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smartboyathome
July 23rd, 2008, 03:03 AM
This is an article by me. I wrote it for my English class, but decided to publish it. Constructive criticism would help it become better. Anyway, here it is:


Corporations have always tried to control the news, recently succeeded in doing it, and are now going after the freedom in the last major news source: the Internet. This started with cell phones. Once cell phones got the ability to go on the internet, the providers restricted the user's access to the internet to packages of sites which they could visit. People who wanted to use the internet would have to pay a fee for each package of sites.

Then, Trusted Computing was created. Trusted Computing (TC) was created as a way to make sure that computers will behave in specific ways, with those behaviors being enforced by the hardware and software. It would do this through a key assigned to your TC chip when it was manufactured, and cannot be changed. Secure I/O would then monitor the data going between the user and the software in order to make sure that it isn't being used maliciously. Memory curtaining would make it so that sensitive areas of memory, perhaps containing a playing DRM-encrypted song or encryption key, could be isolated so that not even the operating system would have full access to it. Sealed storage would make it so that a document or file that was created on a computer could only be read on an identical computer. Software attestation would allow authorized parties to detect changes to a user's computer.[1]

TC could potentially make it so that not even the owner would control the computer, they would just use it. The computer would essentially be locked down from you, and security would be at it's greatest levels ever seen. If anything was trying to run outside of TC guidelines, it would essentially be nullified. The fact that authorized parties could monitor changes to a user's computer could make it so that users can only visit certain websites. The fact that your files could be encrypted so that they could only be read on a computer identical to yours would make it so that if you wanted to send a document to a friend, they would have to have an identical computer to yours.

The campaign made by BPI for the three strikes law is another way that this is going about.[2] The campaign fights for the requirement of ISPs to watch a user's web use in order to determine if they are downloading a piece of copyrighted material with permission. If they failed to do so, such as by pirating the material, then they would get a warning. The next time they do that they would get another warning. The third time they do that, though, they would get their web shut off immediately, with no option to get it back on.

Another plan proposed recently has an amendment included in it which would allow governments to decide which software can be used on the web.[2] This could be a first step towards TC or could walk hand in hand with BPI's three strikes law. If a government chose to only allow a certain web browser to be used, then that web browser could effectively take over the market in that area. They could also deem that a certain type of software cannot be used, for example file sharing software due to their links to piracy. France is even about to enact a law which would penalize persistent file sharers, which with the proposed law, could give France a way to monitor if certain files were legitimate.

In Richard Stallman's story, The Right to Read[3], Stallman starts off with a man named Dan Halburt who is going to a university in 2096. His friend's, Lissa's, computer had broken down, and she could only ask him if she could borrow his to finish her midterm exam. He was faced with a dilemma because if she reads any of his books, he would be arrested and sent to jail. In this time, there had been several laws passed in the United States which made it so that he couldn't share his books, or anything that was able to be read, as that was against the law. The SPA was very proficient at finding people who shared these books, and kids were being taught in school that sharing anything on the computer was bad, since they could lead to crimes.

Dan eventually learned about how people used to be able to freely read books from libraries and even use their computer freely, but that was history by this time. Then, he didn't even have the administrative password for his computer, and the mere possession of a debugger could get you sent to jail if you weren't a licensed and bonded programmer. Neither the operating system's support nor FBI would give this password to you for fear that you would try to do something illegal to you. Any website you visited, any paper you wrote, would be monitored by the FBI, and you would have no privacy. He solved his dilemma with Lissa by giving her his password so that they would not be caught immediately by the SPA, and they were never caught.

You might think the situation in this article would never happen, but it has actually already started to happen. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), passed in 1998, made it possible for e-book sellers and other online companies to legally encrypt and license their files in such a way that it would be a criminal offense to try to share them with any one else. A similar law was passed in Europe in 2001. Even in France, the possession of DeCSS, which enables you to bypass the security locks on systems you would otherwise not be able to play encrypted DVDs on (legal in the U.S. in this situation), would get you thrown in jail.

What about keeping the administrative password to the operating system manufacturer only, and tracking who is on the computer doing what? That is already starting to happen with Microsoft's proposal, called Trusted Computing, as talked about above. Windows Vista took a step towards the above described system by having security features built in which prohibited it from copying DRM-encrypted data, such as a movie, to a USB drive. Microsoft was also given the right to forcibly upgrade your computer if they please with Vista.

The University situation is also already happening. As early as 1980, colleges were making rules that if you were found doing anything criminal, or if they even suspected you of doing anything criminal, they could report you to the authorities and even have the right to take disciplinary action, such as not allowing you to use school computers. This can have huge consequences, especially if you use a school funded computer. You might not be able to complete some classes, as the programs needed could cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and you could be expelled on the grounds of bad grades.

The laws as stated above could easily spread to the reading of news. If you purchase, download, and read an article from a newspaper, then you could not be allowed to let anyone else read it. These articles might have their content restricted and monitored by TC, and the news would be filtered to make sure it does not harm the government or the public. The definition of that statement, though, is open to interpretation, and ultimately the government would decide what would be on the grounds of bringing harm to government or the public.

