Have you heard of Palladium? Maybe you have, maybe you haven't. The idea of Palladium has sprouted from Microsoft wanting to keep Holywood happy so that visual and audio media could remain on computers (software to rip cd's, dvd's, etc, is allowed under the consent of Holywood).This is to straighten everything out. First off, the physical aspects: The cpu will be manufactured and controlled by intel (called the Fritz chip). The software will be manufactured and controlled by Microsoft who broke from the organization made to add more security to computers so that they could "do things their own way." The chip makes sure and software or hardware you want to install on your machine is approved (by, of course, Microsoft). The software unlocks the media if it is approved. "The Trusted Computing Group (TCG) is an alliance of Microsoft, Intel, IBM, HP and AMD which promotes a standard for a `more secure' PC. Their definition of `security' is controversial; machines built according to their specification will be more trustworthy from the point of view of software vendors and the content industry, but will be less trustworthy from the point of view of their owners. In effect, the TCG specification will transfer the ultimate control of your PC from you to whoever wrote the software it happens to be running. (Yes, even more so than at present.)" -Trusted Computing Now the fun part, what it means: What it means is Intel and Microsoft can not approve any competing media. It also means that you can guarentee other operating systems (Mac OS, Linux, Unix, et cetera) will not get the software part of this technology. Because this "protection" goes down to the hardware, every single thing, every single data recieved by your computer, every single byte can be controlled. It is set up so that you may turn it off but that does not matter. Once palladium becomes the norm, and software vendors will, most likely, put full support behind this as it protects their software ten fold over just a serial number, you will not be able to do anything without having palladium on and the newest version of Windows installed. I say newest because they can upgrade the hardware causing a needed upgrade in the operating system. "The benefit for Microsoft is that TC will dramatically increase the costs of switching away from Microsoft products (such as Office) to rival products (such as OpenOffice). For example, a law firm that wants to change from Office to OpenOffice right now merely has to install the software, train the staff and convert their existing files. In five years' time, once they have received TC-protected documents from perhaps a thousand different clients, they would have to get permission (in the form of signed digital certificates) from each of these clients in order to migrate their files to a new platform. The law firm won't in practice want to do this, so they will be much more tightly locked in, which will enable Microsoft to hike its prices." -Trusted Computing Let us say maybe Microsoft looses a court case to Linux and has to let other operating systems implement palladium. It could be that Microsoft gives each an application that runs on each operating system. Not only does this taint the open-source operating systems with this closed source application that needs to be run, but the great feat of being able to change any software that is for Linux will cease to exist. Those programs protected by Palladium will not work when changed. Even though there is always another application to take the place of one that is Palladium-compliant (well, no, things like business software is few and far between but let's pretend), only the bigger companies that have more coders to make the better software will be the ones making their programs under Palladium's harness. They will be alienated and some will switch back to Windows, some will forget Palladium (that is, if Microsoft doesn't make companies with software working under Palladium sign a contract first, or the company isn't partnered with Microsoft), or some will just continue using Palladium (this would be the most prominent case where the software is too good or a one-of-its-kind and can't be let go by users). Now for all you Mac users, are you succeptable to all of this? Right now it is not certain, but it looks like "yes." Right now it is said that the CDTBPA (formerly SSSCA), is bringing about an act to Congress that would make government-approved DRM (DRM is the type of protection Palladium gives) manditory in anything electrical (a vague definition but that's the jist of it). To quote goldenpi, "The act actually makes government approved DRM manditory, but doesn't specify what that would be. Instead it creates a (non-technical) group to decide what it should be. Since the US government and particually the current administration is well known as a microsoftie and susceptable to lobbying, its not impossible they will require a palladium chip in every computer." But 2004 and the election nears. In English:"TC provides a computing platform on which you can't tamper with the application software, and where these applications can communicate securely with their authors and with each other. The original motivation was digital rights management (DRM): Disney will be able to sell you DVDs that will decrypt and run on a TC platform, but which you won't be able to copy. 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. TC will also make it much harder for you to run unlicensed software. In the first version of TC, pirate software could be detected and deleted remotely. Since then, Microsoft has sometimes denied that it intended TC to do this, but at WEIS 2003 a senior Microsoft manager refused to deny that fighting piracy was a goal: `Helping people to run stolen software just isn't our aim in life', he said. The mechanisms now proposed are more subtle, though. TC will protect application software registration mechanisms, so that unlicensed software will be locked out of the new ecology. Furthermore, TC apps will work better with other TC apps, so people will get less value from old non-TC apps (including pirate apps). Also, some TC apps may reject data from old apps whose serial numbers have been blacklisted. If Microsoft believes that your copy of Office is a pirate copy, and your local government moves to TC, then the documents you file with them may be unreadable. TC will also make it easier for people to rent software rather than buy it; and if you stop paying the rent, then not only does the software stop working but so may the files it created. So if you stop paying for upgrades to Media Player, you may lose access to all the songs you bought using it. There are some gotchas too. For example, TC can support remote censorship. In its simplest form, applications may be designed to delete pirated music under remote control. For example, if a protected song is extracted from a hacked TC platform and made available on the web as an MP3 file, then TC-compliant media player software may detect it using a watermark, report it, and be instructed remotely to delete it (as well as all other material that came through that platform). This business model, called traitor tracing, has been researched extensively by Microsoft (and others). In general, digital objects created using TC systems remain under the control of their creators, rather than under the control of the person who owns the machine on which they happen to be stored (as at present). So someone who writes a paper that a court decides is defamatory can be compelled to censor it - and the software company that wrote the word processor could be ordered to do the deletion if she refuses. Given such possibilities, we can expect TC to be used to suppress everything from pornography to writings that criticise political leaders." -Trusted Computing The future for those of you who would rather buy a house than pay rent looks dim as you will basically just be renting your computer.