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Windows Palladium, the end of privacy as we know it.

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  • Windows Palladium, the end of privacy as we know it.

    This taken from various sources encluding UHA and deviantart, the register and slashdot., Disturbing news..

    Earlier this week, Microsoft outlined their plans for their next generation of operting systems, codenamed Longhorn/Palladium. Among the features touted was the "secure networking" functions that OS would offer.

    Microsoft plans to implement Palladium DRM (digital rights management) in a hardware chip, initially implanted on the mobo, but later on embedded in the CPU, and employing hardwired encryption throughout. The purpose of this is to flag every file on the computer with a digital signature telling a remote server what it is. If it's an unauthorised file, the remote server will tell your computer not to let you execute it.

    This is basically an attempt to stop the trading of mp3's and/or warez.

    Before an application can run, it too must have a digital signature remotely verified by another server. If the program binary doesn't match with any of the authenticated binaries, your computer won't run it. This, again, is meant to stop your computer running "unauthorised" software - which might be warez, or it might just be a nifty freewrae program that the authors acn't afford to have certified. Microsoft will be able to control exactly what your computer can and can't run.

    As most of you know, Microsoft employ a strategy of making their software deliberately obsolete - they make it forwrd compatible, but not backward compatible. With the laws of the DMCA, it will soon be illegal to try to make a software product that is compatible with another programs file types (for example, take the many office applications there are for Linux which have had some success in translating their arcane file formats).
    This has the effect of killing any competition in the water - since you're not allowed to make your new product compatible with any of the others, no-one will use it. And eventually people will give up using any of the others instead, since no-one else can read their documents. So the entire world will be left with one choice only for software - Microsoft.

    Fourthly (I don't know if that's a word, but it should be):
    Palladium will effectively ban free software, not just free stuff for Windows platforms, but free stuff for Linux, Mac, in fact every OS that runs on a Palladium enabled motherboard/processor. Why?
    In order to get the program to run on a palladium platform, you will need to pay to have your binary certified as "safe" by Microsoft's software authentification branch. And who in their right mind is going to pay for a piece of software they spent hours working on? It just wouldn't be worth it.

    It gets worse when it comes to open source projects, such as Linux and BSD. Those of you who know about these things will know that open source projects are created by freelance coders all over the world who create programs in their spare time and then give them to the rest of the world for free. Many of them also release the source code for free too, so that if you wish you can alter the program (such as to fix bugs, add features etc).
    Now, it would be bad enough if the owner has to pay a certification fee. But EVERY CHANGE that is made to the source code will require a new, seperate certificate to be created. Those of you who use Linux will know that so many things get updated so quickly, that this just isn't practical, and would cost the open source developement people millions of dollars. This is money they just don't have, and Microsoft knows it.

    The "secure network". This is the real clincher for Palladium. At first, they're going to make it so that it is possible to turn Palladium off at the hardware level. But it is created in such a way so that, if you try to connect to a Palladium web server, you won't be allowed to. Palladium machines will only be able to talk to other Palladium machines, and non-Palladium machines won't be able to talk to any Palladium machines.
    Hence, if Palladium reaches critical mass, there will be thousands of people the world over who won't be able to access the internet or even work on a network with Palladium machines, so by extension they will be forced to "upgrade" to Palladium machines.

    At first I thought: what the hell, this is only going to apply to x86 architecture (namely Athlon and Pentium chips, since it's only AMD and Intel who are involved at the moment). So, I could try another hardware architecture: such as the Mac/PPC, or the Sun Sparc, or an ARM, or any other kind of processor.
    But then I realside that even if I did, I wouldn't be able to access the "Palladium network" which could encompass the entire internet if this concept goes far enough. So all you Mac users would be effectively locked out; you too would have adopt a Palladium machine if you wanted your computer to actually do anything.

    Palladium will enable all your documents to be controlled remotely. No, this is not a joke. If Microsoft find you are using an outdated version of Office, all they need to do is send a message to your computer and it will no longer let you read any of your documents that were created with that application.
    Even more sinister is that if Microsoft take offence at any of the documents on your machine (this could be porn, it could be a simple document containing DeCSS information or anti-Palladium information) then they can delete or alter it not just from your PC but from every other Palladium PC on the network.
    This has a remarkable similarity to the "Ministry of Truth" in George Orwell's "1984" where the government continually faked information, both new and old, the entire country over to make themsleves appear "correct" all the time.

    If Palladium ever becomes widespread enough, the internet as we know it today will be dead. Instead of being controlled by us, it will be controlled by Microsoft, and you will have no choice to do exectly what they say.

    Hence why I want to tell as many people about this atrocious idea before it become spopular, and M$ administer their miraculous spin to it to make it sound like the best thing since sliced bread.

    Darn, I forgot to post the links explaining about it. I'll also put up a few emails from some mailing lists me and my friends are members of.

    Initial outline of Palladium [link]

    Analysis on how Palladium is solely designed to protect IT businesses such as Microsoft [link]

    The Palladium FAQ [link]

    How Palladium has the potential to eradicate Linux [link]


    The following is an excerpt from an email by "Lucky Green" one of the worlds most renowned cryptography hackers:

    [Minor plug: I am scheduled to give a talk on TCPA at this year's DEF CON security conference. I promise it will be an interesting talk. [link] ]

    Below are two more additional TCPA plays that I am in a position to mention:

    1) Permanently lock out competitors from your file formats.

    - From Steven Levy's article:
    "A more interesting possibility is that Palladium could help introduce DRM to business and just plain people. It's a funny thing," says Bill Gates. "We came at this thinking about music, but then we realized that e-mail and documents were far more interesting domains."

