The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Sunday, November 03, 2002

The struggle over file-swapping and pirating of programs and files over the Internet has, to a large degree, focused on the software platform. This is ultimately a losing proposition, since software measures can always be hacked and rendered useless. So the solution is to target the hardware. The plan is to get computer and computer component manufacturers to build security safeguards directly into the machines, thus making barriers to copying and distribution more reliable. This is the root of what's called "trustworthy computing". Kind of like the difference between a security camera and a security guard: a camera can be fooled or rendered inactive pretty easily, while a live guard is usually harder to neutralize.

The ultimate goal, I suppose, would be to create a whole network of machines that would be capable of sending and receiving data only through these physical security gates. When enough of these new computers are on the market and in use, they will have supplanted older, unsecured machines, and viola! Problem solved, as far as content providers are concerned.

Interesting reading. I'm surprised it's taken the concerned parties so long to cut a deal like this. I've noticed a while ago how computer retailers and manufacturers were using the ability to locate and copy music as the killer app for selling machines. It struck me as a blatant promotion for the pirating that the music and movie industries were trying to curb. If they could get the computer makers on their side, they'd be able to solve their problem.