back to article RIAA chief calls for copyright filters on PCs

When is a virus not a virus? When it's sending your personal data to the Recording Industry Association of America, silly. Internet advocacy website Public Knowledge has posted a highlight reel from the State of the Net Conference, where RIAA boss Cary Sherman suggests that internet filtering sorely lacks the personal touch of …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Hardware or software?

    This is the sort of thing Microsoft would be happy to add to the next release of their OS. Of course, those of us running Linux can sit back and laugh as Windows users get bogged down even more.

    Scarier would be Intel and AMD hard coding it inside their processors. I find that rather unlikely without the law forcing them to.

  2. Simon Buttress


    I was going to write a big speel about how wrong it is, invasion of privacy, behaving worse than Nazis etc but I can sum it up nicely....the guy's a freakin' douchebag.

  3. Jach

    Please, do it.

    Please implement this utter crap on every Windows machine out there. If the masses don't convert to Linux then, at least they'll use oggs.

    The users would have to move to Linux eventually, though. Any compromise with Mac wouldn't last long, as they could be slapped with the virus as well. But with Linux, there are a million flavors with no concentrated company or distributor. Even if they made it mandatory for the Linux kernel somehow, you can always recompile it or go back to an old version and apply patches carefully.

  4. Colin Wilson

    as long as the RIAA execs...

    1) allow keyloggers to be installed on all their machines that may (or may not) contain sensitive data, and collate data about all websites they visit

    2) publish this data automatically to a public website

    3) install a password-free VNC server for everyone to see what they're doing...

    4) automatically assume they're guilty themselves for anything that may be legally dubious, copied, plaguarised, have a couple of bytes that coincidentally happen to be the same as someone elses couple of bytes who may have had them first, and most importantly, pay their standard "fee" to anyone who asks for it on this basis...

    ...THEN I might consider letting them install the same shyte on mine !

  5. Symrstar


    They can have my files when they pry 'em from my cold dead hard drive.

  6. kain preacher


    Some gone bat shit insane. No really If he thinks that this is a good idea his eyes are brown from all of the shit, or he is nuts .

  7. sweetnsourbkr

    Linux is not supported

    I'm sooo looking forward to shoving this filter up my arse. Do you think WINE will run this filter?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Great, so I assume this spyware, I mean fix, will be included as a critical update to Windows?

    Paris icon cause Paris should be ruling the world!

  9. Robert E. Moran


    The RIAA is beyond words. Let's have them and hollywood dictate how tech is to be developed. If so, bring back LP Records and ban computers. Cuniform writing might work. Maybe reinventing the wheel but no bother, tech has rendered copyright moot and the RIAA head may as well be voicing "...the sound and fury of an idiot signifying nothing." - Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 5

  10. Dazzer
    Thumb Down

    Let me be the first to say...

    ...You can shove it up your arse.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    2 words for RIAA

    FUCK and OFF

    used together they perfectly express what RIAA should do with themselves.

  12. yeah, right.


    So that's where the Sony-BMG folks who came up with their root kit went to! I was wondering where those idiots had gone, given recent developments there.

    It's good to see they've found their spiritual home, where pirates rule the roost and try to convince everyone that the law is only what they claim it is, not what's actually written.

  13. Highlander

    Not bloody likely!

    The RIAA can kiss my Lily white ass if they think they can some how force or trick me into installing some bullsh*t malware on MY computer. Who are they kidding, other than themselves? Filtration on my PC? Ha, just feckin' try it pal. As for ISP filtering, yeah, I can see the morons trying that one too, Comcast is already doing it. So much for the unfettered access to the Net huh?

    Seriously though. Filtration malware on the PC? How exactly is that supposed to benefit me, the owner of the computer? This whole thing is taking on an Orwellian tone now. Filtered access to the net, filtered use of my computer, Are the ISPs and RIAA going to decide what I should think now? They want to control what I listen to. I wouldn't be awfully surprised to hear the MPAA wanting to control what I watch in a similar manner. How much further are we people going to allow government and corporation to reach into our private lives and heads? If I purchase a computer it's my business what I put on it and what I do on it, no one else's. If I purchase access to the net, I am buying bandwidth, not a whole host of unwanted filtration products designed to protect the commercial interests of some other organization. If AT&T and the other service providers are having capacity issues then let them start charging for the bandwidth used and not simply by the supposed speed of service. Heavy handed filtration of content by protocol sniffing or packet inspection is not the way forwards.

