Re: Singularity: can't happen here

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Sun Sep 09 2001 - 03:02:29 MDT

On Sun, Sep 09, 2001 at 10:38:52AM +0200, Eugene Leitl wrote:
> On Sat, 8 Sep 2001, Michael Wiik wrote:
> > Well, nice URL but (of course) it doesn't work. Besides, why would
> > anyone risk looking at a URL that's obviously not from Disney or
> > Time/Warner? Any such attempt would be monitored and followed by a
> > visit from the thought^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hcopyright police.
> Of course, if you ran an OS that tattles on you. So, don't.
That will be illegal. After all, why would you want to do that, other
than to run illegal piracy tools?

(I urge everyone on this list to subscribe to Declan McCullough's
moderated politech mailing list. It's really useful for heads-up warnings
on issues like this, and explores the consequences of such laws with
unflinching dedication.)

The SSSCA bill is sponsored by a senator Hollings. Turns out he's
had a lot of money from the TV, Movies, and Music industries via PAC
donations. One side-effect of SSSCA is that to comply, the hardware
vendors can simply start shipping PC's with CPRM-compliant IDE drives
and Trust Computing Platfrom Alliance's TCPA spec motherboards. These
can be rigged to only execute boot loaders that are digitally signed
to load and run a kernel which is in turn digitally signed as "secure"
-- think in terms of a web of trust inside your computer, belonging to
someone else, verifying that everything down to the device drivers is
signed as secure by the vendors. Writing an unsigned or unsecure driver
would of course be a violation of the SSSCA and a criminal offense.

Given that Microsoft are trying to get into the home entertainment centre
market with HomeStation (aka XBox2), my guess is that in addition to
being a copyright fascists' law, it is also Microsoft's exit strategy
from the conventional software biz -- become the main distribution
channel for audio/video/e-books, and protect their monopoly by teaming
up with the film and music industries to create a legislated lock-out
on the competition.

-- Charlie

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