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Trusted Or Treacherous Computing?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the eyes-in-the-dark dept.

208

theodp writes "Just because Richard Stallman is paranoid doesn't mean Microsoft's not out to get you. For a hint about the possible end-game of Microsoft's Trusted Computing Initiative, check out the patent application published Thanksgiving Day for Trusted License Removal, in which Microsoft describes how to revoke rights to render based on 'who the user is, where the user is located, what type of computing device or other playback device the user is using, what rendering application is calling the copy protection system, the date, the time, etc.' So much for Microsoft's you-should-have-control assurances."

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208 comments

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Irish or Keith Curtis Computing? (1)

Keith Curtis (923118) | more than 7 years ago | (#16978642)

Don't matter as long as you stay on your side of the Atlantic, Mickey!

Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming... (5, Insightful)

Old Man Kensey (5209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16978658)

Anyone who has ever believed that Microsoft is genuinely on the consumer's side in any kind of licensing question is so naive they shouldn't be allowed out of the house without a minder.

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (3, Insightful)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 7 years ago | (#16978698)

I think that, like many things, the reasons behind these ideas are well intentioned, but can be used for evil if not policed.

There are a lot of good reasons to do the things Microsoft proposes. Stolen laptops, Malware, Leaked confidential information (think patient records, social security numbers, etc..). The problem is, of course, that most such technologies cut both ways.

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (4, Insightful)

rbochan (827946) | more than 7 years ago | (#16978874)


There are a lot of good reasons to do the things...

Sorry, but I happen to think that's crap. Much like the government, whenever a controversial law/license is proposed, and its supporters, when confronted with an egregious abuse it would permit, use a phrase along the lines of 'Perhaps in theory, but the law would never be applied in that way' - they're LYING. They intend to use the law that way as early and as often as possible.

Stolen laptops, Malware, Leaked confidential information (think patient records, social security numbers, etc..)

Those situations would fall under the jurisdiction of law enforcement, not Microsoft.

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (2, Funny)

Stanislav_J (947290) | more than 7 years ago | (#16978992)

Those situations would fall under the jurisdiction of law enforcement, not Microsoft.

Once Billy Boy is President [theinquirer.net] , they will be one and the same....

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (1, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979086)

Law enforcement? How? What law might you be considering?

"Malware" isn't illegal. I know of no reasonable law that defines what this might be. Certainly lots of people are inconvenienced by it, but that is hardly justification for making writing software some kind of criminal offence. And any law that purports to make "malware" illegal is utterly unenforcable - do you really believe that some teenager in Romainia is going to be dragged into court in California for a single offence of this type?

Leaking confidential information has some laws surrounding it, but again the application is unlikely to really occur. If we were serious about this kind of thing it would be a criminal act to use an outsourcing company to process medical records outside of the jurisdiction where disclosing those records is a crime. You see, every day medical records are processed in third-world countries where there are no laws about privacy of those records.

While it might be nice if the FBI investigated every malware incident, it doesn't happen. Nor would you really want it to. And while "malware" isn't really illegal, by the time the FBI gets involved, the will find some law that has been broken if they can arrest someone.

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979660)

It is illegal for Americans to write strong encryption software (it is considered a munition). The DMCA also makes writing certain software illegal (but then again, it technically makes letter openers illegal). I can see classifying certain types of malware as "munitions".

Perhaps this law (3, Informative)

ArielMT (757715) | more than 7 years ago | (#16980592)

Law enforcement? How? What law might you be considering?

"Malware" isn't illegal. I know of no reasonable law that defines what this might be.

Perhaps a little-known law called the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 [wikipedia.org] (18 USC 1030 [cornell.edu] ), reasonable or not, defines malware as illegal.

And any law that purports to make "malware" illegal is utterly unenforcable - do you really believe that some teenager in Romainia is going to be dragged into court in California for a single offence of this type?

Granted, the enforcability of this law, just like any U.S. law, tends to stop at the border, so no a Romanian script-kiddie isn't going to be dragged into a California courtroom, and he won't be dragged into any Romanian courtroom either unless writing malware's a crime in Romania as well.

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979106)

Those situations would fall under the jurisdiction of law enforcement, not Microsoft.

If Microsoft can provide tools to resolve the situation faster and more effectively than law enforcement, what's wrong with that?

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979166)

microsoft aren't a public institution subject to control by the people, thats what.

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (5, Insightful)

foamrotreturns (977576) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979298)

Not only are they not under control of the public, they are also not subject to any form of auditing. If MS wants to play policeman, they will need an Internal Affairs Department that can bust them for pulling stupid shite like this. "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."
~Lord Acton

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (1)

niiler (716140) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979620)

Tell you what... If this is as innocent as some of you are making out, then let's apply it in the manner of Lojack: [lojack.com]

Customer: My computer has just been stolen, could you please disable it?
MS Rep: What is your WGA license number, mother's maiden name, and favorite color?
Customer: THX1138etc...
MS Rep: Thank you. Your computer is now being disabled, tracked, and if not surrendered within 24 hours, it will self destruct (in the interest of security). Have a nice day!

Personally, though, I think you all are a bit hopeful if you think this scheme is going to work like that. I suspect it will be more like this:

MS Drone: Sir, we've detected another user trying to switch to Linux.
Bill: Disable the process, and then re-assimilate his computer.
Bottom line, while it may have been touted as being for the user's security, in reality, I probably is to create some sort of vendor lock-in. Just my opinion. Take it or leave it.

P.S. Lojack probably has a patent on this sort of thing so if MS wants to use it for good, they'll be paying.

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979252)

Those situations would fall under the jurisdiction of law enforcement, not Microsoft.

Law Enforcement almost never solves them.

