Microsoft's security chief on Palladium

Not the theatre, the chip ID strategy...

Not the theatre, the chip ID strategy...

Microsoft's UK chief security officer Stuart Okin has sought to reassure users about its controversial plans for security and digital rights management technology, dubbed Palladium. Speaking exclusively to silicon.com, Okin said the plans were at the consultative phase, and Microsoft was looking for industry feedback on how to develop the technology. He said: "Nothing is set in stone here. The important aspect is for the industry to give us feedback. We're looking at 2004 or 2005 before any technology arrives." Microsoft's plans are controversial because they can be used as the gateway for 'big brother' technologies that control what you can do on your PC. Okin confirmed the scheme was being developed in partnership with Intel and AMD, and will be focused on planting a chip in your PC that works with the operating system to provide bullet-proof authentication and identification. Okin said the plans could have huge benefits for users. He said: "This allows you to do a whole host of different things. A user is given great control over privacy, and can ensure non-repudiation in any transaction. It will also enable rogue software to be 'sandboxed' inside the machine so it can be run safely without affecting the rest of the system." Okin claimed this will be a big boost in the fight against viruses. However, Okin's message will not quiet the concerns of privacy activists. He confirmed the software would enable digital rights management technology - potentially allowing someone else to determine what files or applications can run on your machine. He also confirmed Microsoft could use the technology to clamp down on licensing. He said: "Theoretically this can be used for pretty much anything. It gives an enormous amount power - but it also gives this power to the user." Microsoft would not determine the policies adopted on the technology - that, he said, was down to the industry to decide. He called on the privacy lobby to take an objective look at the proposals and feed back any concerns. The news comes after incoming EU competition director general Philipe Lowe yesterday warned Microsoft not to do anything with Palladium that would shut out competitors.