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<nettime> _el reg_: dean and networks
nettime's_roving_reporter on Wed, 28 Jan 2004 17:18:53 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> _el reg_: dean and networks


     [ via <tbyfield {AT} panix.com>.]

< http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/35126.html >

     27 January 2004
     Updated: 20:03 GMT
   
   Who told Dean to scream for lock-down, TCPA computing?
   By [45]Andrew Orlowski in San Francisco
   Posted: 27/01/2004 at 02:53 GMT

   [46]Stay up to date wherever you are, with The Register Mobile
   Last week we noted how "empowering the edges of the network" had
   become a mindless mantra for [47]techno-utopian pundits eager to
   profit from Howard Dean's presidential campaign. As we wrote then,
   this kind of New Age cobblers did a huge disservice to both Dean and
   his supporters. But it looks even less clever now than it did a week
   ago, when Dean's campaign stalled badly in the Iowa caucuses.

   As it turns out, Dean was doing more to advocate locking down the
   "edge of the network" than any other Democrat candidate. And the
   finger of suspicion for feeding the Presidential Candidate this line
   of argument points firmly to his campaign manager, Joe Trippi.

   Trippi was a stockholder, employee and booster for Wave Systems, the
   company contracted by Intel to implement TCPA (Trusted Computing
   Platform Alliance) specifications. Microsoft's implementation of this
   architecture was unveiled as 'Palladium' two years ago; now it's
   called NGSCB, and is slated to ship in the next major version of
   Windows, Longhorn.

   Viewed by copyright holders as the ultimate silver bullet, TCPA turns
   the open PC into a lock-down system where software can't be executed
   and media can't be played without the right-holders' permission. As
   Ross Anderson explains [48]here.

   "The music industry will be able to sell you music downloads that you
   won't be able to swap. They will be able to sell you CDs that you'll
   only be able to play three times, or only on your birthday. All sorts
   of new marketing possibilities will open up."

   So TCPA represented a dramatic shift from end users (at the "edge of
   the network") to centralized copyright holders, spawning sites such as
   [49]Against TCPA and [50]No TCPA.

   "TCPA will set standards for the OEMs in June," [51]vowed Trippi three
   years ago, as proof of his affection for Wave Systems stock. [Thanks
   to Gary Wolf for [52]unearthing that gem.] Trippi continues to list
   Wave Systems as a client of his marketing consultancy, [53]Catapult
   Systems.

   Dean himself enters the picture with a speech that he gave to a
   conference co-sponsored by Wave Systems in March 2002 entitled
   "Workshop on States Security: Identity, Authentication, Access
   Control" reported by Declan McCullagh at [54]CNET today, on the eve of
   the New Hampshire primary.

   In the speech, which you can read on uh, [55]Wave Systems website,
   Dean describes privacy as an "urban myth" and explains "little has
   been spent to secure the most vulnerable part of the network - the PC,
   the laptop, the government and corporate desktop computers all at the
   perimeter of the computer network system." Yes, it's the national
   security angle that TCPA-vendors have been peddling, with the active
   encouragement of the [56]law enforcement lobby.

   Open PCs are dangerous, Dean argued.

   "This is a mistake because the computing power at that perimeter can
   be used - Napster style - to take the entire network down," said Dean,
   according to the transcript. Dean suggested the cure should be
   interoperability between states' ID cards. "We must move to smarter
   license cards that carry secure digital information that can be
   universally read at vital checkpoints."

   Reinventing the Internet?

   McCullagh's entry into the 2004 Presidential campaign has been eagerly
   anticipated. In the 2000 Presidential race his coverage [57]of a claim
   by Al Gore to have 'invented the Internet' reached national notoriety.
   "If it's true that Al Gore created the Internet, then I created the
   'Al Gore created the Internet' story," McCullagh [58]boasted.

   Although technical luminaries such as Vint Cerf came to Gore's defense
   ("It is very fair to say that the Internet would not be where it is in
   the United States without the strong support given it and related
   research areas by the vice president in his current role and in his
   earlier role as senator," said Cerf) the coverage made Gore the butt
   of jokes nationwide.

