Digital rights management catastrophe continues to approach

A correspondent back from a war somewhere writes:

More to the point, we had a large amount of Civvy laptops, and military systems together. There were major problems with dust, heat etc.

From what I read of the Tilt bits on the DRM in Vista, one malfunctioning peripheral could shut down the whole network.

In addition, there would be no way to reinstall the machine, as you cannot just put the disks in, you have to re-contact microsoft. This could be rather difficult in a war zone without communication. Trying to canibalise machines would have the same effect, disabling the operating system.

What I find most remarkable about DRM evolution is the lack of any discussion about liability – and since, I’m not a lawyer I mean here “moral liability”. If I can’t get to my bank records, or call the cops on skype when an armed intruder is in my home, or send an email on a military radio, or do any number of expected and perfectly legal operations because a DRM system has triggered who is to blame? Suppose XYZ Bank of NY is processing transactions on their rack of standard motherboards, and capacitor fails on an unused peripheral, triggering a chain of DRM actions that causes the hypervisor to decide that the underlying OS is not trustworthy or that the file containing some order is not permitted to be read. Who does the investor contact when his order to sell 1000000 Euros gets delayed until the rates have made it a terribly money losing trade? DRM operations are, in effect, denial-of-service attacks and the excuse is “I can deny service to prevent unauthorized use of some property”. But I’d hate to trying to justify the death of a hiker who couldn’t get to a GPS database because a DRM system was triggered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *