Bob Cringeley on Palladium

Bob Cringeley on Palladium
From I, Cringeley.

“This week, Microsoft announced Palladium through an exclusive story in Newsweek written by Steven Levy, who ought to have known better. Palladium is the code name for a Microsoft project to make all Internet communication safer by essentially pasting a digital certificate on every application, message, byte, and machine on the Net, then encrypting the data EVEN INSIDE YOUR COMPUTER PROCESSOR.

Palladium compatible hardware (presumably chipsets and motherboards) will come from both AMD and Intel, and the software will, of course, come from Microsoft. That software is what I had dubbed TCP/MS. The point of all this is simple. It may actually make the Internet somewhat safer. But the real purpose of this stuff, I fear, is to take technology owned by nobody (TCP/IP) and replace it with technology owned by Redmond. That’s taking the Internet and turning it into MSN. Oh, and we’ll all have to buy new computers.

This is diabolical. If Microsoft is successful, Palladium will give Bill Gates a piece of every transaction of any type while at the same time marginalizing the work of any competitor who doesn’t choose to be Palladium-compliant. So much for Linux and Open Source, but it goes even further than that. So much for Apple and the Macintosh. It’s a militarized network architecture only Dick Cheney could love.

Ironically, Microsoft says they will reveal Palladium’s source code, which is little more than a head feint toward the Open Source movement. Nobody at Microsoft is saying anything about giving the ownership of that source code away or of allowing just anyone to change it.

Under Palladium as I understand it, the Internet goes from being ours to being theirs. The very data on your hard drive ceases to be yours because it could self-destruct at any time. We’ll end up paying rent to use our own data! ”