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[Discuss-gnuradio] [Phil Karn: It's war, folks --- SSSCA formally introd

From: Eric Blossom
Subject: [Discuss-gnuradio] [Phil Karn: It's war, folks --- SSSCA formally introduced]
Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2002 14:52:00 -0800
User-agent: Mutt/1.2.5i

Apologies to those who have already seen this stuff, but it is
directly applicable to open source software defined radio.

--- Begin Message --- Subject: Phil Karn: It's war, folks --- SSSCA formally introduced Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2002 08:10:13 -0500
--- begin forwarded text

Status:  U
From: address@hidden
To: address@hidden
Subject: It's war, folks --- SSSCA formally introduced
Reply-to: address@hidden
Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2002 17:33:36 -0800
Sender: address@hidden

The story just hit Slashdot -- Senators Hollings, Stevens, Inouye,
Breaux, Nelson, and Feinstein have introduced the so-called "Consumer
Broadband and Digital Television Act of 2002", formerly known to most
of us as the SSSCA. The text of Hollings' comments are available here:


The Slashdot article (with links to other coverage) is here:


I cannot overstress the awful implications of this bill if it becomes
law. The personal computer, as we know it, will be destroyed. The
Internet, as we know it, will be destroyed.

Hollings doesn't say that, of course. But all through his statement he
claims that there exist technological solutions to the piracy
problem. These apparently consist entirely of "do not copy" bits added
to copyrighted materials.

The fact that any "do-not-copy-bit" can be trivially cleared on any
personal computer that can be programmed by its user does not seem to
have registered yet with the authors of this bill. And when it does,
the logical next step will then become obvious to them: the licensing
of programmers and/or the prohibition of open source software as too
easily modified by end users. And when *that* fails, a total ban on
any personal computer that can be programmed by its user.

It's time for the IETF, its members and the IAB to react, and react
quickly and forcefully.  We need to say clearly that there is simply
no such thing as an "Internet copy prevention technology" that can
actually work in a world with programmable personal computers.

We need to steer policy makers in a different direction, toward
watermarking technologies that do not block copies from being made but
allows them to be traced after the fact.  Yes, effective watermarking
is technically difficult, and several have already been broken. But at
least it's *possible* to build an effective watermarking scheme
without utterly destroying both the personal computer and the Internet.


--- end forwarded text

R. A. Hettinga <mailto: address@hidden>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <http://www.ibuc.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

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