   "We don't need 'Dean is Big Brother'," a consultant to the Dean
   campaign told The Register today. "'Al Gore invented the Internet'
   still won't go away."

   McCullagh doesn't pass up the opportunity to moralize. "It's possible
   that Dean has a good explanation for his uniform ID card views, and
   can account for how his principles apparently changed so radically
   over the course of just two years.," writes McCullagh. "Perhaps he
   can't. But a refusal to answer difficult questions is not an
   attractive quality in a man who would be president."

   And moralizing isn't always an attractive quality in a man who would
   be pundit either, Declan. So it's worth parsing what Dean really said,
   and on what basis McCullagh formed his stentorian, five cigar
   conclusion, before we can judge either party.

   Omitted from McCullagh's CNET commentary account is Dean's plea to
   preserve privacy.

   "We will not, and should not, tolerate a call to erode privacy even
   further - far from it," said Dean. "Americans can only be assured that
   their personal identity and information are safe and protected when
   they are able to gain more control over this information and its use."
   Dean pointed out that privacy was already compromised as vast amounts
   of personal information are already shared between financial
   corporations and logged by Internet companies. (And lest we forget,
   harvested by social networks like Friendster). He wasn't advocating a
   national ID card, and said that public trust depended on Chinese walls
   built into the card.

   Privacy advocates are mistrustful of such Chinese walls: believing
   that the benefits of data sharing are too tempting for corporate and
   federal interests to resist. There's also plenty of skepticism that
   local, or function-specific introductions of smartcards morph into
   all-purpose 'Big Brother' cards. But Dean is clearly well aware of the
   privacy concerns, and his advocacy leaves Dean guilty of little more
   than naivety.

   And on that count, Dean can justifiably question the advice of his
   campaign manager, who was more interested in serving his stock
   portfolio (and marketing clients) than the Candidate.

   What a long strange Trippi it's been

   So there we have it: Dean wasn't advocating a national ID card, nor
   was he blithely inviting smart card vendors to breach citizens'
   privacy even further. However, it was remarkably ill-advised of him to
   advocate locking down the PC "at the edge of the network" without
   examining the implications for the consumer, or even the software
   industry.

   Only that wouldn't be a story now if it hadn't been for the
   techno-utopian pundits getting carried away with an almost religious
   belief in power "at the edge of the network". What does this Forrest
   Gump-style fortune cookie mean, exactly?

   As far as we can tell, it describes one characteristic of one model of
   collective behavior. 'Collective' is a word you don't hear too much
   nowadays, but Microsoft Corporation is one form of collective
   organization, as are the Teamsters, the Catholic Church, and the Santa
   Fe Institute. When people unite around collective action, the results
   can be very far reaching.

   But the word has been deprecated in favor of much more fashionable
   rhetoric usually touted by supporters of "emergent" capers such as
   [59]Poindexter's Terror Casino.

   Dean supporters will hardly be thanking these commentators and experts
   for this foolish flirtation with New Age rhetoric, which has handed
   Dean's opponents with an unexpected PR opportunity. It certainly
   wasn't sought. But the 'blogosphere' may soon want to 'self-correct'
   this unwanted mini-industry of pundits and 'consultants'. 

References

  45. mailto:andrew.orlowski {AT} theregister.co.uk
  46. http://forms.theregister.co.uk/trm/
  47. http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/35064.html
  48. http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/tcpa-faq.html
  49. http://www.againsttcpa.com/
  50. http://www.notcpa.org/
  51. http://ragingbull.lycos.com/cgi-bin/static.cgi/a=01-27-00.txt&d=articles/freedman
  52. http://www.aether.com/archives/000020.html
  53. http://www.getcatapult.com/clients.html
  54. http://news.com.com/2010-1028-5146863.html?tag=nefd_acpro
  55. http://www.wave.com/news/press_archive/02/020327carnegiemellon.html
  56. http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/27159.html
  57. http://www.sethf.com/gore/
  58. http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,39301,00.html
  59. http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/archive/32024.html
  
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