Microsoft's copyright play and the Trusted Computing Group

Microsoft's copyright play and the Trusted Computing Group

Summary: Bruce Schneier wrote this piece "Is Microsoft skirting the issue?" but maybe he should have titled it "I hate hardware TPMs because they enable copy protection".

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TOPICS: Security
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Bruce Schneier wrote this piece "Is Microsoft skirting the issue?" but maybe he should have titled it "I hate hardware TPMs because they enable copy protection".  It's not that I necessarily disagree with Bruce over the issue that the new copy protection features in Windows Vista are a little scary, I just wish he'd be a little more up front and say that rather than skirt around the issue by beating up on the TPM.

As I read Bruce's article, I thought it was a bit strange to hear a security guy rail against a hardware cryptographic module since the NIST gives these hardware modules the highest rating in authentication security.  Bruce vehemently objects to the obstruction of a software-only based implementation of the TCG, but the whole point of a trusted platform is that it can't be modified in software form because of the inclusion of a hardware module.  The reality is that the same hardware cryptographic module that enables strong cryptography for strong security can also be used by the movie and music industry to limit our ability to copy music.  While it's true that the entertainment industry can be overzealous in their copy protection tactics and step on consumer rights, that is a different argument than the security value of a hardware module.  If Bruce wants to rail against something, rail against the entertainment industry rather than an inanimate piece of hardware that has real value in strong security.  The fact that the entertainment industry might abuse the security hardware is a whole different topic.

There is even some talk that Microsoft can use the hardware to block the third world from using pirated copies of Windows, but I really doubt that because Microsoft will be pushing the developing countries towards Linux and Open Office.  Bill Gates himself has even stated that he understands why someone in China who makes $100 a month isn't going to buy a copy of Windows or Office and those things will be different when their economies and wages rise.  Microsoft wants to be friendly to the Entertainment industry so that they will produce content for the PC in the first place.  Consumers want the freedom and flexibility to use their paid content without any hassles and they will ultimately revolt if the entertainment industry or Microsoft goes overboard.  It's all just a matter of finding the right balance between the rights of the content producers and the consumers and it will all work itself out in the end.

Topic: Security

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  • Trusted computing?

    Gimme a break! You would be a nut to trust Microcrap, the corp. or it's products!
    Reverend MacFellow
    • ZDNET's Monkey Business

      ZDNET has reporters working for or have arrangements with Microsoft. George Ou and John Carroll are examples. Obviously George has to come to Microsoft's defense as per the agreements between him and Microsoft.
      George thinks he is an expert in security and challenges Phil Zimmermann and other experts. Talk about ego!
      http://blogs.zdnet.com/Ou/?p=86
      He fails to realize that Journalists have to abide with Ethics but George Ou is above that.
      http://www.spj.org/ethics_code.asp
      IT-sys
      • What "agreement" might that be?

        I wasn't aware that I had any agreements with Microsoft. Maybe you can set me straight and send me a copy of that contract.
        george_ou
        • ZDNET's Monkey Business

          It's obvious from your articles and blogs that you have an obligation to come to Microsoft's defense.
          Microsoft's dirty practices are known but not completely exposed. There are numerous factual reports with proof about those practices and ethics. I'm sure you can google around or check out groklaw.net (many exposed connections to journalists).
          It doesn't take rocket science to figure out your motives.
          ZDNET also has a history of complaints because they don't want to upset their paying sponsors (Microsoft).
          If you think that the reads are blind or stupid, your wrong again.
          John Carroll is not as corrupt as you are but at least he disclosed his connection with Microsoft:
          http://blogs.zdnet.com/carroll/?p=1412
          Nevertheless, he should stay in his expertise and not pretend to be an expert on other systems.

          Follow the journalists Ethics code and report about subjects that are within your expertise.
          http://www.spj.org/ethics_code.asp
          IT-sys
          • Lots of different points of view here

            There are plenty of bloggers and columnists here on ZDNet that are very pro-Linux, UNIX, and Mac. Does that mean they work for Sun or Apple? Since you won't back anything up, you're just blabbering.
            george_ou
          • yes, points of view, not monkey business

            Whoever is pro-Linux or pro-Unix are people who appreciate the specific technology not the *VENDOR* who is convicted of illegal and unethical practices. Nobody is pro-Redhat or pro-SUN for example. Only pro-Linux or pro-Unix. There is no hidden agenda, only love for the technology.
            What? you're gonna convince us readers that you do it for the *love* of Microsoft? ;)
            You must really think *all* readers are suckers and will beleive anything you write.
            IT-sys
          • I like to use what works

            I like Windows XP for desktops
            I like Windows 2003 for servers
            I like Linux for servers
            I like FreeBSD for servers
            I like Asterisk for PBX
            I like M0N0Wall for BYO firewalls
            I like IPCop for BYO firewalls
            I like VxWorks for Realtime OS
            I like MSSQL when I can pay for the license
            I like MySQL when I can't pay for the license
            I like IIS 6.0
            I like Apache for some things
            I like Cisco for Switches, Routers, Firewalls, Access Points.
            I like Microsoft Exchange 2003
            I'm starting to like Scalix as an Exchange alternative

            That's just some of the things I like. So there is my agenda, I love technology.
            george_ou
      • Gawd, you really are pathetic.