One piece of software already being developed by Microsoft to be part of Windows is the Next-Generation Secure Computing Base (NGSCB). Much like TC, it uses Curtained Memory to make data stored in memory only able to be accessed by the application to which it belongs, and Secure Storage and Attestation to make sure that data is only passed to trusted applications and stored in Curtained Memory. In addition to these two methods, it would also use a Nexus Computing Agent embedded in applications to give those applications limited access to an Application Programming Interface (API) with which it may run. Unlike TC, this is already underway, with a portion called BitLocker for full hard drive encryption already available in Vista. After it is released, it would be a base for which TC can develop.

The NGSCB could lead to you being monitored more closely and you can't do anything about it. Websites can give you e-Articles and you can only open them if you have their application. The application could have a security module in it to encrypt the article even more so that only you on your computer can read it after it is downloaded. To make sure that you haven't modified the application, the hardware and software can be made to monitor if it is and report to the company that it hasn't.

Why is the freedom of the internet important, you may ask. The freedom is important because without it, a vast majority of the websites, such as Wikipedia, which are publicly owned wouldn't be able to make it, since they would have to pay substantially more in fees to be reached by their contributers. Without these sites, the internet would be mainly commercial, leading to what we are already seeing in catalogs and most 'free' newspapers. Lets use an example, say that because of the internet being restricted, most of the blogs are shut down due to insufficient funds. What would happen to the rest of those blogs which are up? They would have to have major funding to continue, which means being controlled by a corperate entity which only wants what is good for their business. Many Weblogs today "elliminate the middleman ... and allow participants to have their say, typos and all, without being run through the media's Cuisinart." [5]

The freedom of the internet is disappearing at the hands of the Corporations which it benefits. It could be done using Trusted Computing, or by the internet providers. We could see this happen to a point where if you are caught sharing even a story or article, you can go to jail, and it would be easy for vendors to monitor if you have using TC. One base standard for TC already under development is the NGSCB, which will make it so that you are locked in for some features with which you have the freedom to choose what application to use now. If action isn't taken, we may end up in a world like Dan's in Stallman's The Right to Read.



Bibliography
[1] Trusted Computing - Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trusted_Computing
[2] MEPs back contested telecoms plan - BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7495085.stm
[3] The Right to Read - Richard Stallman: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html
[4] Next Generation Secure Computing Base - Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Next-Generation_Secure_Computing_Base
[5] Kurtz, Howard: 'Webloggers' Signing on as War Correspondants

http://smartboysblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/sorry-your-internet-has-been-restricted.html

cprofitt
July 23rd, 2008, 03:18 AM
Interesting paper... the concept was good... the flow 'felt' off for me... I am not sure if I can describe that 'feeling' well enough...

One piece of advice I have is perhaps give some historical perspectives...

Go in to the history of how authors used to not own their work (Edgar Allan Poe) and eventually won that right. Go in to the history of fair use. Put some detail on the First-sale doctrine.

I would also really spend some time on the Fourth Amendment and make a persuasive argument that it should extend to the bits and bytes on your computer.

original_jamingrit
July 23rd, 2008, 03:48 AM
you might be interested in this book:

http://beta.legaltorrents.com/torrents/19-lawrence-lessig---free-culture

It talks a lot about the history of copyright in cultural works and literature, including the inventing of the printing press, and then later the inventing of copyright laws, and the past wins and losses of free versus copyright. It also talk some about piracy, and why it's good and bad for free culture.

smartboyathome
July 23rd, 2008, 04:27 AM
Interesting paper... the concept was good... the flow 'felt' off for me... I am not sure if I can describe that 'feeling' well enough...

One piece of advice I have is perhaps give some historical perspectives...

Go in to the history of how authors used to not own their work (Edgar Allan Poe) and eventually won that right. Go in to the history of fair use. Put some detail on the First-sale doctrine.

I would also really spend some time on the Fourth Amendment and make a persuasive argument that it should extend to the bits and bytes on your computer.

Thanks for the suggestions. This was a 3-4 page paper, and I needed to get the basics down, I will check with my teacher see what he thinks on what I wrote tomarrow (we got a peer review today). I will bring up your ideas and see if he thinks it would need them to pass through the panel (a panel of staff tell you if you graduate the class or not, not grades :p). If not, I will probably impliment these later, after I am done with my next paper(s).


you might be interested in this book:

http://beta.legaltorrents.com/torrents/19-lawrence-lessig---free-culture

It talks a lot about the history of copyright in cultural works and literature, including the inventing of the printing press, and then later the inventing of copyright laws, and the past wins and losses of free versus copyright. It also talk some about piracy, and why it's good and bad for free culture.

I will definately check that out. Sounds very interesting! Thanks. :D

wilsonmuse
July 23rd, 2008, 06:20 AM
Very intiresting piece!!

To add to the links given above you might want to check out This Paper Here (http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.html). It's a long read, but it contains lots of information about new ways companies and Microsoft are trying to protect "Premium Content". It especially hits on Microsoft's new hardware requirements that force hardware manufacturers to incorporate Treacherous Computing into the hardware itself!!