Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi
 


Friday, September 5, 2003

Microsoft Palladium Threat Just Around The Corner Now

Microsoft Office competitors your time is now!

AgainstTCPA-Log01Big.gif

Microsoft is ready to gear up for the final rush in the preparation for release of Microsoft Office 2003.

As I wrote before, this as other signs mark Microsoft official entry into the era of Trustworthy Computing. This is the beginning of the end.

Integration of DRM (digital rights management) features into the Office suite will allow Microsoft to prevent users from being able to open Word originated docs from other application or to even lock the ability of individuals not having an original or paid for copy of Microfot Word from being able to open any .doc file.

The spectrum of Palladium/TCPA and of all its negative consequences is finally appearing on the horizon with all of its ugliness. To understand and find out more about the meaning and purpose of Microsoft Trusted Computing Platform Alliance please see the TCPA FAQ.

My humble suggestion is to start moving out of Microsoft Office, Outlook, and if you have enough wisdom and money, out of Windows as well.

If you think that I out of the touch with how things really are or that I have not done my homework properly as Microsoft would never do such a thing to their customers, read again this June 2002 memo from Lucky Green and then let's talk again:
Slashdot | Microsoft Prepares Office Lock-in

Microsoft Prepares Office Lock-in

[via Slashdot]

Posted by michael
on Tuesday September 02, @01:27PM
from the stupid-business-lining-up-to-lock-themselves-in dept.

An anonymous reader writes "NEWS.COM has an article describing Office 2003's DRM features for documents.

This will not only coerce those running older versions of Office to upgrade, which has been a problem for MS in the last few years, but it will also shut out competing software, such as OpenOffice.

Now think about this for a second.

Even if the developers of a competing office suite could figure out how to get their software to open an Office 2003 document, doing so would be a DMCA violation, since they'd be bypassing an anti-circumvention device. I certainly hope the OpenOffice team will kick development into high gear.

If there was a time we need a viable competitor to Office, it's now."

Subject: Two additional TCPA/Palladium plays
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2002 21:10:25 -0700
Message-ID: MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain;charset="us-ascii"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

"Below are two more additional TCPA plays that I am in a position to
mention:

1) Permanently lock out competitors from your file formats.

From Steven Levy's article:
"A more interesting possibility is that Palladium could help introduce DRM to business and just plain people. It's a funny thing," says Bill
Gates
. "We came at this thinking about music, but then we realized that e-mail and documents were far more interesting domains."

Here it is why it is a more interesting possibility to Microsoft for Palladium to help introduce DRM to business and "just plain people" than to solely utilize DRM to prevent copying of digital entertainment content:

It is true that Microsoft, Intel, and other key TCPA members consider DRM an enabler of the PC as the hub of the future home entertainment
network. As Ross pointed out, by adding DRM to the platform, Microsoft and Intel, are able to grow the market for the platform.

However, this alone does little to enhance Microsoft's already sizable existing core business. As Bill Gates stated, Microsoft plans to wrap
their entire set of file formats with DRM. How does this help Microsoft's core business?

Very simple: enabling DRM for MS Word
documents makes it illegal under the DMCA to create competing software that can read or otherwise process the application's file format without the application vendor's permission.

Future maintainers of open source office suites will be faced with a very simple choice: don't enable the software to read Microsoft's file
formats or go to jail.

Anyone who doubts that such a thing could happen is encouraged to familiarize themselves with the case of Dmitry Skylarov, who was arrested after last year's DEF CON conference for creating software that permitted processing of a DRM-wrapped document file format.

Permanently locking out competition is a feature that of course does not just appeal to Microsoft alone. A great many dominant application
vendors are looking forward to locking out their competition. The beauty of this play is that the application vendors themselves never need to
make that call to the FBI themselves and incur the resultant backlash from the public that Adobe experienced in the Skylarov case. The content
providers or some of those utilizing the ubiquitously supported DRM features will eagerly make that call instead.

In one fell swoop, application vendors, such as Microsoft and many others, create a situation in which the full force of the U.S. judicial system can be brought to bear on anyone attempting to compete with a dominant application vendor. This is one of the several ways in which TCPA enables stifling competition.

The above is one of the near to medium objectives the TCPA helps meet.
[The short-term core application objective is of course to ensure payment for any and all copies of your application out there]. Below is a mid to long term objective:

2) Lock documents to application licensing

As the Levy article mentions, Palladium will permit the creation of documents with a given lifetime. This feature by necessity requires a
secure clock, not just at the desktop of the creator of the document, but also on the desktops of all parties that might in the future read such documents.

Since PC's do not ship with secure clocks that the owner of the PC is unable to alter and since the TCPA's specs do not mandate such an expensive hardware solution, any implementation of limited
lifetime documents must by necessity obtain the time elsewhere. The obvious source for secure time is a TPM authenticated time server that
distributes the time over the Internet.

In other words, Palladium and other TCPA-based applications will require at least occasional Internet access to operate.