    Heck, if the ISPs start this, what is to prevent voice carriers listening in to your conversations - analogous to protocol sniffing and packet inspection? that doesn't even cover the fact that if ISPs do anything to look inside data packets coming from a Vonage customer, then they are effectively executing a wire tap since those packets could be VOIP traffic. What's to prevent them from barging in to prevent you from oh, I don't know, using your cell phone to listen to an MP3 you ripped from your system at home? Or maybe even sending a picture to a friend?

    If carriers start policing services, they won't be able to stop, and that policing will get more and more intrusive. Not to mention the fact that their 'policing' efforts have little to nothing to do with criminal behavior by subscribers, but instead have everything to do with 'protecting' their commercial partners against potential infringement. It's past time due for the so called representatives of the public to step in and end this non-sense by re-inforcing our rights to privacy, and protection against the abuses of the corporations.

    I'm not gonna hold by breath though..

    If anyone want's me, I'll be ripping my CDs to high bit rate MP3 and copying them to every computer in my house!

  14. David Saylock


    To think that there are people who will see this as a good thing makes me worried for the future. Sure they may start by merely filtering for supposed copyright infringement, but why should they stop there? Why not keeping digging further into whatever else it is that you do?

    Mine's the triple tinfoil coated one, thanks.

  15. Anonymous Coward


    Scanning incoming packets doesn't do it because of the aforementioned encryption. The only way to do this is as the guy said - an application running on somebody's PC looking at the raw soundcard output.

    So, he's saying that ISPs should enforce the installation of software which looks for any copyrighted music playing and reports it to the RIAA? And how does this software know which music is legally acquired and which isn't? And, more to the point, what the hell is wrong with this guy?

  16. vits3k

    RIAA stalking horse for Big Brother?

    I can't believe anyone would be as asinine as the RIAA is being about this, and be allowed to get away with it for so long, if there weren't a hidden agenda somewhere.

    Being able to monitor and control content for the supposed purpose of copyright enforcement means being able to monitor and control ALL content.

    Next: Word and idea filters right on the desktop. No more "controversial" ideas leaking out into the public Interwebz and tainting The Truth, and troublemakers easily detected and rounded up.

    Or perhaps they'll just start putting electric shock circuitry into the keyboards? Maybe those "shocking" laptops were no accident!

  17. Ole Juul

    Is this guy related to Darl?

    They're using the same thinking style as SCO so it's probably about getting bonuses for themselves and contracts for their lawyer friends. They obviously don't care about their company or even copyright issues.

  18. Raife Edwards

    Actually, this has, mostly, already been implemented...

    This is exactly what Microsofts "Trusted Computing" is actually, specifically, designed to accomplish. Additionally, "Vista" already has most of the technology (APIs, secure media-paths, software-signing, etc.) already built into it. So does the "Mac", though Apple is apparently leaning more towards a hardware-approach ("TPMs", etc.).

    Furthermore, the ability to refuse Internet-connections to any "Non-Trusted Computer" is already built into most of the routers, already in use, by most ISPs. So, if you arent running this control/monitoring-hardware/software, then you simply will not be allowed to access the Internet, at all.

    And, any thought that the U.S. Government would, in any way, try to impede this plan... is utter nonsense. The simple fact is that the U.S. Government is not only, not opposing this eventuality... It is actually one of the biggest proponents of this entire monitoring/tracking/control scenario. In fact, laws imposing this very type of scheme (on ISPs, colleges, etc., for example), are already being created, and passed.