        Care to back up any of those claims with real facts? No huh, I figured as much...
        No_Ax_to_Grind
  • Balance

    As you state, balance is the key--if you're going to take
    something away from consumers, you must make your offering
    somehow more attractive than what they have now if you expect
    them to buy it. Right now, all we're getting from MS and the
    MPAA/RIAA are limitations. Why would anyone "upgrade" to a
    new OS that lets them do less than their current OS?

    You can look at this from a moral perspective or a business
    perspective. Moral--we should all be fair and willing to
    compromise, but one side, the content owners, are not willing to
    budge in the slightest. Business--shoving restrictions down the
    consumer's throat is not a good way to market a new product.
    tic swayback
    • Too early to tell

      It isn't clear how all of this will play out. If the content providers or Microsoft goes too far to the point that I can't even make a legitimate backup of my content that I paid for, then the consumers will revolt. It's too early to tell.
      george_ou
      • Not too early to see that this is a loser

        Sorry, I have to disagree. This set of restrictions is a losing
        game for consumers. Yes, it is too early to know how things will
        eventually shake out in this battle (although given the RIAA/
        MPAA's current stance, they seem intent on destroying their own
        industry before making any sort of compromise). But one can
        objectively view this set of proposed restrictions and realize they
        won't fly.

        I'll say it again--you're asking people to spend money, so you
        have to make it worth their while. Why would anyone buy a new
        product that does less than what they already own?
        tic swayback
        • Because it's more secure. This is

          a problem that everyone is dealing with today.

          All this talk about DRM ignores the fact that spyware, viruses, ID theft, etc are rampant and a major pain and people need help with it. Software alone has NOT been able to do it.
          ordaj@...
          • Isn't that what they said last time?

            And the time before that as well? Do you still believe them? Are
            you willing to spend thousands of dollars on a new system and a
            new monitor in hope that those promises will be met?
            tic swayback
          • Except it isn't.

            [i]All this talk about DRM ignores the fact that spyware, viruses, ID theft, etc are rampant and a major pain and people need help with it.[/i]

            And DRM doesn't change that one bit [1]. Nice try, thanks for playing.

            [i]Software alone has NOT been able to do it.[/i]

            Software has for quite a while. What you should have written was, "Microsoft alone has NOT been able to do it."

            [1] Well, technically that's not true. By providing a means for software to take control of the machine beyond control of the user, it offers some stellar opportunities for spyware etc.
            Yagotta B. Kidding
          • DRM will exist with or without the TPM

            Like George said, it's not about DRM. But it is about security.
            ordaj@...
        • Why do you ignore the answers I give you?

          You keep asking why and when I answer you refuse to listen. Once morte, people WANT content and will pay for it, it's just that simple.

          Now you may not like it personally and I suggest you don't buy it, but do not pretend that your views are shared by the masses that spend BILLIONS every year on pure entertainment.
          No_Ax_to_Grind
          • Because you haven't given me any answers that make sense

            ---You keep asking why and when I answer you refuse to listen.
            Once morte, people WANT content and will pay for it, it's just
            that simple.---

            I agree, people want content and will pay for it. That does not
            answer my question. What will this system offer those people
            that is not already available? What new things are being offered
            here that is worth spending thousands of dollars just to have the
            ability to spend more money to purchase content? What is
            significantly better than what we already have? So far all you've
            offered is that those lucky enough to have broadband will be
            able to download a movie rather than going to the video store or
            the mailbox. That's not worth thousands of dollars to me, or to
            any rational consumer, especially since the downloaded movie
            will be extremely limited compared to the currently available
            DVD.

            ---Now you may not like it personally and I suggest you don't
            buy it, but do not pretend that your views are shared by the
            masses that spend BILLIONS every year on pure
            entertainment.---

            I am one of those masses. I spend lots of money on
            entertainment every year, and in some ways, I'm a gadget freak
            and an early adopter. Yet this product has no appeal to me. If it
            doesn't appeal to the technophiles, why would the average Joe
            want such an expensive product that does less than what he
            already owns?
            tic swayback
          • No, they make no sense to you because that's what you want.

            Sort of how you think the Mac is what everyone else should be using but aren't...
            No_Ax_to_Grind
          • Re: No, they make no sense to you because that's what you want.

            Tic is right, and you're not responding to him. No one's arguing that people don't want content. But you saying they will use this because they want content ignores one glaring fact: There already are orders of magnitude more content being offered than a person can consume. Look at cable. Heck, just look at the first-run PPV channels. There are more there than a person has time to watch.

            We're living in a sea of content. We can't consume it all. How is "people want content" a selling point? That's what tic wants to know.

            Vista isn't bringing more content, or more compelling content, and the studios still will address the lowest common denominator, look for the blockbuster, etc.

            Maybe, as someone said, he'll finally get his All Yarn Channel.

            Big deal.


            :)
            none none
          • They make no sense because there is no substance

            You can keep trying to change the subject, but I'll keep asking
            you--what is the great advantage offered here that makes it worth
            thousands of dollars to the average consumer? You have no
            answer other than downloading movies, do you?

            Answer the question, stop evading, or just admit you don't know.
            tic swayback