It is during such mandatory Internet access that licensing-related information will be pushed to the desktop. One such set of information
would be blacklists of widely-distributed pirated copies of application software (you don't need TCPA for this feature if the user downloads and
installs periodic software updates, but the user may choose to live with application bugs that are fixed in the update rather than see her unpaid
software disabled).

With TCPA and DRM on all documents, the application vendor's powers increase vastly: the application vendor can now not just invalidate copies of applications for failure to pay ongoing licensing fees, but can invalidate all documents that were ever created with the help of this application.

Regardless how widely the documents may have been distributed or on who's computer the documents may reside at present.

Furthermore, this feature enables world-wide remote invalidation of a document file for reasons other than failure to pay ongoing licensing fees to the application vendor. To give just one example, documents can be remotely invalidated pursuant to a court order, as might be given if the author of the document were to distribute DeCSS v3 or Scientology scriptures in the future DRM protected format. All that is required to perform such an administrative invalidation of a document is either a sample copy of the document from which one can obtain its globally unique ID, the serial number of the application that created the document, or the public key of the person who licensed the application. (Other ways to exist but are omitted in the interest of brevity).

Lucky Green"

If the topic is still of interest to you I also recommend reading of last year comprehensive review of things to come by Andrew Grygus' Aaxnet. This is an excellent piece that explains and covers much of what is coming your way if you have been sleeping and looking at coloured flowers so far. Give it a good read!

If and when all of the above becomes true, if we do not do something about it, political worries and concerns may start to replace individual consumer rights.

More particularly, governments are likely to want to explore the issues related to potential foreign control/influence over domestic governmental use/access to domestic government held data. In other words, what are the practical and policy implications for a government if a party external to the government may have the potential power to turn off our access to its own information and that of its citizens. And indeed - download patches silently to change the "disable" functionality to "email anything interesting directly to the CIA" functionality.....

For more information please see Trusted Computing' Frequently Asked Questions (TC / TCG / LaGrande / NGSCB / Longhorn / Palladium / TCPA Version 1.1) (August 2003)

If you are completely surprised and taken off guard by all of this negative information about Microsoft please start from square one and find out now What's So Bad About Microsoft before getting more puzzled.

It's time to start changing. Do not think about it too much!

Robin Good

 
 
 
Readers' Comments    
2004-04-28 19:15:23

Wilson Dean

Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.



2003-09-09 17:48:29

Educause

THREE ASIAN COUNTRIES PLAN WINDOWS COMPETITOR
China, South Korea, and Japan are jointly researching an open-source software computer operating system to compete with Microsoft Windows.
Current alternatives, such as Linux, will be explored rather than attempting to build a new system from scratch. The intent is to offer alternatives to Windows that will allow manufacturers more choice and help insulate the countries’ systems against cyberattack. The Japanese government, which spearheaded the project, has already earmarked one billion yen ($85.5 million). Top officials of the ministries of trade of the three countries will meet later in September to further discuss the project.
BBC, 8 September 2003
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/3090918.stm



2003-09-07 23:38:06

Christian Einfeldt

I am going to be doing a documentary on the Palladium problem with award-winning filmmaker Paul Donahue. (not related to Phil). We are tentatively calling the film "Tipping Point". We hope to shoe that it is possible to compete with MS on the desktop, that FLOSS is already winning in some markets (Thailand, Munich, Asia) and why it is so crucial that we stop MS from walling off significant portions of the Net as its own garden. We will be focusing on OpenOffice.org as an example of an extremely successful desktop application. We do have a good list of interviewees, but we need suggestions. In particular, we want to show the international and intercultural nature of FLOSS. We hope to go to India, Thailand, Munich, South Africa and China at least. We need suggestions for Latinos and Africans or African Americans to interview in particular. Of course, we have names in those areas as well, but we certainly welcome additional names of interviewees in those areas in particular. We are running this film on a shoe-string budget, and donations are certainly welcome. My contact info is below. Thanks in advance.

Christian J. Einfeldt, Esq.
Law Offices of Christian J. Einfeldt
580 California Street, Suite 1600
San Francisco, CA 94104
415 351 1300
einfeldt@earthlink.net



2003-09-05 21:12:54

The prof

There some confusion and TCOA and Palladium. Palladium is a Microsoft Lockin, TCPA is a hardware security system. Linux can use TCPA hardware to secure the OS.



2003-09-05 17:44:10

Ron

Resistance is futile! This anti-MS talk so often sounds like rogue for rogue's sake.
The thing about Office is that there is no REAL competition. Either open source "gurus" can't market a better product ( in other words, maybe Open Office is better but the name is not out there like Office), or OpenOffice is misunderstood by those who are aware of it. In other words no marketing, no dominance. That's the society we live in.

Beta was better than VHS
Apples are better than PCs
Open Office may be better than MS Office

But as it was said between Jobs and Gates when Jobs said "we're better" Gates responded "It doesn't matter"
Gates was aware of the market, Jobs didn't want to be.

From the business-wants-what-is-known-not-what-is-better dept.

Ron



 
posted by Robin Good on Friday, September 5 2003, updated on Saturday, January 21 2006


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