Who should your computer take its orders from? Most people think their computers should obey them, not obey someone else. With a plan they call "trusted computing," large media corporations (including the movie companies and record companies), together with computer companies such as Microsoft and Intel, are planning to make your computer obey them instead of you. Proprietary programs have included malicious features before, but this plan would make it universal.
Programs that use treacherous computing will continually download new authorization rules through the Internet, and impose those rules automatically on your work. If Microsoft, or the U.S. government, does not like what you said in a document you wrote, they could post new instructions telling all computers to refuse to let anyone read that document. Each computer would obey when it downloads the new instructions. Your writing would be subject to 1984-style retroactive erasure. You might be unable to read it yourself.
I'm trying to think of the small things we can do to get the word out about TCPA. Taking an ad out in the Nashville scene and writing to all of the TCPA board members are the first two things that come to mind.
If you didn't already know, this so called "trusted computing" initiative is a very bad thing. If we start to allow it into our computers, we start to lose the war.
The digital world has been here for a while now. How do you like it so far? I started exploring it in 1981 with a Texas Instruments TI-99/4a. Things have changed a lot over the last two decades since.
I read the book '1984' in 8th grade as required reading. This was the same time that the Gulf War was being played 24/7 on the Channel One provided televisions in my high school. Two minute hate, anyone?
Being a tech head, the most striking feature of '1984' was the memory hole. History could be created, edited, revised, and destroyed at will by the state. The parallels between what Orwell envisioned and my BBS were too striking for me to ignore. The ephemeral nature of electromagnetic charges as opposed to the physical construct of ink and paper. I took solace in the fact that I could back things up and make perfect copies instantly.
If the TCPA folks get their way, all that goes out the door. Your computer becomes a closed system meant for one purpose: Consumption. Want to develop an application? Pay your fare.
TCPA stands for Trusted Computing Platform Alliance. The Steering Committee consists of Compaq, HP, IBM, Intel, and Microsoft. There are over 170 member companies.
Their website is www.trustedcomputing.org. I suggest learning as much as you can about their initiative. The PC is only their first stop, they are after all consumer electronics. Learn the enemy, think like the enemy, befriend the enemy, become the enemy. This is the only way to subvert the enemy.
Oh, and by the way, AMD and nVidia are playing ball too. Sleep tight.
[ This is just wrong. Its interesting that Hijexx brought up "1984". In "Our Posthuman Future", Francis Fukuyama makes parallels between the books "1984" and "Brave New World" to aid him in making points about where the biotech revolution is headed. He brings up an interesting point made by Peter Huber about how computers are the realization of the telescreen, except instead of big brother watching us, we use computers to monitor big brother. Computers and the internet are about the "democratization of access to information". With this treacherous computing stuff, information won't flow freely every again, because it looks as though there will be restrictions everywhere. Sometimes, books like "1984" don't seem so fictional. - Nano]