[linux-elitists] News conference, demonstrations, and talks in mid-July 2003

Jay Sulzberger jays@panix.com
Fri Jul 4 11:48:58 PDT 2003

On Fri, 4 Jul 2003, Peter Clay wrote:

> On Thu, 3 Jul 2003, Jay Sulzberger wrote:
> > 1. Once Palladiated hardware is fully deployed, then it is easy to give an
> > Order From WorldHomeSec, that all cpu fabrication plants make a one bit
> > change in all lines: flip the "can load own OS" bit to "no".  I will say
> > more about this in my note on Amygdala's Error.
> Which organisation is capable of issuing this kind of order to ALL fabs,
> including those in Europe and Taiwan, and forcing them to obey it? Why
> should Intel, AMD, and Via bow meekly to someone else's secret
> scheme? "WorldHomeSec" is not currently in a position to do such things.

Well, the more difficult task of getting the member companies and cartels
to agree to the design of Palladium and to coordinate its deployment has
already been done.  The hard part of getting in place the mechanisms by
which the outlawing of free software could be enforced, is 90% done; the
DMCA is law and Palladium is in process of roll-out.  So far "the market"
has not stopped this assembly of all the forces needed to encompass the end
of free software.

How many fabrication plants capable of producing x86-style chips are there
in the whole world today?  How hard would it be to make our own plant and
distribute its products after the order from WorldHomeSec?

One of he main defenses of freedom is that some abridgements are
practically hard to carry out.  Before Palladium, it was hard to turn on
remote control and spy machinery inside one billion home computers.  But if
Palladium is deployed, then it will be very easy: just send out the
"WorldSec Upgrade" without which the OS will not function.  Note that a
single Palladiated machine will be identifiable over the Net, and that
individual machines may be attacked by special updates.  This is not as
cost effective per bugging/spoofing as the order from WorldHomeSec, but it
is much cheaper than attacks today, which must subvert the box via
software, or by hardware which must be smuggled into the target's house.

The class of arguments that go

"Oh, we do not have to worry that the spy and remote control
hardware/software that is in everybody's system will never be used by The
Powers That Be, because of or several of the following will protect us:

1. market forces

2. general outrage

3. impracticality"

would, if they were right, also show that the Bill of Rights is not needed.
After all, the market ..., outrage ..., impractical ..., etc. show that we
have nothing to fear by, oh say, giving the police absolute power to invade
our houses without warrant.  After all, really they couldn't do anything
bad, why people would rise up, etc..  We all know that the Constitution was
not ratified until the Bill of Rights got in.  This class of arguments is
what I yesterday called Amygdala's Error:

Dave Farber said the real question of Palladium is "Do we trust

Of course, that is not the question.  If it were, we would not need the
Bill of Rights, indeed we would not need any constitution, and why, the
whole tradition of the English common law's respect for individual rights
by forms which restrain arbitrary powers of the government (a tradition
near allied to "rechtsstaat" ideas), all these are unnecessary to the
defense of our freedoms, let us give to the government, to Microsoft,
complete power over our computers, and then conduct an inquiry into whether
they can be trusted.  No, one central insight of the tradition of freedom
is that no person and no group of persons can be trusted with certain kinds
of large scale power over others.  Palladium would give such a
constitutionally prohibited and traditionally abhorred power to Microsoft
and to the government.  To accept Palladium into all our houses, and to
believe that somehow, every time, at the very last second, the one bit
won't be thrown to "Do spy do spoof" seems too Pollyannaish for Pollyanna
herself.  I think Pollyanna would blush to propose the conjectures here
offered as great bulwarks of stone, since most have already been
demonstrated, by ancient history and recent history, to be wrong.

> What we have to fear is not some bizarre anti-Linux world techno-coup -
> we're simply not that much of a threat - what we have to fear is
> privilege-creating law and the network effects of people accepting DRM.

Bizarre?  No, in process now.

And yes, of course, these horizontal effects will, if we do not stop
Palladium and roll back the DMCA, weaken us.  The keeping down of our
market share and the throwing of the one bit are part of a single
world-wide movement against us.

> Anyway, it's always good to hear of SOMEONE doing SOMETHING against
> DRM. If you've got any tips on recruiting good activists, I'd be grateful
> to hear them.
> Good luck,
> Pete

Will do.

Thanks, Pete!


More information about the linux-elitists mailing list