More on Palladium. Microsoft climbs into bed with the copyright thugs
Excellent piece by Dylan Tweney. Some quotes:
“Microsoft’s newest project, code-named Palladium, is supposed to make computing safer, by building encryption and authentication technology into the hardware of your computer, right down to the level of the CPU. For example, data will be encrypted as it passes from your keyboard to the computer, to prevent wiretapping. It will be encrypted before it’s stored on your hard disk. Files and documents can be digitally signed to ensure their authenticity. And your computer can defend itself against viruses and hacker attacks, because unauthorized programs won’t even run on your computer without Palladium’s permission.
Windows XP has some rudimentary self-protection technologies built in, but Palladium won’t appear full-blown until the next major release of Windows in a couple of years. That’s because Palladium depends on specialized chips being developed by Intel and AMD, which will handle the encryption and authentication. In the early stages, this will rely on a so-called “Fritz” chip (named after Sen. Fritz Hollings, the sponsor of a draconian digital rights bill), which verifies that your computer is running an approved combination of hardware and software — before your computer even boots up. Once Fritz certifies the system, it can pass that certification along to third parties, such as Microsoft, Disney, Sony, or AOL/Time Warner. Later, “Fritz” capabilities will be built right into the central processor, making it next-to-impossible to intercept unencrypted data. Everything coming in and out of the CPU will be encrypted and digitally signed.
The problem is that Palladium requires users to place a huge amount of trust in Microsoft. You don’t get to decide what runs on your computer — Microsoft does. You can’t even open files unless you’ve been authorized by Microsoft, or by a third party. And that puts a huge amount of power into the hands of these corporations.”