Here’s an extensive discussion of the “Palladium” software that Microsoft is developing for future versions of Windows, to work with hardware designed by the “Trusted Computing Platform Alliance” led by Intel. It is promoted for its “security,” but that has deep meanings you don’t suspect. And its digital rights management features will complete the transfer of control from consumers to copyright owners in ways that will leave us pining for the good old days. You take it for granted that you can copy music files to your computer and listen to them whenever you want, that you can create data files of virtually any type on your computer and save them to your own hard disks, that you can send email to whomever you like (and the email can say whatever you want it to say), that you can upload or download files to and from other people’s computers, that you control the level of security on your computer (from none at all to a hardened fortress). Those days may be coming to an end. As the linked article concludes:

”TCPA and Palladium do not so much provide security for the user as for the PC vendor, the software supplier, and the content industry. They do not add value for the user, but destroy it. They constrain what you can do with your PC in order to enable application and service vendors to extract more money from you. This is the classic definition of an exploitative cartel – an industry agreement that changes the terms of trade so as to diminish consumer surplus.

“No doubt Palladium will be bundled with new features so that the package as a whole appears to add value in the short term, but the long-term economic, social and legal implications require serious thought.”

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