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16979760)

I think that's the point.

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979280)

Sorry, but I happen to think that's crap. Much like the government, whenever a controversial law/license is proposed, and its supporters, when confronted with an egregious abuse it would permit, use a phrase along the lines of 'Perhaps in theory, but the law would never be applied in that way' - they're LYING. They intend to use the law that way as early and as often as possible.

Looks like DRM was made for you, to prevent the unauthorized copying of other people's work! [google.com]

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (5, Insightful)

MadAhab (40080) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979494)

In all honesty, this dude might be a professional paranoiac with an easily google-able catchphrase, but you are a fool, a knave, a liar, and an enemy of liberty everywhere.\

Anyone who knows jack or shit about law enforcement knows that they can, do, and will use every law and tactic available to prosecute whoever they think are the "bad guys".

And that's not a slag on law enforcement - that's called "doing their jobs". Obviously, they can get overzealous. And do. And will.

The point is that you give people power, and they will abuse it to the degree they are permitted . That's why Arlo Guthrie got busted for littering (when his real crime was being a dirty hippy), that's why Al Capone got nailed for tax evasion, that's why the Patriot act leads to waitresses on a plane thinking they can kick off breast-feeding mothers just because they feel like it, that's why we've got another 20 years of releasing the falsely convicted based on DNA evidence (too late for the wrongly executed), and it's why your flip attitude is functionally equivalent to saying "exterminate the jews? go ahead - if the authorities are against them, they must have done something!".

And so anything - a new law, a new technical system - that isn't done with an eye to how it could be abused, well, it's foolish and ignorant and entirely predictable, and predictably the people who mean to fuck over everyone ignore these things as plainly as can be.

You really need to study American history again if you don't get this shit by now. Our founding fathers understood this stuff, and that's why "checks and balances" are a part of our government (2000-2006 excepted). You know that scence in Pulp Fiction with the multi-way Mexican Standoff? That's how the US government is supposed to work; go too far, and you'll get blown away, because you can't take out all the other dudes.

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 7 years ago | (#16980130)

Whoa, dude, chill out! The guy pointed out that the parent comment was apparently copied from somewhere else without attribution. How does that make him an enemy of liberty who needs to study American history?

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (1)

Hortensia Patel (101296) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979486)

Sorry, but I happen to think that's crap. Much like the government, whenever a controversial law/license is proposed, and its supporters, when confronted with an egregious abuse it would permit, use a phrase along the lines of 'Perhaps in theory, but the law would never be applied in that way' - they're LYING. They intend to use the law that way as early and as often as possible.

If you're going to quote another user's post [slashdot.org] verbatim, it's generally considered polite to include attribution.

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (4, Insightful)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979524)

It's worse than you imagine. There is no clear policy on who will obtain the master keys for Palladium or Trusted Computing signature authorities: as things stand, Microsoft will own and sell such authorities. New software signatures must be purchased. This effectively grants Microsoft tremendous access to other company's, or person's trusted keys, and makes installing your own personally created keys prohibitively difficult.

This also provides BIOS and booatable hardware DRM, in order to control over booting systems. While such is good from a security standpoint, it means that with very trivial changes in hardware such as DRM-managed CD and DVD and USB devices, nothing other than a host-designated, signed Windows operating system will be able to boot the machine enough to install new keys and install a new OS. While the designer of such technologies may not envision such abuse, it's certainly within Microsoft's history of anti-competitive behavior to do this.

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16979990)

Yeah, because enterprise customers should have no say in how their data is handled in their organization. It should all be free as in stolen beer, because if God wanted it anyother way he would have magiced locks for electrons.

Don't be a dipshit. If these are unacceptable for the home user (they're not acceptable to me) the technologies will fail in that market place and take the companies that back them (RIAA MPAA members) out behind the woodshed. But that doesn't mean they still don't have or won't find a place. Microsoft is supplying an option (likely flawed) for both end-users and people who make content to make their bread. This is inherently good. This is choice. The wise will prosper and the foolish suffer from it.

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 7 years ago | (#16980146)

>>I think that, like many things, the reasons behind these ideas are well intentioned, but can be used for evil if not policed.

I don't mean to pile on, but we're talking about Microsoft's WGA and other "friendly" technologies here. What part of it do you think is "well-intentioned"?

And as far as "..can be used for evil if not policed." Just who do you think is doing the policing? As my parent put so aptly put it, using technical jargon, this is a "load of crap".

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (4, Insightful)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 7 years ago | (#16978976)

If you want to protect the user, you give the keys to the user (or let him chose them). No encription that hides the keys from you is there for your benefit.

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979294)

Yes, since the user having the keys solves the problem. Not.

Surveys have shown that users are willing to give out their passwords for a piece of chocolate. Cars are Hijacked every day, and the user just gets out of the car leaving the keys to the attacker. I'm not saying that a TPM chip is the best way to solve the problem, but merely putting it in the users hands doesn't solve much of anything.

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (4, Interesting)

deathy_epl+ccs (896747) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979510)

Yes, since the user having the keys solves the problem. Not.

Surveys have shown that users are willing to give out their passwords for a piece of chocolate. Cars are Hijacked every day, and the user just gets out of the car leaving the keys to the attacker. I'm not saying that a TPM chip is the best way to solve the problem, but merely putting it in the users hands doesn't solve much of anything.

I think the real problem here is the lengthening of the digital divide. The people who would benefit from these features are the people who would hand out their password for a chocolate crisp. These people might have some to lose from Treacherous Computing, but not as much as those who are smart enough to know better.

