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Re: Retracting the term ownership (was: Re: Separate trusted computing d

From: Marcus Brinkmann
Subject: Re: Retracting the term ownership (was: Re: Separate trusted computing designs)
Date: Fri, 01 Sep 2006 00:36:08 +0200
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At Thu, 31 Aug 2006 14:38:34 -0400,
"Jonathan S. Shapiro" <address@hidden> wrote:
> I do not believe that the same is true for TPM. The problem with TPM is
> that the one widely publicized application is DRM. In discussions on
> this list, we have identified a number of scenarios where TPM protects
> the interests of the *customer*. TPM per se is merely a mechanism for
> mechanically embedding certain contract terms. Some of those contracts
> are socially bad, some are socially neutral, and some are socially
> positive.

That's the real question, isn't it?  The TPM supporters are
cherry-picking the use cases and evaluating the scenarios mostly under
the aspects of protection, and a narrow set of other interests.  So
are doing some of the critics, I should add.  That's why I am
targeting at a level of analysis that transcends the individual use
cases.  A complete evaluation of the expected net effect on society is
desperately lacking, but the threats are numerous and have been
expressed by many parties.  To downplay this to the DRM example is an
understatement of the criticism that exists.

> There does not appear to be any technical means for differentiating
> among these.

There doesn't need to be.  We can do it in the old-fashioned, human

> But arguing against TPM because of the single example of DRM does not
> strike me as a sound approach. In principle, it is a good thing that
> parties to a contract should be able to verify compliance.

This is one of the claims that I would like to see analyzed further.
I have given several specific, real world examples where this does not
seem to be the case, but where breaking the terms of a contract is not
only legitimate, but sometimes even a responsibility.  The most recent
examples where the Pentagon papers, emergency action to avert danger,
lieing in a job interview, and shrink-wrap licenses.

> DRM is an unfortunate perversion of this technical capability.

My current opinion is that the analysis indicates that it is not a
perversion of the technology, but that the perversion is inherent in
the technology, because of the inherent nature of information as

Interestingly enough, the same argument shows that the technology
fundamentally doesn't work in the long run.  However, even if it
doesn't work in principle, its attempted implementation can
potentially do a lot of harm in the meantime.


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