Home > Privacy, Security > Digital-rights Group Knocks “Trusted” PCs Digital-rights Group Knocks “Trusted” PCs Eugenia Loli 2003-10-02 Privacy, Security 24 Comments A high-profile digital civil liberties group is criticizing a component of the “trusted computing” technology promoted by Microsoft, IBM and other tech companies, calling the feature a threat to computer users. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 24 Comments 2003-10-02 3:10 pm when will it end? when will they understand that we don’t want them owning our personal belongings? I can see a sharp decrease in computer purchases when/if this does take hold. Perhaps it will open up a door for entrepreneurs to start up hardware/software companies that do not support this “trusted computing” garbage. What gives them the right to take control? It’s issues like these that make me want to find a new career. 2003-10-02 3:43 pm “Perhaps it will open up a door for entrepreneurs to start up hardware/software companies that do not support this “trusted computing” garbage.” We’ve got one now, Apple. http://www.apple.com/ 2003-10-02 3:54 pm I agree. This is getting out of hand. But these companies will continue to do what they can to stop piracy and such. It will continue to be a constant battle. Maybe I’ll just start saving my money for a Mac…. 2003-10-02 3:56 pm Know your enemy. Start the boycot! http://www.againsttcpa.com/tcpa-members.html IBM is joining the freedom of GPL and Linux on one side, but adores this TCPA project? Damn hypocrites. BTw, now, the project is called ‘TCG’ (Trusted Computing Group’) 2003-10-02 4:15 pm I agree that the TCG is ridiculous. The main question I have is whether TCG hardware will be able to run Linux and other operating systems or open source software. With Microsoft spear heading this group it makes me think that TCG hardware will be Linux and open source software unfriendly. 2003-10-02 4:22 pm Orwell was right… We have to stop this while we can. I own my data, the Software I pay or download under GPL, and I do not want nobody to take a look at my things or impose me a patch I do not need that maybe will put at risk other part of my environment…. 2003-10-02 4:44 pm IBM is a huge company, representing many interests. It has a lot of customers that are interested in this, and as such is a supporter. A lot of folks in the OSS community have a one-track political mind, and believe that companies like IBM are either “for” free software, or against it. IBM is “for” free software because many of its clients benefit greatly from migrating to Linux from Solaris, etc. They’re just doing their job. TCPA sucks, so use a free operating system and turn off support. Websites and apps that require it won’t be available, but generally speaking they’ll usually serve Windows-only content anyways. 2003-10-02 6:28 pm m$ wants to have customers that are totally reliant on its software. m$ must open source its software for the world to see if that level of trust is applicable. 2003-10-02 6:29 pm I can see it now… Your kid has a friend round. He cuts his knee. You put the towel in the washing machine. Your washing machine calls up the cops “Hey, they’re washing bloody clothes – it’s not their blood, get round here! bad things are happening!!” 2003-10-02 7:27 pm I never thought I’d say it: If Trusted Computing gets the go ahead I’m selling my PC’s and I WILL buy a MAC. 2003-10-02 8:07 pm when will it end? It probably won’t, assuming they don’t make the mistake that Intuit did and make the stuff so ‘in your face’ that it jumps out at people. However, contrast with produc activation In WinXP and MS Offfice – the majority doesn’t really care because it is so transparent. In fact, a friend of mine didn’t even know about PA in WinXP until I told her about it. 2003-10-02 9:41 pm Apple uses IBM’s chips and IBM is 1 of the main proponents of trusted computing. 2003-10-02 9:44 pm And forget about linux as well, because they are going to have trusted computing as well. http://www.infoworld.com/article/03/01/29/hntcpa_1.html 2003-10-02 10:16 pm The Trusted Computing Group comprises Microsoft, Intel, IBM and others, according to the report. Here we have corporations that have each been found guilty of piracy, antitrust laws violation or other mischiefs, yet they try to make us believe that the IT equivalent of the Cosa Nostra has new ideas on how to protect businesses from racketeers and other trouble makers. Excuse me but it’s hard to swallow. Hopefully, I didn’t have my meal yet when I read this nonsense, otherwise I would have thrown up. Tell me about an initiative promoted by projects like the *BSDs, a linux distro or others who don’t stand to gain financially from securing our computers and I will read their progress report regularly. The Trusted Computing Group is a political entity. Alas, most governments either don’t take this threat seriously or are too busy receiving bribes from those crooks. 