Saturday, January 21, 2006

A discussion on trusted computing

Today I had a big discussion about trusted computing. The question was is it bad is it good. Should we be against it and why.

From my perspective the biggest problem with trusted computing that I have is that it may be an open standard, but it is not a free standard. The specifications of the standard that the trusted computing group is available for organisations, it costs at least $1000,- and thereby excludes all these people that create wonderfull programs that people share. Because of this lack of openness it is has a fundamental problem. It makes me trust organisations that I not necessarily trust; why should I trust Yahoo, MSN and AOL as they demonstrate what I perceive as a lack of protection for the privacy of their clients? This trusted computing architecture does not allow me to trust my own software of the software created by a friend. It does not because I do not see how I can create software that will be trusted by my system.

Personally I do not think trusted computing is the equivalent of digital rights management. I am of the opinion that DRM leads to giving away rights that are mine.

Trusted computing does one other thing. I expect that it will take away much of the anonimity that is still with us on the Internet. This aspect is probably something that few people considered. My first clue came after I realised that it is a perfect tool to do vandal fighting on Wikipedia. It gives us a tool to more precisely know where these people come from and it can give us much better protection against this scurge. The other side of the coin is that when it provides us with more control, it will also give more control to those that I do not trust to use it wisely.

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