I wonder if Microsoft is aware that they are driving away the technically savvy? Most of us who use Windows and have some tech savvy are the gamer audience and even though making the move back to running a Unix-derived OS of some sort will impact my primary use for my home computer, I am still starting to seriously plan for it. I wonder how many other gamers are thinking the same thing? I wonder if Microsoft has considered how much losing a big share of the gamer market will hurt them? It is my opinion that a significant chunk of the home market is Windows because that's what the games run on, and if game developers suddenly find it economical or desirable to port their games to different platforms, that could have a pretty significant impact on Microsoft's stranglehold on PC gaming.

Of course, I'm probably just a statistical anomaly, but I like to hope I'm not... heheheheh

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16979976)

I wonder if Microsoft is aware that they are driving away the technically savvy?

Er. Yes, of course they are. But they're also trying to criminalize us, so not to worry.

Their ideal situation is all technically savvy people who don't work for microsoft are incarcerated well away from accessible computers.
 

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (4, Funny)

Petrushka (815171) | more than 7 years ago | (#16980188)

Surveys have shown that users are willing to give out their passwords for a piece of chocolate.

Point of order: that is false. Surveys have shown that users were willing to give out things that they claimed were their passwords for a piece of chocolate.

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (0, Flamebait)

kimmo (52756) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979058)

Well intentioned my ass. I think ./ should have a few new classes for moderation: blue eyed idiot, stupidicus infinentum, well intentioned and stupid looking troll etc.

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (1)

MollyB (162595) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979312)

Some of the mods lately match your description, only they are called Interesting or Insightful and have positive integers. How do we fix a blue-eyed idiot's up-mod of a well-intentioned stupid ramble?

But back to topic: I trust MS to separate me from my money at every turn, and to pull every legal low-down weaseling to advantage itself. That's their business. If we still use their stuff, we don't need to pretend they're being friendly...

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16980084)

er. What is "blue eyed idiot" supposed to mean? I mean, I know what it naively means, but you seem to be using "blue eyed" as some sort of qualification for a particular kind of idiot.

As I (and millions of others of my racial background) have blue eyes, I just want to know, is this just some racist thing like "black skinned idiot" or what?

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (3, Insightful)

Penguin Programmer (241752) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979928)

There are a lot of good reasons to do the things Microsoft proposes. Stolen laptops, Malware, Leaked confidential information (think patient records, social security numbers, etc..). The problem is, of course, that most such technologies cut both ways.


To quote a co-worker, "technical solutions to non technical problems will only lead to insanity."

Malware, stolen laptops and confidential information being leaked are not technical problems. They're social problems. Stop keeping confidential information in places where it can be leaked (i.e. on employees' laptops) and these problems go away. A technical solution is not called for.

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 7 years ago | (#16980582)

Yes, that is what the new enterprise encryption is for. They (MS) say you can encrypt email to be self destructing as well as put encryption on documents with many of the restrictions in the patent. So Yes, there is a valid reason and I'm sure plenty of businesses that would love this tech.. then documents could not only be encrypted on disk but critical ones could self destruct if the laptop wasn't connected within a timeframe to the authenticating domain... pretty cool stuff. MS has their own reasons for course.. how many leaked emails or docs get to the press? think Halloween Documents... never again!!! But it also has purpose for DRM... once you create the tech doesn't mean it's not in WMP11 also! what better way to test it out... imagine being able to disable content based on IP... take your laptop overseas and it could "know" from the IP address at the airport wireless your in an invalid region and disable your movies until you return to "safer" shores.... that's REALLY scary.. but it's what they're selling on the enterprise side...

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (4, Interesting)

argoff (142580) | more than 7 years ago | (#16978704)

I saw it comming more than two years ago ... What DRM is REALLY REALLY REALLY about [slashdot.org]

Re:Hands up, everyone who DIDN'T see this coming.. (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16978790)

Or most any other corporation.

Greed and control isnt monopolized by microsoft. Though they are one of the biggest holders by default due to their impact on most every part of society at this point.

Tin foil hat (0, Troll)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979552)

Anyone who has ever believed any of Slashdot's many conspiracy theories about Microsoft is so naive they shouldn't be allowed out of the house without a minder.

For and against (5, Insightful)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#16978674)

Since my laptop was stolen about five months ago I can appreciate the qualities of a system which could be used to at least cripple hardware which was stolen or otherwise suspect.

As a realist, though, I cannot possibly trust that a large organization could implement this properly without willingly abusing it or unwillingly fscking it up.

Re:For and against (2, Insightful)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#16978842)

Since my laptop was stolen about five months ago I can appreciate the qualities of a system which could be used to at least cripple hardware which was stolen or otherwise suspect.

Why bother? Laptops are easily replaceable. It's the data that you have to worry about. Encrypt it and keep the keys on a device that's kept seperate from the laptop (USB key?) unless it's in use. Combine that with fingerprint scanning or other biometrics if you're really paranoid. And don't encrypt the partition or directories containing the OS and software with the same key! Having known files in encrypted *and* decrypted forms to work from will only simplify a cracker's job.

-b.

Re:For and against (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16978932)

Easily replaceable? You buy him a new laptop then.

Re:For and against (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979080)

Easily replaceable? You buy him a new laptop then.
compared to the data you idiot... it's fscking hard to replace a stolen identity

Re:For and against (1)

penrodyn (927177) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979190)

>compared to the data you idiot... it's fscking hard to replace a stolen identity

Touchy touchy, someone got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning.

Re:For and against (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16979478)

replace a stolen identity


But... but.... information wants to be free!!!!!!!!!

Re:For and against (1)

arose (644256) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979000)

If it can seriously cripple the hardware there is a chance it might bite you. And if it's easy fixed the thief will do it. Use encryption if you are woried about the data.