2003-10-02 10:46 pm “IBM is “for” free software because many of its clients benefit greatly from migrating to Linux from Solaris, etc. They’re just doing their job.” Indeed. So to sum it up ”no idealism, but plain egoism.” Guess what? I don’t like that, and if it turns out plans against my ideals, i prefer to boycot such (groups of) people as much as i can. By not buying nor using hard- or software from them, one can influence them at least in that tiny little way. It’s a nice part of democracy, which is more then voting once in a while. I probably won’t buy IBM hardware anyways, but take NVidia for example; they’re on the list as well. If someone else wants to do so to regarding TCPA/TCG, then the list i posted earlier is plain handy. I’m already doing this regarding food (no fastfood, no meat, no products by animals), and it works out just fine. Finally, there’s a difference between using their GPL software, warezing commercial software, buying new hardware, buying second hand hardware, or getting second hand hardware for free. They all support the makers in some way, but have also different influences. Regards, and have fun supporting people who love 1984 (or, FWIW, who see animals as jews). 2003-10-03 12:06 am Every day the vastly overpopulated planet uses up 20%-25% more resources than are replenished. With this sort of overconsumption, there is no ultimate recourse other than police states. What country wants to starve? And inside each country, who decides which people are going to starve? Of course all that is really necessary is: rich/rulers + poor/workers + police technology So it will be the middle class that perishes. Thus the need to implement Microsoft/IBM/US/EU Orwell-PC’s that monitor the middle class and make sure they can’t fight the system. Orwell PC’s are inevitable. As Jobs has mostly moved Mac to the realm of the “rich”, it will be a few years longer before Mac has the full suite of DRM/Police technology. 2003-10-03 1:08 am You guys are depressing, why not educate those who are going to be effected by this stuff so they use their spending power to dicate the markets direction. What do they say, “change begins with the individual”. If anything people power can have an effect on these stupid ideas by governments and corporates, look at the crap Bush and Blair are in over Iraq. Have some faith in your fellow friends and inform them of the best computing devices for thier needs. You can steer them away from Trusted Computing Devices especially if you make it clear to them what they will loose if they purchase such a device. 2003-10-03 1:09 am This is pure FUD. Microsoft is proposing a technology that is completely opposed to the technology proposed by IBM and TCPA allies. TCPA is *only* a unique digital signature key stored in a chip. It is purposely designed to not be tamperproof because the researchers realize it would be impractical and undesireable to secure the chip against tampering by the system’s owner. All TCPA is designed to do is to allow unique keys for secure communications via IPSec, OpenSSL, SSH, and other encrypted communications. Man-in-the-middle snooping under such instances, barring exploitable algorithmic weaknesses, would be practically impossible for the practical life of the data. Microsoft on the other hand, left the TCPA consortium because the other companies refused to incorporate Microsoft designs intended to lock away the keys and enable their use to lock softwares and licenses as well. Essentially, using the key as part of an overall method of secure digital “rights” management. IBM and allies refused to follow that trend. IBM’s researchers called the Microsoft approach untennable. Securing a computer from someone that has unlimited access to the hardware would be a losing battle. If you don’t believe me, read IBM’s own whitepapers and responses to TCPA privacy concerns: http://www.research.ibm.com/gsal/tcpa/ TCPA is really no different than generating RSA/DES/IDEA/etc keys when first initializing a encrypted communications, or using a swipe card with a digital signature key. It’s just in a more convenient package that makes communications secure enough to transmit or carry sensitive materials. 2003-10-03 2:25 am <quote> This is pure FUD. Microsoft is proposing a technology that is completely opposed to the technology proposed by IBM and TCPA allies. TCPA is *only* a unique digital signature key stored in a chip. It is purposely designed to not be tamperproof because the researchers realize it would be impractical and undesireable to secure the chip against tampering by the system’s owner. All TCPA is designed to do is to allow unique keys for secure communications via IPSec, OpenSSL, SSH, and other encrypted communications. Man-in-the-middle snooping under such instances, barring exploitable algorithmic weaknesses, would be practically impossible for the practical life of the data. </quote> then WHY OH WHY don’t they let the customer have they key necessary to break tcpa encryption ? They (the “vendor”) are the only ones with access to that key. Please reply. 