Coming War on General Computation

Everyone should watch this, Cory lays out very clearly the dangers facing computing by incompetent lawmakers owned by media conglomerates bent on controlling every aspect of computing to bring about a “pay per view” world.

I met Cory at the 2003 Digital ID World convention and played pool with him and the then-head of Microsoft’s Palladium (trusted computing) initiative. Listening to them debate the issues around the newly emerging trusted computing field got me very interested in this and I’ve followed it ever since. At the time I had no idea Cory was a famous blogger, author, and expert who speaks around the world, which probably worked out in my favor since I would have probably been a bit intimidated otherwise.

In layman’s terms, the concept is that your computer (or any hardware really) would only allow cryptographically signed operating systems to run on it, which in turn only allow cryptographically signed programs to run and (in the extreme case) remote attestation would mean that servers would only communicate with your computer if the above cases were true. This would turn general purpose computers into glorified iPhones (which only allow you to install apps which Apple has approved). The media companies love this idea because then it allows them to insist hardware be “locked down” becoming nothing more than media boxes. The danger here is that computing has primarily advanced over the decades by hobbyists and small companies pushing the envelope and innovating (think Linux for example, which in a DRM/Trusted Computing world could not exist). By taking control over what can and cannot run on your computer away from the owner, and giving it to the manufacturers and media companies, computers as we know them could no longer exist.

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