Too bad it doesn't work (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 7 years ago | (#16980278)

Since my laptop was stolen about five months ago I can appreciate the qualities of a system which could be used to at least cripple hardware which was stolen or otherwise suspect.

And what makes you think MSFT would actually do that? How many stolen iPods do you think are out there? Apple can identify them uniquely but they won't shut them off or trace them as long as the new owners keep buying music. That's a little cynical, I'm sure that's not the only reason. But turning off hardware is a pretty aggressive move, especially if it's not your hardware. Bad juju, mon.

They forgot... (1)

Nemetroid (883968) | more than 7 years ago | (#16978682)

...who the users father is, and what he does.

Say what? (5, Insightful)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 7 years ago | (#16978706)

Or maybe it's just a way for them to manage licenses? Like you purchase a license to view a movie. They send you the .WMV and the license to view the file. You upgrade your computer and want to migrate all your purchases to the new machine. So you request to remove the license from the current system.

Maybe someone should read the patent in question?

Re:Say what? (4, Insightful)

no reason to be here (218628) | more than 7 years ago | (#16978758)

Uhh, if i pay to download something--a movie, to use your example--i expect that i have the right to watch it on whatever device that i own and that i shouldn't have to ask for permission to move it from my desktop to my notebook. i don't want to pay for licenses. i want to pay for the movie, and then use that movie in a anyway that i please that is legal without having to ask for permission, and if that means you have to trust me that i won't do anything illegal with that movie, well boo-fucking-hoo. i haven't committed any crimes, so i don't want to be treated like a criminal.

Re:Say what? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16978892)

Since you don't want to be treated like a criminal, I assume you don't treat others like criminals, otherwise you'd be a hypocrite. I take it you have no locks on your doors then? You don't password protect anything, and when you are forced to, your passwords are public knowledge? You don't lock your car and you leave your keys in it because, well, you don't want to treat anyone like a criminal, right?

Re:Say what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16979020)

Since you don't want to be treated like a criminal, I assume you don't treat others like criminals, otherwise you'd be a hypocrite. I take it you have no locks on your doors then? You don't password protect anything, and when you are forced to, your passwords are public knowledge? You don't lock your car and you leave your keys in it because, well, you don't want to treat anyone like a criminal, right?

No, DRM is more like inviting someone over for dinner, but telling them they can only sit in an approved chair, facing an approved blank wall, and chewing your food an approved number of times, without discussing the meal. God forbid you should ask for the recipe. Oh, and your right to eat can be revoked at any moment.

Re:Say what? (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 7 years ago | (#16978954)

Problem is who gets to define what "legal" is?

Most people nowadays believe it is quasi-legal to download and "share" music with the rest of the Internet-using world. If they aren't on a dialup connection, they may have downloaded a movie or two as well.

Of course, all of this was illegal. Have these people been arrested? How is "Legal" supposed to be enforced? Trust? Yeah, right. Nobody since about 1830 relies on "trust" to stay in business. And I think that guy went bankrupt like he deserved.

And "trust buy verify" isn't going to work either. No, there isn't any "trust your customers" left anymore - it is easier to take, take, take and take some more. If a company produces a product where it is easy to give a copy to all your friends on the Internet then they deserve to sell one copy in Albania and never any more ever again.

Re:Say what? (4, Insightful)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979682)

Of course, all of this was illegal. Have these people been arrested? How is "Legal" supposed to be enforced? Trust? Yeah, right. Nobody since about 1830 relies on "trust" to stay in business. And I think that guy went bankrupt like he deserved.

Too late. The barn door is open. The horse is running free, halfway across the State. Locking it now ain't gonna help any.

Content has become cheaper and easier to distribute. Just like when the printing press came out 500 years ago which removed the need for scribes - content creators will have to adapt or die. Book authors can adapt in one of several ways: release books in serial form with the understanding that if enough people don't pay for one chapter, the next one isn't coming out. Possibly a return to the idea of the literary magazine. Sure it can be pirated, but not quickly. Also it could even be free and supported with unobstusive advertising.

Movie producers can write for the theatre, and people *will* pay to see live performances. People will also go to the movie theatres to see movies, and theatres can be policed pretty well as far as respecting copyright. Maybe there'll also be fewer inane movies that are made solely for money since there'll be less easy money in production.

Musicians will still have live performances, concerts, etc. Perhaps tickets will be more expensive than today, but people will still go watch as they do now.

I'm not saying that those changes are for the better, but like it or not, mass media as it has worked for the past 75 years or so is dead. Passing obtrusive laws and locking down computers will only delay the inevitable. There are two choices: adapt or die.

-b.

Re:Say what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16979040)

i don't want to pay for licenses. i want to pay for the movie
You sound like someone who buys apple juice expecting to make an apple pie, and then complains that it's unworkable. It's simple: buy from those who are selling movies and don't buy from those who are selling licenses. If you and a few more geeks are not enough to shift the market away from Microsoft's plan, well boo-fucking-hoo.

Re:Say what? (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979076)

if that means you have to trust me that i won't do anything illegal with that movie, well boo-fucking-hoo

That's kind of like saying nobody should ever lock their house or car, because the neighbours aren't criminals dammit and if you have to trust me not to steal your stuff, well boo-fucking-hoo.

What's that? You do lock your car? Well I can't say I blame you. There are untrustworthy people in the world, after all.

Stupid Analogy (1)

quanticle (843097) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979296)

Locking your car is the equivalent of encrypting your data. This DRM crap is the equivalent of me selling you a car, but keeping the keys and making you ask permission and state your intended route every time you drive.

Re:Say what? (1)

arminw (717974) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979500)

.....That's kind of like saying nobody should ever lock their house or car......

