Date: Wed Jan 24 2001 - 03:30:53 MST

Adrian Tymes wrote:

> Eh, even if it does happen: it's either a tax on those who can't look
> up how to break the copy protection (there's always a way, in the weak
> schemes that have been deployed on large scales so far), or the demise

It doesn't take much brains to pick an existing peer-reviewed
cryptosystem off the shelf, and implement it in hardware at the
end device cost ranging from zero to few $.1. Such a thing will
be effectively unbreakable. Personalizing each piece of hardware
with a unique key is also possible. It is rather difficult
to copy a piece of software which is encrypted for a specific
CPU (notice that this will somewhat hobble the performance, and
make the thing visibly more expensive). Physical data carriers
will go away for distribution, so encrypting something on the
fly can be very easy indeed, just an extra step of an online
purchase. Notice that in a similiar way you can lock out
software which is not vendor approved (see Playstation2, Sony has
managed to outmicrosoft Redmond on this one). If all inter-die
traffic is encrypted, you don't have a lot of leverage. Even if
you disassemble the die package, and use some rather expensive
and rare equipment, all you get is your unique key. It doesn't
help other users if you break the scheme.

I don't see smart end users subsidizing decreased functionality at their
end. Strangely, there are a lot of people who feel strongly about this,
and they're ready to pay extra dollar for a device without a "Big Brother
Inside" sticker. As long as there are alternatives, and as long as it's
not globally outlawed there will be always alternatives. Sooner or later
we'll be moving into low-threshold production of IT systems, eventually
approaching desktop range. At some point trying to control hardware will
look very much like trying to control xeroxes. (Sure, color xeroxes have
hidden watermarking, but eventually this doesn't matter as you can xerox
xerox machines and design new ones from scratch).

Of course, the outcome is largely dependent on the percentile of sheeple
in the total population, and how much leverage the IP mafia will be
able to gain. This is war, without doubt.

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