Thursday, February 07, 2008

Dissecting DRM Issues

Digital Locks - Thursday, 07 February 2008

On my independent search on the question of sufficient adherence, this above resource is a must start.

At the technological level, Russell McOrmond,, has written a very good explanation of the technical protective measures, the TPM's, and their different forms, that are the "guts" of the Digital Rights Management (DRM) implementation, in technology. Highly understandable, readable by lay people, and recommended. It appears summative in nature after considerable work over the years on these issues, tirelessly. A *must* read if you are interested in DRM/TPM: Click here.

David Berlind, an excellent technology writer for many years, from his days at PC Week (now eWeek), is now the Executive Editor of ZDNet, has also produced a video that spells out some problems with DRM that he refers to in the video as C.R.A.P. Content, Restriction, Annulment, and Protection. He makes an excellent illustration that may explain well why Microsoft's views arrived in the Hill Times this week, FUD and all. Its all about C.R.A.P. and the other element, the lock-in. Who controls the C.R.A.P. is a battle for market share and retaining relevance.

Lastly on this technical side, this You Tube video below explains well why some people worldwide are none too happy to consider any "DRM/TPM" as an answer within "Fair" copyright law. This of course becomes problematic to determining what "sufficient adherence" would be possible at this time, if it meant including the wrong kind of TPM. Its kind of like throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Did I really say "kind" of TPM? See, you have to read the *must* read Russell McOrmond article to know the battlefield.

The awareness of this issue is still relatively low, with many young people growing up, finding they are "stuck" and lacking empowerment. The parents in Canada are getting messages from their kids. Are their parents going to do something about it? The Fair Copyright for Canada Group on Facebook is a starting point, for parents to get some help, find they are not alone, and maybe work to getting some satisfaction for their kids, if not themselves. The kids should be welcome too as they are going to have to live with this!

On the subject of kids, my kids are not yet voters, but they have had enough experience bouncing into barriers and subscription schemes in trying to stay lawful, that most definitely more barriers are not the answer. If their stories are very similar within the families of all of our MP's themselves, with younger families, those MP's actually may already have gotten the message before something goes too far. For sure, if those MP's listen to their own kids, this issue has been at their own dinner tables, let alone in their mail.

Mr. or Mrs. MP, no disrespect intended, but have your kids been forced to P2P to "fairly access" music? At least to try before they buy with your money? Industry Canada studied the issue and found this relationship, though its one of those that when you read it, it becomes one of those that you "already knew." Nice to get the research done that your gut and credit cards say is true.

And while I ask this, just in case any MP does cruise by, did you happen to buy some Sony/BMG Music CD's in 2005 or early 2006, and stick them in your computer at work? Click on a box about agreeing to use something you just blinked at cause the reading time is sparse? Was the music good? Your IT staff may want to talk to you, or worse, your security staff. Or even worse ... Don't ya love "DRM" or "TPM" now?

And just in case, Mr. or Mrs. Member of Parliament, you want to know a small bit more about the Rootkit story here is part of the story from the CBC. Small? Part? The public news source missed reporting that security researchers knew of this Rootkit that Microsoft itself had troubles with, as a security risk to Windows PC's (see your computer) almost one month prior to Mr. Russinovich. But they had to obtain legal council to release information on the TPM employed. Nice eh? (they were threatened before) Now think of a fine fellow like Russell chomping at the bit wanting to tell us "Told ya so!" about some TPM , that he can't talk about, that might impair the security of Windows PC's everywhere ... Canada or the US or anywhere else, government computers too, cause of that DMCA chilling effect. The Princeton University Professors were chilled (could not speak publicly) and that is not a small institution without legal resources. Might just take a guy who says "Canadian DMCA? I don't give a crap. No one messes with my PC!" to break the news, and if the Copyright Act says the 'hero' must go to jail, so be it I guess. The hero's right now in the U.S. are somewhat still chilled. Is that chilling in a different dimension for ya? See this list of links related to information technology and what can go wrong. I am chilled by some thoughts of discoveries that cannot reach the light of day on a timely basis.

Has Microsoft, with over a 90% share of PC's gotten the security religion? You bet. I use Vista cause it is the best security they can come up with. Its idiot proof almost (ouch). How many MS OS "zombie" computer networks are there controlled by "bots"? I am afraid to look at the credible numbers here, in the known universe.
I want a good nights sleep, thank you very much.

You starting to think like me, that more than the 40,000 Fair Copyright for Canada Facebook members are going to be paying attention soon? As in people who use computers who wish them free from security risks? And people concerned with National Security? And people concerned with freedom of speech? Yada, yada. Its a long list. I got a bad feeling on this one for any government not proceeding with the utmost care. Might just be worth getting an election called for something else, eh.

UPDATE: Nice bust. In Quebec with "as many as one million computers around the world" saying also that "government computers were also compromised, but investigators will not say in which country."
See: "International hacking network busted, Quebec Police Say"
When more details come out, it might be interesting to know exactly how they carried out their mischief ... but some of us already know how they did it. Just ask Steve Gibson at

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