No, its like the building contractor locking my house and then telling me that unless I jump through whatever hoops he dictates to give me the keys, I should sleep under a bridge. Even after he/she gives the keys, it can be taken away again if I let the "wrong" people in.

Re:Say what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16979334)

You pay for liscenses right now. Go to Best Buy and pick up a movie on DVD. You didn't just buy the movie - you bought a liscense to view a copy of movie. You can't go and copy that movie, and you can't buy a giant projector and make a theater and sell tickets to watch that movie. Your usage is already restricted in a manner that the courts have agreed with for decades.


Now your issue about wanting to be able to play it on another machine is a valid one, but you're talking about the scope of your liscense. At the same time, forcing the entire content industry to abide by one specific liscense is ultimately unfair and honestly restricts the rights of the artist. They should be able to sell their work in whatever manner they choose so long as they don't cross a certain line of consumer rights. Where that line is is certainly a matter for debate and like you, I think it needs to be moved closer to the consumers right now.


In the end, if you don't like the liscense of the movie you want to buy, you have the ultimate right of a consumer - don't buy it. If people stopped buying movies because the rights given by the content owner were too restrictive, the owners of the content would become more consumer friendly.

Re:Say what? (3, Funny)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#16978762)

Maybe someone should read the patent in question?

No, this is slashdot, where we read an inaccurate, third-hand interpretation of the abstract of a patent (not the claims), then check to see who it was granted to, and rubbish or support it based on that.

Re:Say what? (1)

adinu79 (860333) | more than 7 years ago | (#16978836)

Mod parent up. All this scheme seems to be designed for is to facilitate what people were yelling about a couple of weeks ago: License removal and transferral. This way you could remove the Windows Licence from your old computer and transfer it to a new computer without having activation problems.

IMHO: Move along, nothing to see here.

Re:Say what? (3, Insightful)

Dr. Zowie (109983) | more than 7 years ago | (#16978870)

Even if "benign" license control is all this is for, it ain't so benign. Having to ask permission before acting is the hallmark of totalitarianism. Even if the license were free of monetary charge, giving up that much control is too high a price to watch "X-Men 7" or "Police Academy 32".

Re:Say what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16978924)

Like you purchase a license to view a movie.

Oh, grow up. You buy a copy of the movie, not a license. A license is a contract which must be considered and signed by both sides. Stop eating the bullshit they're feeding you and stand up for yourself.

Re:Say what? (1)

Baricom (763970) | more than 7 years ago | (#16980038)

A license is a contract which must be considered and signed by both sides.
If that's the case, then what is the GNU General Public License?

Re:Say what? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16978934)

Yeah, I think it's a great idea that when I purchase content, I have to jump through bureaucratic hoops to view it. Since this will be the first ever DRM scheme that is unhackable, the pirates will finally be stopped. The noble content providers will finally see a profit from all of these movies and songs that they created, and all I have to do in order to view "You, Me, and Dupree" in glorious high rez is buy a new monitor, a new operating system, and a new computer, and then waste a bunch of my free time messing around with their cumbersome protections. Hallelujah!

I think I'd rather go to the library and read a freakin book, for free, before they find a way to DRM paper.

The only think lamer than M$ is an M$ apologist... I really can't understand why you'd spend any effort sticking up for them. You just enjoy having your rights restricted? You enjoy getting less for your money? You actually believe that this nonsense will slow the pirates down for even a second? It won't. It will just inconvenience millions of honest people. It's the digital equivalent of getting felt up by an airport security goon, all in the name of stopping "the terrorist".

I truly pity you, and your abject servility to a faceless and uncaring authority.

Re:Say what? (1)

Faylone (880739) | more than 7 years ago | (#16980332)

Faceless? I thought Gates of Borg was the face.

Similar to 'certificate revocation' (4, Interesting)

quiberon2 (986274) | more than 7 years ago | (#16978756)

We have had 'certificate revocation' schemes in things like Distributed Computing Environment for a while.

If you believe your password has been compromised, or your PIN had become known to someone else, then for 'high-value' systems you need to be able to administratively indicate that any 'authority to behave as you' is not to be believed any more.

The 'personal' computing market is splitting.

If you inflict this kind of feature on a lawyer, doctor, or engineer, who is trying to go about their professional work, you cause loss and damage and you get your product thrown out post-haste as unfit for purpose. Lawyer, doctor, and engineer have plenty of money and need the top-grade service.

If you give someone a cheap deal on a Star Wars DVD because of them being willing to accept the possibility that their permission to view it might disappear unexpectedly, then that's rather like having a 'standby list' of people who might or might not be able to get on a plane at cheap prices according as whether the plane fills up with full-price passengers.

This is innovation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16978786)

Why do the claims detail the server request but leave out all technical details? All looks obvious in any sense of the word, what is patentable here? The only reason nobody did this before was because they didn't have, need or want a TPM.

Patenting stuff like this is a good thing (3, Informative)

ross.w (87751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16978840)

It stops anyone else from trying it.

Re:Patenting stuff like this is a good thing (1)

ahayes_m (1016758) | more than 7 years ago | (#16978928)

It could be used to stop the license revocation of hacked HDDVD and BluRay players, MS can simply refuse to license the patent. This would be an awesome reason to have this patent.

Richard Stallman paranoid? (2, Insightful)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16978970)

Since when is Richard Stallman paranoid?

Re:Richard Stallman paranoid? (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979118)

Yeah... it's not paranoia if you're right.

Re:Richard Stallman paranoid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16980376)

Since when is Richard Stallman paranoid?

Is it paranoia if everyone really is out to get you?

This is the entire basis for Stallman's "free" software movement. It has nothing to do with price and everything to do with what each user can do with his/her/its own computing environment. This entry is just the latest in a long list of attempts by vested interests to limit what users can do with equipment/software that they legally purchased simply to guarantee a free flow of money.

