The news of the week was definitely Microsoft’s official announcement of Palladium in Steven Levy’s Newsweek article last week. Since the article went to print, the Internet has been abuzz with talk of the new platform, and the consensus seems to be that the untrusted person in this new computing paradigm is the person who actually uses the computer. If you’re not up to speed, here’s a list of resources that I’ve been able to scrape together:
- The Big Secret, Steven Levy’s original story on Palladium
- HP Engineer Speaks to TCPA Fears and Conspiracy Concerns (from the Interesting People mailing list)
- Ross Anderson’s TCPA/Palladium FAQ
- Robert X Cringely’s I Told You So column
Bear in mind that people are mostly discussing worst case scenarios at this point, but one thing I’ve learned is that when corporations are involved, they usually work to maximize exploitation. This is doubly true when it comes to the entertainment industry. One thing that looks like it’s going to happen is that any software that can be updated automatically is subject to being surreptitiously modified so that it enforces whatever new DRM scheme comes down the pike. The license agreement shipped with the latest update for Windows Media Player says as much. The license agreement says that future updates could not only affect the operation of WMP, but also other software as well (like third party tools for playing audio and video files, no doubt).