2003-10-03 2:50 am Suddenly all the PC fanboys no longer like the x86 and are looking for alternatives and oh, where is Walterbyrd and his tirade of pro-IBM marketspeak? On one hand we have the “PC world” who continuously fobb the responsbility on to the next vendor whilst in the other corner we have SUN who realise (amazing) that secure computer is bought about by not producing crappy products riddled with holes and security patches, when released, actually work the first time rather than bringing down the machine, aka, Windows XP patch a month ago which bought a top of the line PC to the speed of a 386. Then again, it isn’t “trendy” to talk against the PC, Microsoft, IBM or any other pro-x86 sycophant that roams the earth like a scavenging rodent. <RANT> Oh and as for future Apple is expensive comments; geee, I am soooooooo poor that I can *JUST* afford to pay $1899 for a computer. God forbid the idea of *SAVING* money like the good old days. These days we have the “me, me, me”, “gimme, gimme, gimme”, “I want it now!” generation who have never heard of making choices, saving money and thinking about the purchasing decisions. </RANT> 2003-10-03 8:57 am While certain people may be an unabashed Mac-patriots (there’s nothing wrong with that), the reality of the market is that Apple is expensive and is losing marketshare every day. Most people in the world do not have the discretionary income to afford a Mac. Even 80% of the current Mac installed base has not upgraded to OS X as they don’t have the money to afford a new Apple computer. As it stands today, OS X has about 0.5% share of the total installed base of personal computers. By the end of 2004, that is projected to be 0.35%, perhaps as low as 0.25%. The Mac ownership demographics are mostly rich people. That is why the DRM focus is on Intel/Windows today. However down the road a few years, Mac will have to toe the line as well. There is no escaping the fundamental problem. The world is running out of resources. As the shortages get worse, the conflicts over the remaining resources will also get worse. Obviously police technology like DRM is needed to prevent computers and the Internet from being a tool that can be used by anyone other than the rich/rulers and their enforcers. Thus ultimately, we are not talking about that tired old conflict between Mac and PC. We are talking about the lock down of the entire personal computing infrastructure. Unless new ideas come onto the scene, the world will continue to be ruled by the two-headed monster of overpopulation and globalization, both of which require police technology to be present in all general purpose computing infrastructure components. 2003-10-03 3:06 pm Why all the paranoia? It doesn’t take a mind like a steel trap to see that “trusted computing” could be a tremendous benefit to a computer user. The only snag is if an OS supplier “reaches out” and breaks something that should be working on end-user PCs. Not only will any incidents of this nature have serious repercussions on the vendor concerned, but there is inevitably going to be a considerable amount of work going into writing “trusted computing” facilities that look “trusted” from the outside, but are under the complete control of the equipment owner. Let’s face it – Law enforcement agencies are not going to be happy if a web site owner (or whomever) can stop them from viewing something they have downloaded because their permissions have been revoked. As long as there are back doors, they will be exploited. When a person decides that they aren’t happy with the facility their OS provides, then they’ll change to something more benign. Remember when the US decided to stop the export of strong encryption? Did it stop the rest of the world from implementing even stronger encryption without US assistance? Why should “trusted computing” be any different? 2003-10-03 4:09 pm Why all the paranoia? It doesn’t take a mind like a steel trap to see that “trusted computing” could be a tremendous benefit to a computer user. Trusted computing will hardly be a benefit to a computer USER. The “trust” is not at the USER level. It is designed to be used by governments and large corporations — the ruling powers of the world. The USER will have not have full control over their computer or the information created on that computer. Microsoft is purposely not fixing the security problems in current versions of Windows just so they will have a case for making everyone upgrade to DRM Windows (Palladium, TCG, whatever). Furthermore, “trusted computing” creates vendor lock-in that is many more times as powerful as what exists today. How do you switch all your “secure” documents to another platform? At the core, “trusted computing” means “the worker using a ‘trusted pc’ can be watched, monitored, and their work controlled by the worker’s owner”. And DRM should have been labeled DPM — Digital Prison Management. People, the answer to a better world is not prisons, not police technology. It is education. Better people make a better world. 2003-10-06 9:48 am Keep that aluminium beanie hat on, bro!