Just say no!

Re:Richard Stallman paranoid? (3, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#16980668)

More to the point, is he paranoid enough?

Subscribe to Microsoft Windows in the future (1)

jonfr (888673) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979028)

This just Microsoft preparing for there next phase in Windows. Next Windows and problay upgrade of Windows Vista are going to be subscribed to the user on montly basis (Note: This is just my guess!). If you don't pay up, you can kiss your computer and your data goodby.

For games I will stick with Windows XP, for everthing else, there is (insert distro of chose here) Linux.

Re:Subscribe to Microsoft Windows in the future (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979154)

that'll be fine until Direct X 12 or 13 when MS requires you to upgrade to Vista.

Re:Subscribe to Microsoft Windows in the future (1)

bckrispi (725257) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979726)

It's coming sooner than that. Direct X 10 will be Vista only.

"Treacherous" is, of course, the answer (5, Interesting)

epp_b (944299) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979116)

Of course it's "treacherous", not "trusted". It's about taking control away from the owner, the user; and giving it to a remote entity. Hasn't it always been?

Clear evidence of this comes to light when you think closely about the proposed "Owner Override" feature that would effectively disable an onboard TPM chip...or maybe not, depending on whether or not we're being lied to about that.

First off, if this feature is really everything we're told it is -- that it really disables the TPM chip -- then what is the entire point of this? To have software, music and video vendors build their content around a supposedly "unbreakable" remote control scheme in their power...only to be broken by a built-in flick-of-a-switch feature?

And if we are being lied to about "owner override", then it's clear there is something they want to maintain hidden from us.

Either way, it won't work. Somewhere on the motherboard, between the keyboard and the hard drive, if you will, data must be unencrypted. You just can't keep something that is exclusively mine and in my possession, a secret from me!

Re:"Treacherous" is, of course, the answer (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16979244)

No... it doesn't work that way. When you disable the TPM, it really is disabled. It's just that your machine and its software can no longer remotely attest to its configuration -- meaning that it can no longer report that the hardware is intact and that you are running SPECIFIC code. In that case, the remote server will refuse to send any content. This is the essence of DRM.

In future, once the plans for these TPMs have reached fruition, you will not be able to connect to the internet (because the ISP will insist on a trusted connection) if you disable the TPM.

However... disabling it really does disable it. They have no need to cheat... the hardware and politics behind it is already murky and sinister enough as it is.

Re:"Treacherous" is, of course, the answer (2, Informative)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979576)

The Trusted Computing tools are already planned for inclusion in the next generation of both Intel and AMD CPU's. There's no chip to turn off: it will be a CPU feature that may or may not be de-activated on request, but getting the system booted far enough to turn the feature may require access to an authorized software tool itself. And hardware such as DVD's, CD's, USB sticks, and hard drives are clearly planned to include Trusted Computing access control. That can help prevent unauthorized users from using stolen equipment, but also will prevent use of them by non-Microsoft-signed software.

Over their dead body... (1)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979130)

I am serious, but then I do not use Windows.

Paranoia is a mental illness, not a belief (5, Insightful)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979196)

Stallman is not a paranoid. He is a cynic, and an accurate one. He merely rips away all the happytalk and states the problem in stark terms. That's not paranoia, which is a loaded term come to be used by PR masters to smear opponents. That and "conspiracy theorist".

Stallman and I are old enough to remember how Microsoft has comported itself for a quarter century. They are consistent liars and cheats, and pointing this out is just a service to the yunguns who don't even remember MS criminally falsifying video evidence -- and getting caught red-handed, too -- at the monopoly trial. IF you or I had done that, we'd still be in federal prison. MS just had a president dump their criminality into the shredder, and then made even more monopoly money.

They perform no action idly. They've a plan, and it involves killing competition and keeping all the money in the world for themselves. It's a mission statement.

Re:Paranoia is a mental illness, not a belief (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16979702)

They perform no action idly. They've a plan, and it involves killing competition and keeping all the money in the world for themselves. It's a mission statement.


Isn't this the very definition of "corporation"? The head of every single company in the world would probably sell his or her mother for dog food if it meant an uptick in their stock price.

trusted.. just not trusting you (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979228)

trusted computing means media giants and software vendors don't need to trust you, thats the whole point of it. you can provide all the security they are proposing without any lock in. MS is chosing to make this user unfriendly, it's not needed to design a secure terminal at all.

I had a terrible dream last night. (1)

SynapseLapse (644398) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979248)

I had a dream that Microsoft consorted with Cisco, Sun, Comcast and Intel to REQUIRE a trusted computer to access Internet2. It was billed as the only way to bring "law and order" to the wild west of the 'net.

Silly dream? *shrugs*

It's for moving licenses (1)

SiliconEntity (448450) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979282)

Here is the description from the patent that describes what it's for:

[0013] It is to be appreciated that from time to time the user, the computing device 14, the trusted component 18, or another entity (hereinafter, the client) may wish to remove a license 16 from use in connection therewith. For example, it may be the case that the client no longer wishes to render the corresponding content 12, or that the client wishes to transfer the license 16 to another client. Although the client could merely remove the license 16 on its own, it may be the case that the license 16 is stored in a store such as the secure store 22 and is therefore not accessible except under controlled circumstances, or it may be the case that an external entity wishes to ensure that the license 16 is in fact removed. In one envisioned scenario, where a client that purchased the license 16 from a service for value and wishes to `return` the license 16 for a refund, it is to be expected that the service would require some assurance that the returned license 16 is in fact removed from the client. In another envisioned scenario, where a client that purchased the license 16 from a service for a first computing device 14 and wishes to transfer the license 16 to a second computing device 14, it is likewise to be expected that the service would require some assurance that the transferred license 16 is in fact removed from the first computing device 14.

