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palladium

An article on Palladium from the MIT technology review:

The software, which is slated for future versions of the Windows operating system, looks on paper to be an all-good system for increasing privacy and security. The consequences of its deployment in the real world, however, will likely be decreased user control over the contents of their computers and a serious increase in Microsoftís stranglehold on desktops.

Palladium is a big deal. It will require a major re-jiggering of how computers are built and run, with changes to hardware, software and even the data itself. First, it establishes a secure computing space, which means that as a computer starts up, the software will verify that the hardware components such as hard drives can't be read by unauthenticated programs under any known circumstances. Palladium will also check the computerís central processing unitís serial number before kicking into operation; both Intel and AMD have already said they're willing to include such identification. Before any program is run, Palladium will make sure it's authenticated via a digital certificate. Stored data will be encrypted and will only be decrypted by authenticated programs. Apparently, however, it will not require a new mousepad.

Chris sent me a pointer to this Wired article:
Eager to allay fears about the scope of Palladium, Biddle [Microsoft's Product Manager for Palladium] insisted that the impetus behind Palladium was solely to secure digital entertainment content and that he knew of no way that it could be used for the enforcement of software licensing. This assurance was made while he spoke on a panel at the USENIX Symposium.

Skeptical that this was actually the case, fellow panelist Lucky Green quickly filed two patents soon after the conference. The patents described methods for using the Palladium infrastructure to assist in the enforcement of software licensing. Green has a third patent application on the way.

The twist is that Green has no intention of implementing these techniques himself -- and in an interview with Wired News, declared his intention to "aggressively enforce his patents," if granted, to prevent anyone else from doing so.
This is an interesting "spin" but I think that Microsoft being stopped by a patent of something they themselves are developing is an impossibility. They have some $45 billion to spend in legal fees (since they don't seem to be doing anything else with it at the moment).

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on October 26, 2002 at 11:02 AM

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