very nature of information, and as you
> said it, only one full leakage is needed to leak the information to the
> whole world. Which is, IMHO, a very good thing. But the attempts at
> modifying the way you access information are real, and they do change
> something.

I definitely agree that they change something.  If they wouldn't, no
harm could result, and we wouldn't even need to have a discussion.  I
consider the threat of trusted computing very real, as I do consider
the harm it can inflict on society.

> If you view a movie on a totally TMPed sysytem, with the
> hardware, graphic card and screen that are checked to provide secure
> channels, you will have a hard time to succesfully leak the information
> without loss.

Actually, I think it is quite easy with analog to digital conversion.
The reproduction can be made arbitrarily close to the quality as the
movie is displayed on the restricted hardware, this means that the
copy will possibly be as good as the "original" as you are allowed to
see it.

There is an economic barrier to make the first copy, but any costs
(which will be comparatively small) is completely amortized by the
marginal costs of zero of any further copy once the first copy has
been made.  The incentive to make this first copy is quite strong.

Nothing of this is in any sense new or surprising.  I recall from my
music lessons in school that it was common practice a couple of
hundred years ago to have people in a concert or opera which would
remember the melodies and write them down when they were back home.
Compare this to your exampe above.

What changed and keeps changing is how capable our systems of
reproduction and restriction respectively are.  However, it is my
opinion that the capability of the systems of reproduction today
constitute such an enormous wealth for human mankind that it would be
immoral not to exploit them thoroughly.  How can we refuse to share
all our socially useful knowledge and works of beauty with the rest of
the world at almost no cost for us?  This is the moral question posed
to us by the 21st century.


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