Waiting for Lessig to speak about Microsoft’s Palladium

I can’t wait to see what Lessig has to say about Microsoft’s Palladium – see this MSNBC article titled “The Big Secret”. Steven Levy writes, “to literally change the architecture of PCs in order to address the concerns of security, privacy and intellectual property.” (Is this the same Steven Levy that wrote Hackers?)

Lessig’s talk about the architecture of the Internet being its constitution comes to mind (for earlier posts, see hereherehere – and here). Microsoft will, I fear, succeed to sell this platform by marketing it to consumers as technology to secure your privacy, and to companies as technology to secure “intellectual property”.

In society, laws and the constitution control these things. You don’t want Microsoft or other BigCo’s to do that for you. In the light of Microsoft’s Palladium, the architecture of the PC seems all the more as part of the architecture of the Internet. I haven’t thought about it this way before. The software/firmware in routers is obviously part of the architecture, but so are the architectures of all “things” involved in accessing the Internet: your computer, your PDA, your cellphone, your browser, your email client, etc.

A while back, there the MPAA filed a report with the senate, wanting to regulate analog-to-digital converters so that they effectively will shut down if sent “watermarked” content. This would result in cellphones shutting down if being used close to a radio playing music, for example. (Malte blogged about this.) This would be very bad, but it’s at least “filtered” through the American government. I don’t expect Microsoft to ask senators of their opinion about doing equivalent things to PC’s. The article continues:

“We have to ship 100 million of these before it really makes a difference,” says Microsoft vice president Will Poole. That’s why the company can’t do it without heavyweight partners. Chipmakers Intel and Advanced Micro Devices have signed on to produce special security chips that are integral to the system. ... The next step is getting the likes of Dell, HP and IBM to remake their PCs to accommodate the system.

I haven’t read all of it yet, but I felt I had to blog about it anyway. As I said, I can’t wait for Lawrence Lessig to speak about this. I expect that he will.

The above was posted to my personal weblog on June 24, 2002. My name is Peter Lindberg and I am a thirtysomething software developer and dad living in Stockholm, Sweden. Here, you’ll find posts in English and Swedish about whatever happens to interest me for the moment.

Posted around the same time:

The seven most recent posts:

  1. Tesugen Replaced (October 7)
  2. My Year of MacBook Troubles (May 16)
  3. Tesugen Turns Five (March 21)
  4. Gustaf Nordenskiöld om keramik kontra kläddesign (December 10, 2006)
  5. Se till att ha två buffertar för oförutsedda utgifter (October 30, 2006)
  6. Bra tips för den som vill börja fondspara (October 7, 2006)
  7. Light-Hearted Parenting Tips (September 16, 2006)