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Heavy hitters hitting at us

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http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/biztech/05/07...y.ap/index.htmlThe link above is interesting. I first learned of this last year, as Congress was trying to mandate the discussed technology by law. I was so incensed I wrote Senator McCain (one of our AZ Senators), who chairs the commitee where the bill was being presented. He noted that it wouldn't see the light of day on the floor of the Senate.It seems like Microsoft is taking another tactic--coding their coming OS's around the chip they are championing. In the report, Bill Gates says that users could "opt out" of the technology, but then some software may not cooperate. Imagine a version of FS or Windows that had to be relicensed once a year--else an onboard chip would disable the software.I have to question whether this effort is part of improving our security, or theirs.... Consider the security bulletins I have to deal with just trying to manage a WAN, could this technology be trusted? Whenever Microsoft discusses the word "Security" along with "digital rights management", I get worried. The concept behind this--that parts of your computer are not your own--is truly a worry to me. And since upgrading is an inevitable part of simming, this technology may be forced on us, like it or not. Sounds like something rotten to me..... And it sounds like it's a "done deal"What do you think?

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From my point of view...Microsoft has to consider that they would need permission not only from the American government, but from the government of every country they want to roll this technology out in. And I can tell you that other countries are not as accomodating to these "security" measures as are the United States. The Privacy Commissioner here in Canada is already cracking down on less oppressive laws than these.In any case, it's a scary thing to imagine Microsoft having complete control over your computer. This is one case where privacy needs to take precidence over security. Open this door, and you won't be able to get it shut again.

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You willingly misunderstood and misinterpreted the article.This is just another means of access control and encryption.Such technology has been available in both hardware and software form for decades but until now has not been easily integrated into applications.The tech is not meant for anyone to play Big Brother over you, though I guess it could be used to weed out the software pirates in some way if it becomes really widespread (which is a good thing...).

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"You willingly misunderstood and misinterpreted the article."Kind of strong wording, and wrongly worded I feel. I have one view on the article, you might have another. If you read the article, you'll note that it shares the same concerns I have--it presents both sides of the coin.I have to admit there are advantages to such a chip, if it is used well. What's our big worry as users? That we can't reregister software after a HD failure. Of all H/W failures, that's probably the most common. If software registration were tied to the presence of the chip, then you could gut your system and reinstall, and likely register again with a quick email. That's a strength of this technology--my company used to use dongles to the same degree and with the same result. Piracy of our software was a non-issue, although people could copy it as much as they want. Our lock codes were generated off of the dongle.What worries me is that the RIAA tried to legislate this chip into existence. By bundling it as a Windows requirement, it's pretty much the same thing. So I have to ask, how will they benefit? What was their intent to begin with? Most piracy comes from people burning mp3 files, or software, or images, and distributing on the web. If the RIAA intended the chip to put a stop to this, then they intended the chip to somehow provide reporting means. Their worry isn't the legally downloaded song being redistributed--it's all the files being burned at will, which is wrong no matter how you look at it. That's what they want to see and act on. No worries if you don't pirate, right? But what about that resume? The database of business contacts? Who is to say what information is being scanned? It's hard to kill that level of control if it's bundled in hardware. Spybots and the like are easy to kill....People had better ask these questions now. If we don't, it will be shoved down our throats as was attempted last year. If we want a fully wired world (one can always pull the web plug, I suppose), but still wish our privacy we have to voice an opinion.-John

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Here's my problem. It's not (as Jeroen rudely implies) related to software piracy. My problem is this greatly infringes on my right to privacy. Should we trust corporations to have our best interests in mind? No. They have had chances before, but they have betrayed it every time. Corporate spam, targeted advertising, spyware, these are all reasons why we need to protect our privacy.Here's the real reason Microsoft wants to implement their chip. As it stands now, once you have purchased a piece of software, it is yours to use as long as you want (provided you are not reselling it for profit, or anything else like that). Microsoft doesn't like this, because people are using older versions of software and not buying the new one. So, Microsoft wants to implement "rentals" of licenses. This means that you buy Windows 2000 for two years, upon when you have to buy the next version.Think this is outlandish? It's happening right now. I only know about it because a friend of mine in IT experienced this firsthand.So, Microsoft gets their way and installs the chip. Now, it knows when you are using Windows 2000 for more than two years, and forces you to buy the next version. Don't like it? Tough. They are the industry leader. And since they have such a huge market share, and would have the power to force you to buy the latest and greatest(?) version, you have to shell out the cash.How many people here have a home network? How many people purchased a Windows licence for each computer on that network? Microsoft would like to know, and if this bill passes, they would.So, Mr. Wenting. Are you still in favor of giving Microsoft this power?

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"So, Microsoft wants to implement "rentals" of licenses. This means that you buy Windows 2000 for two years, upon when you have to buy the next version."I don't entirely disagree with JWenting's take, although he could have worded the first sentence of his reply to me a bit better. The "rental" part doesn't require a chip. It can be set up through a lock/key mechanism, and even geared to read a checksum off of the hardware it's installed on. There are dozens of shareware titles buzzing around already that have expiration dates built in. One piece of business testing software I use yields different license length, based on the key code used. If I don't renew the agreement, the software lapses.But that doesn't erase my other fear regarding this chip--the fact that it was originally pushed by the RIAA as a means to police pirating. I don't like the idea of any piece of hardware that may have the potential to "review" files installed on my system. Software I can kill, hardware is harder. With all the talk of "homeland security", I can also see something like that getting exploited in all the wrong ways. Last, I think Microsoft and the word "security" is a joke. Just take a look at their website--the supposedly bulletproof Windows 2000 and IE, which I deployed on my WAN, are full of holes. One example--why the heck can someone create a "buffer overrun" to execute code of their choice on a mission critical O/S? Imagine if such a security flaw were burned into a chip. -John

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There's a far better mechanism for software rental which I think is the one that we'll see in the future.No longer will the software you use be installed on your machine.Rather a small stub will be installed that communicates with a central server somewhere (with regional servers, redundancy etc. implemented with any but the smallest providers) and downloads the software for running as required.Nothing on your harddisk to copy and give away or sell that will work without a paid for account with the provider.Such a system would most likely use a pay-per-use scheme, where you buy X startups (or X hours of use) after which you can renew your subscription.If you give away or sell your stub (which is personalised to your account) anyone using that stub will access your paid for uses (and thus cost you money).Will this stop piracy? Not entirely. There are likely ways to get hold of the software anyway. Will it reduce piracy? Most certainly as it will make pirating the software (you'd need to pirate the remote software as well as rewrite the stub and possibly host your own network of servers) a lot harder and more expensive.An encryptionchip would help a lot in this scheme, as it can help send the userdata (including account data and creditcard data) over the line as well as keep it secure on the machine without having software that can be hacked or comprimised by trojans.I can also see a system in which such a chip, working in cooperation with a smartcard reader or iris scanner, can provide means to access sensitive data remotely. Examples could include remote checkin for airline flight (print your boarding card at home), remote voting in elections, and a lot of other things for which you currently need to go to a desk somewhere just because you need to authenticate yourself.btw, I didn't intend to sound rude or anything... But I'm pretty peeved at people crying foul whenever something is proposed concerning anti-piracy or encryption by a government or a large company...

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