[LINK] Lockdown: The coming war on general-purpose computing
rick at praxis.com.au
Tue Jan 31 08:51:13 EST 2012
The topic has arisen before. The lockdown of the general purpose computer
(GPC), at the behest of the MPAA or paranoid gummints or others with vested
interests in coraling our rampant love affair with computing devices.
A little research and some thought will tell you that all CPUs we build are "Turing
complete". As such, they can do anything that any computer can do. Any attempt to
restrict what a GPC can do, what it can run, where and how it runs, who runs it, all
these artifical limitations imposed on the GPC are bound to fail. And fail in sometimes
spectacular ways that have serious consequences.
I found a podcast of Cory Doctorow talk on this subject here:
which sparked my curiosity to investigate further. (Perhaps that is why the CBC
calls the radio programme Spark.)
If you want to read instead, here is his posting to the tech blog Boing Boing:
"General-purpose computers are astounding. They're so astounding that our society
still struggles to come to grips with them, what they're for, how to accommodate
them, and how to cope with them. This brings us back to something you might be
sick of reading about: copyright.
But bear with me, because this is about something more important. The shape of the
copyright wars clues us into an upcoming fight over the destiny of the general-purpose
In the beginning, we had packaged software and we had sneakernet. We had floppy disks
in ziplock bags, in cardboard boxes, hung on pegs in shops, and sold like candy bars
and magazines. They were eminently susceptible to duplication, were duplicated quickly,
and widely, and this was to the great chagrin of people who made and sold software.
Enter Digital Rights Management in its most primitive forms: let's call it DRM 0.96.
They introduced physical indicia which the software checked for—deliberate damage, dongles
hidden sectors—and challenge-response protocols that required possession of large, unwieldy
manuals that were difficult to copy. ..."
Doctorow is a Sci Fi writer by trade (as of late) and is fully in touch with the copyright
industry. It affects him personally. But being a tech-savvy activist, member of the EFF
and founder of online rights movements in the USA and the UK, he has a lot of cogent messages
for would-be legislators, the copyright industry and the merchants of greed and takedowns, and
most importantly, for we the surfs of the new aristocracy, as found on YouTube, e.g.
"Pwned: How Copyright turns us all into IP serf" - runs for 47 minutes.
Doctorow makes a simple and convincing case that the abusers of the Copyright and IP
Industries are turning us into IP serfs.
Much food for thought. I'm still sorting through piles of it!
Rick Welykochy || Praxis Services
Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.
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