[0014] Accordingly, a need exists for an architecture and method that effectuates trusted removal of a license 16 from use by a client. In particular, a need exists for an architecture and method that notifies a removal service or the like in a trusted manner that the license 16 is to be removed from use by a client or the like and that in fact removes the license 16 in a trusted manner from use by the client.
So the main idea is to have a way that the client software (such as WMP) can notify the license server that the license (i.e. decryption keys, etc) is being deleted from a particular machine. This is so they can support letting people move content from one machine to another without automatically authorizing unlimited copying. It's a normal and reasonable part of an overall DRM system. I'm sure Apple's iTunes does something similar when you authorize and de-authorize machines.

It doesn't really have anything to do with Trusted Computing Group (aka TCPA) style Trusted Computing, rather they mean that the server trusts the client (just as Apple trusts iTunes).

Re:It's for moving licenses (1)

arminw (717974) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979674)

.....So the main idea is to have a way that the client software (such as WMP) can notify the license server that the license (i.e. decryption keys, etc) is being deleted from a particular machine......

Could this be the real reason why MS doesn't want their VISTA to run in a virtual machine? Virtualization allows anyone to make an end run around all DRM and activation schemes.

Oh, so all good then? Right.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16979744)

So it's nothing to worry about that MS is patenting the method of moving licenses from one trusted computer to another? If they wanted to just be able to do this, they could simply create the software, which is then 'prior art' preventing anyone in the future patenting the method and demanding royalties from MS. The only reason to patent something like this rather than simply create it is so they have the ability to lock others out of the market. I can see the ads now - buy your digital music from the official MS music website (or sites paying MS their 10%), not some skanky sideshow like itunes - or when you upgrade, you'll lose it all.

Do read EFF article please (2, Informative)

Jasper__unique_dammi (901401) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979306)

I may be redundant here, but the EFF article [eff.org] looks great. It is long though, but I just want to post this to encourage you reading it all. It may prevent a couple of misconceptions. (it did for me)

It is very simple (5, Insightful)

DrJimbo (594231) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979310)

When the user/owner controls the keys it really is trusted computing. When someone other than the user/owner controls the keys then it is treacherous computing. Unfortunately, perhaps for marketing reasons, Microsoft does not use these definitions.

And for the record, Richard Stallman is very good at foreseeing problems way before other people, but that does not make him paranoid, just foresightful.

The technical specification of "owner" (3, Interesting)

bitspotter (455598) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979360)

The TCPA and TCG technical specifications define what it means to be an "owner" of a device, to "take ownership" of a device. The ability to revoke features on device like this if you, the consumer who purchased the device (the "owner" in the legal sense) is not really problematic. It's a useful feature, in case, eg, your device is stolen.

The problem , of course, comes when you buy or rent a Trusted Computing device from a vendor who has previously "taken ownership" of the device before your purchase, in the technical sense put forth in the spec. If you're renting it, then it's legally the property of the vendor, and they have every right to control of their property. But if you purchase a device outright, there's no excuse for a vendor to retain ownership in the technical sense if they have ceded it to you in the legal one. This is the Crux of all the "evil" potential that Trusted Computing has. If the consumer is the owner, there's not much vendors can do to be evil with it.

The features of Trusted Computing devices work, and they are genuinely useful - but they only serve the "owner" of the device. It is our responsibility to demand full ownership of our devices (and not to settle for "rented" equipment, in the technical sense or the legal one).

could be used to control use of olderS/W versions (1)

hguorbray (967940) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979548)

I can see this also being used to force 'updated' software on users who are unwilling to upgrade -to a newer version of WMP for instance. Even to the point of browser access to an IIS site.

and I can see this scenario playing out constantly as hobbysists and hackers alike start hacking the new generation of DRM enabled Vista, office, WMP etc.

as soon as someone posts an exploit to say -allow running VMs on a home version of vista microsoft or to bypass dosument security they can threaten to revoke licenses on compromised versions of the software to force an upgrade to an 'improved' version of the software.

although I can see the uses against data and device theft as other posters have pointed out -but You'll probably need to have Vista DataGuard(tm) version to be able to do this....if they would even allow users that much control over their own data.

What's the speed of Dark?

Re:could be used to control use of olderS/W versio (2, Interesting)

Renraku (518261) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979736)

Microsoft's ultimate goal is to have code in their products that allows it to intelligently deal with anything Microsoft might see as a threat. For example, if it saw evidence that it was in a virtual machine (ex The Matrix) it could freak out and retaliate. Retaliation could be anything from an error dialog to a grind-to-a-halt command that can only be undone if the user upgrades.

Think about it. It would be like having a Microsoft board member sitting inside of your computer! The best part is that he can phone home whenever he wishes, to be updated.

Windows 98 was easy to pirate and hack.

Windows XP was a little more difficult to pirate, but about the same to hack. The protections in place caused a large annoyance to those that bought the software legally. And that was BEFORE the WGA shit.

Windows Vista will be more difficult to pirate/hack, but I GUARANTEE that it will be. Of course, the legal end user will suffer the most damage, as usual.

I fucking loathe the day that mod chips become necessary to actually be in control of your own computer.

Does MS want Computers to be like cell phones? (2, Insightful)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979742)

With all of the lock down that they have?
*You can only use our phones
*You must pay for a data plan to the get discount on that phone
*You can only use apps that you buy at our store
*Our phones are locked to our network
*We force updates on to you
*We lock out things on your phone to force you to use our network to use them
aka get photos off of the phone
*We have a download limit on our unlimited data plan
and so on?

