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[liberationtech] WC3 and DRM

Richard Brooks rrb at
Fri Jul 26 15:34:03 PDT 2013

Also interestingly explored in Vernor Vinge's "Rainbow's End"

On 07/26/2013 06:18 PM, Steve Weis wrote:
> DRM technologies have a flip side as privacy-preserving technology.
> It's all a matter of whose data is being protected and who owns the
> hardware.
> We generally think of DRM in cases where the data owner is large
> company and an individual owns the hardware. In this case, DRM stops
> you from copying data you paid for from your own device.
> Now flip the roles. You're the data owner and the large company is the
> hardware owner; say a cloud computing provider you lease machines
> from. Those same technologies can prevent that service provider from
> accessing your private data.
> Cory Doctrow has come around to this view, as he discusses in his talk
> "The coming civll war over general purpose computing" [1]. He's now
> advocating the use of Trust Platform Modules (TPMs) as a "nub of
> stable certainty" which you can use to verify that whatever hardware
> you are using is faithfully booting your own software. This is a
> significant departure from viewing TPMs as an anti-consumer
> technology, which was espoused by groups like Chilling Effects [2].
> As Doctrow puts it "a victory for the "freedom side" in the war on
> general purpose computing would result in computers that let their
> owners know what was running on them". Some of the very same
> technologies that enable DRM could help us verify that computers are
> running what they should be.
> [1]
> [2]
> On Fri, Jul 26, 2013 at 2:22 PM, Richard Brooks <rrb at> wrote:
>> Obviously, these issues have been very thoroughly discussed
>> by Corey Doctorow and Larry Lessig. DRM has not proved to be
>> effective at safeguarding intellectual property. It seems
>> to be most effective as a tool in maintaining limited
>> monopolies, since it stops other companies from investing
>> in creating products compatible with existing products.
> --
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R. R. Brooks

Associate Professor
Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Clemson University

313-C Riggs Hall
PO Box 340915
Clemson, SC 29634-0915

Tel.   864-656-0920
Fax.   864-656-5910
email: rrb at

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