    Here it is why it is a more interesting possibility to Microsoft for Palladium to help introduce DRM to business and "just plain people" than to solely utilize DRM to prevent copying of digital entertainment content:

    It is true that Microsoft, Intel, and other key TCPA members consider DRM an enabler of the PC as the hub of the future home entertainment network. As Ross pointed out, by adding DRM to the platform, Microsoft
    and Intel, are able to grow the market for the platform.

    However, this alone does little to enhance Microsoft's already sizable existing core business. As Bill Gates stated, Microsoft plans to wrap their entire set of file formats with DRM. How does this help Microsoft's core business? Very simple: enabling DRM for MS Word
    documents makes it illegal under the DMCA to create competing software that can read or otherwise process the application's file format without the application vendor's permission.

    Future maintainers of open source office suites will be faced with a very simple choice: don't enable the software to read Microsoft's file formats or go to jail. Anyone who doubts that such a thing could happen
    is encouraged to familiarize themselves with the case of Dmitry Skylarov, who was arrested after last year's DEF CON conference for creating software that permitted processing of a DRM- wrapped document
    file format.

    Permanently locking out competition is a feature that of course does not just appeal to Microsoft alone. A great many dominant application vendors are looking forward to locking out their competition. The beauty of this play is that the application vendors themselves never need to make that call to the FBI themselves and incur the resultant backlash from the public that Adobe experienced in the Skylarov case. The content
    providers or some of those utilizing the ubiquitously supported DRM features will eagerly make that call instead.

    In one fell swoop, application vendors, such as Microsoft and many others, create a situation in which the full force of the U.S. judicial system can be brought to bear on anyone attempting to compete with a
    dominant application vendor. This is one of the several ways in which TCPA enables stifling competition.

    The above is one of the near to medium objectives the TCPA helps meet. [The short-term core application objective is of course to ensure payment for any and all copies of your application out there]. Below is a mid to long term objective:

    2) Lock documents to application licensing

    As the Levy article mentions, Palladium will permit the creation of documents with a given lifetime. This feature by necessity requires a secure clock, not just at the desktop of the creator of the document, but also on the desktops of all parties that might in the future read
    such documents. Since PC's do not ship with secure clocks that the owner of the PC is unable to alter and since the TCPA's specs do not mandate such an expensive hardware solution, any implementation of limited lifetime documents must by necessity obtain the time elsewhere. The obvious source for secure time is a TPM authenticated time server that distributes the time over the Internet.

    In other words, Palladium and other TCPA-based applications will require at least occasional Internet access to operate. It is during such mandatory Internet access that licensing-related information will be pushed to the desktop. One such set of information would be blacklists of widely-distributed pirated copies of application software (you don't need TCPA for this feature if the user downloads and installs periodic software updates, but the user may choose to live with
    application bugs that are fixed in the update rather than see her unpaid software disabled).

    With TCPA and DRM on all documents, the application vendor's powers increase vastly: the application vendor can now not just invalidate copies of applications for failure to pay ongoing licensing fees, but can invalidate all documents that were ever created with the help of
    this application. Regardless how widely the documents may have been distributed or on who's computer the documents may reside at present.

    Furthermore, this feature enables world-wide remote invalidation of a document file for reasons other than failure to pay ongoing licensing fees to the application vendor. To give just one example, documents can
    be remotely invalidated pursuant to a court order, as might be given if the author of the document were to distribute DeCSS v3 or Scientology scriptures in the future DRM protected format. All that is required to
    perform such an administrative invalidation of a document is either a sample copy of the document from which one can obtain its globally unique ID, the serial number of the application that created the document, or the public key of the person who licensed the application. (Other ways to exist but are omitted in the interest of brevity).

  • #2
    Scary, truly scary.

    I have heard a bit about palladium, but that pretty much outlines exactly why it shouldnt ever see the light of day.


    • #3
      it'll get hax0rd.
      missyob made me post this.


      • #4
        "Just say NO" to Palladium


        • #5
          lmao @ just say no , -hugs aquila-


          • #6
            yet another reason why i am currently amasing all the good porn and programs i can get my hands on, along with all the misc. computer parts that i can lay my hands on, at which point as paillidum takes over the world, i will seclude myself and anyone who wants to to a little compound of free thought, free excange of ideas and LAN gaming...


            • #7
              count me in kelsey


              • #8

                well, 3 i guess, lan might want to stay around you...


                • #9
                  hmmm, methinks that if that ever came to be, i'm going to go luddite

                  no computers, only hardcopies of anything i might need

                  guess i should beg my parents not to throw out their typewriter


                  • #10

                    Penny Arcade goodness, relevent as always (well, its not directly addressing Palladium, but still)


                    • #11
                      penny arcade kicks ass, but REMEMBER THE HYPHEN!!!


                      • #12
                        Software is like sex, it's better when it's free. -Bjarne Strousup

                        In no way will I ever be a part of Microsoft dictatorship in my career. Not even if my employer would force me.. I'd be on the lookout for a new job, as they say..


                        • #13
                          Videogaming-related online strip by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins. Includes news and commentary.

                 (just for laughs)

                          Videogaming-related online strip by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins. Includes news and commentary.

                          Videogaming-related online strip by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins. Includes news and commentary.

                          Videogaming-related online strip by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins. Includes news and commentary.



                          • #14
                            I wonder how much of this is fact, interpretation, opinion, and speculation.


                            • #15
                              at least they're not sueing the guys that are reverse engineering
                              the x-box, right? right? ah fuck it. /me goes to drink more