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Re: bit-split, or: the schizophrenia of trusted computing

From: Jonathan S. Shapiro
Subject: Re: bit-split, or: the schizophrenia of trusted computing
Date: Mon, 01 May 2006 14:55:40 -0400

On Mon, 2006-05-01 at 20:30 +0200, Marcus Brinkmann wrote:
> > I will go further: in the absence of OS support, such violations cannot
> > (in general) even be *detected*, so the suggestion that their can be
> > deferred to social or legal enforcement actually means that you are
> > declaring that these types of encapsulation can be violated without any
> > human consequence at all -- or at least that the possibility of such a
> > violation with serious human consequence places the problem domain, by
> > definition, outside of the applications that are "of interest to the
> > Hurd".
> I can't parse that paragraph.

Sorry. Let me try to explain.

If we say "mechanical prevention has other bad consequences, so we will
leave problem X for social enforcement" we have a problem. In order for
social enforcement to actually occur, we must be able to detect that the
undesirable action X actually occurred. Any means of detecting this is
necessarily built on top of enforcing primitives that are used "softly".

So if we say that we wish to remove those primitives, we are saying that
it is not important to be able to detect the undesired actions X. In
consequence, we are declaring that they are not important enough to
deserve "enforcement" in the social sense either.


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