DRM vs TM
Posted Feb 10, 2007 10:21 UTC (Sat) by man_ls
In reply to: Bitfrost: the OLPC security model
Parent article: Bitfrost: the OLPC security model
As the linked page takes pains to explain, DRM can be based (on computers) upon "Trusted Computing", which Stallman mimics as "Treacherous Computing". You are saying that DRM can be used for anything (and is indeed used on the OLPC), when in fact it is TM that you are speaking about. It seems like a pedantic point, but it is important for the discussion not to mix these concepts IMHO.
TM can be a chip used by the kernel with cryptographic keys under the control of the owner, in which case it can be a good thing. The keys can also be under the control of a third party, which is a disaster. In the case of the OLPC it can turn into a brick. As it is a government-sponsored program anyway, I guess they have thought about it: if it gets disabled by mistake, you can always take it to a hypothetic repair service. I personally don't like the idea, and think it is a weak point in the whole scheme, but inexplicably nobody asked me before implementing it ;)
DRM, as one of its main peddlers has just said, is always a bad idea. Notice that, in the case of a DVD player you don't even need TM, as it is a closed platform anyway; in this case the device can simply have its keys revoked and it will refuse to play protected content, which is different than turning into a brick. When it is a computer in disguise you need complicated schemes such as TM to make the device obey its true master, the manufacturer.
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