Re:Does MS want Computers to be like cell phones? (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979798)

Probably they do.

But there are countermeasures against locked phones, as there will be here. Either buy a phone direct from the manufacturer and insert your SIM (only a few hundred $), buy a used unlocked phone, or use a cell phone unlocking service.

-b.

Re:Does MS want Computers to be like cell phones? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16980552)

But what with the system you buy direct from the manufacturer like dell will only run m$ windows and apps from the dell store?

Lets see what Razor 1911 and the likes have to say (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979802)

about this issue eh ?

BEFORE you push such hardware/software out, its remedy will be already being downloaded for hundreds of thousands via p2p.

fucking morons. you still havent been able to understand it - you cant control INFORMATION.

Ill speak rather philosophically so that some clueless b.a. graduates at microsoft maybe might be able to understand what is going on :

By the esoteric nature of it, information/knowledge WANTS and NEEDS FREE flow, and it flourishes and grows in such an environment. If the environment is not as such, it CREATES it, choosing the vessels offering it. You cant build a business on profiting from information, yet still STUPIDLY try to control it - the more you control, it, being like a fluid, will find more complicated methods to travel/propagate, the more complicated measures you take, the more complicated and unmanageable your situation will become.

Check open source community. check HOW people that are thousands of kilometers apart, with totally different agendas, can work on the same thing, and work efficiently, and create top-notch stuff, and fluorish.

check the state of microsoft - with zillions of $ and representatives/branchesin almost EVERY country, you are still unable to cope with any situation rising in any front, trying to imitate other companies (google, yahoo, others), and trying to resort to medieval-like control schemes.

HEY GATES, BALMER !!!

This is what happens when geeks, who have invented and built this information/internet revolution leaves the running of their corporations to clueless, number-minded BA graduates. You have done a big mistake by hiring crapload of yuppies with the intent to do 'business' in a totally different area, even dimension, they do not have a clue about.

check google, check yourselves. youre taking a head dive. no need to even invent such control schemes on music, video and crap, probably 3-4 years later google and the like is going to start restoring and playing them for us wherever, however we want.

make your choice - you either get on the train, or get under it.

Re:Lets see what Razor 1911 and the likes have to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16980652)

Google has Google DRM. Please don't paint them as saints. They're the same as any other company out there that has any kind of copyrighted media to manage: hopelessly stuck on the belief that DRM is worth something, when the only people it screws are paying, technically incompetent customers.

Further, let companies try to DRM things. Just let them keep doing it. Stop worrying about making them quit it. Worry about helping the EFF and other organizations draft laws to repeal the force of law put behind DRM systems. The law already enforces copyright, so there's no need for laws enforcing DRM. Worry about cracking DRM systems. If you don't believe in it, destroy it. That's called civil disobedience, and it's not your right. It's your responsibility.

RTFP people - this is FOR the user (1)

Dr. Blue (63477) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979870)

Come on. At least *try* to read the thing.

This patent is NOT for a remote entity to revoke a license. It's for the *client* (the USER) to revoke a patent in such a way that the remote service is assured that the license really has been removed.

If you want to "return" content that you bought or you want to transfer content to another machine, this allows you to do that.

In addition, this is standard DRM stuff. People might not like DRM (I don't particularly like DRM), but this particular patent allows a user to prove something useful in a DRM system, and in no way gives Microsoft control over your system.

Oh - and it has zip to do with TPMs and "Trusted Computing" in the sense of the Trusted Computing Group, other than the fact that TPMs might be used to make a DRM system which would use something like this. But you can make such a DRM system today, even without the hardware, just using Windows Media Player and the associated DRM.

This is another reason they don't allow VMs (1)

Myria (562655) | more than 7 years ago | (#16980594)

Tell the server that you're no longer authorized so you can move your license, then hit the rewind button in VMWare =)

Melissa

The last straw (2, Interesting)

leeosenton (764295) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979918)

This whole saga has been the final straw for me. I have kept a working install of Linux or BSD for several years, but always needed Windows for something. No more. I have rebuilt my system and shifted to Linux for all home computing. I have always wanted to switch, but never got around to solving each of the minor speed bumps that came along. It was just easier to boot Windows and do what I needed to do. When I wanted to play, I would boot Linux and tinker away. No more. I am completely switched and have remained Windows free for a month. Learning to use Linux and the accompanying applications takes time, not because it is hard, because it is different.

Thank you, Microsoft. You have scared me with the latest blatant attempt to derail open source by dividing the community. The increased presence of DRM in Windows gives me chills, I don't think I can control my own data when you keep the keys to my computer. I don't call Chevrolet for permission to drive to work, I'll be damned if I need your permission to access my own data. Here is the summary, you are fired! Don't worry about pirate protection, trust me, I won't bother. I think I can find the energy (and community support) to solve my remaining migration issues.

Stupid Terminology (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979964)

There is no such thing as "Trusted Computing". There are only degrees of untrusted computing.

Paranoid? (1)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979968)

"Just because Richard Stallman is paranoid doesn't mean Microsoft's not out to get you."

When it comes to Microsoft - I know I'm being paranoid, the question is, Am I being paranoid enough?

I already have security without Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16979980)

I already have safeguards to protect my data from theft. It's called "running Linux" and "encryption".

And on a side note, this plus a few related recent stories about Microsoft are making me uncomfortable in a new way; Microsoft doing the job that should be done by law enforcement appointed by an elected government. Who here hasn't considered that Microsoft could simply hire it's own army and take over? Think they can't afford it? Think they haven't considered it? Think the citizens would even notice? That's the next step in a corporatocracy (which the United States currently is), is to simply replace the government with a corporation and be done with it.
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