    Another interesting couple of points is that, Microsoft actually started working on this very, all-controlling, all-seeing, "Trusted Computing platform" plan... just about the same time that the White-House apparently ordered the DOJ to drop the Anti-trust prosecution against the company (...after Microsoft was, in fact, found "GUILTY", and right after every one of Microsofts appeals were rejected by every court, up to and including the U.S Supreme Court). And "AT&T" (the largest single internet-access provider in the U.S., which has just announced its intentions to intercept, and monitor, all Internet-traffic for various "legal" and "copyright"-related, reasons) is set to be given full-immunity (by the Federal Government) for its various illegal-activities (with regards to AT&Ts, illegal, warrantless-spying on customers)... But, these are probably all just amazing coincidences... Right..?

  19. Steve Browne
    Black Helicopters

    I have rights

    I have a right to privacy, implemented by the Human Rights Act and part of the European Convention of Human Rights. Merkins have similar rights enshrined in their constitution. So, how is this twat going to pay the damages for breaching mine, and 700,000,000 others? (400,000,000 European Union population and 300,000,000 Merkins).

    Additionally, there is that small inconvenience of innocent until proven guilty. To get any form of search order requires the consent of a judge and he will want to see some evidence that the search order is reasonable and necessary.

    This is a very dangerous idea, it strikes at the heart of fundamental freedoms and all for a few money grubbing merkin wankers to eat better.

    Then there comes the scope creep. Allowing this will place the technology to spy on everyone, so where will it stop. We already know that governments lie to implement their spying, we already know there is no limit to their deeds, we already know that both the British and Merkin governments have been involved in torture, do you really think they will be bale to restrain themselves when they already have the technology in your living room? Oh, it will be a good reason, Terrorism, Paedophilia, Animal Rights, but it is aimed at YOU.

    Microsoft were a big promoter of DRM. Microsoft are known law breakers, being convicted in several countries. If you want to become a spy subject, keep them going. If you value your freedom, drop merkin based software.

  20. Anonymous Coward


    Is it April 1st?

    Coat please. Mine's a bit heavy - it's got an eeePC in the pocket downloading Scrubs season 7 with uTorrent over my neighbour's wireless connection...

  21. Snake Plissken

    Fascist overtones

    I really, really don't like their use of "Educate". Cults use it the same way.

  22. rasmus petersen

    Those out side the long arm of the RIAA

    And aside from all the good points against this that have already been raised, there is also a world out side the US and the range of the RIAA legal arm - I presume the legal arm is all that is to the RIAA.

    And are they going to pay us to install their mal-ware, I can see it in my minds eye

    ISP add

    Free but locked broadband or you can pay for Free broadband.

  23. brym

    Personal Use OK.

    If it's not illegal to copy to your mp3 player, or to burn to disc an extra copy for your own personal use, why kick up so much over downloading in the first place? I'd bet that the majority of downloaders do so for personal use. The labels missed a trick with online distribution. Now they're crying because everyone else didn't.

  24. Geoff Mackenzie

    Oh go on, have a crack

    I dare you...... I'd be more irate at this if the whole notion wasn't so silly in the first place. Has anyone suggested a useful way of identifying copyright content that is being used illegitimately yet?

    And as a couple of previous commenters have noted, all this means is that once again FOSS is the answer. They couldn't even crush decss on Linux. Even friendly Ubuntu installs with an 'install-css' shell script out of the box!

  25. Fluffykins

    OK, so DRM sofware should be installed because I MIGHT play dodgy music

    By exactly the same token, any RI Ass. of A living anywhere near a school ought to be tagged and put on the sex offenders register, because they MIGHT indulge in kiddiefiddling.

    The logic seems perfectly parallel.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Thought Crime.

    Are they going to require me to install listening devices in my house so they can prosecute me for humming copyright music?

    Perhaps a skull cap with sensors for when I get the latest trash pop tune stuck spinning round my head, they can prosecute me for remembering it, after all it's format shifting isn't it?

    Sooner this bunch of (scarily influential) morons work out that their business model is dead but not yet buried the better.

  27. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    They could prevent most copyright theft in a month

    If they reduce their prices, people will buy from them instead of thieves. Their profits will rise because they will get a bigger market share, and they will also create new customers - the ones who will not pay high prices or thieves.

    While they are at it, they can unbundle albums and give an explicit license that says where I can play music that I have bought. There really is no point in me buying a CD now that they will sue me for playing it on my own ogg player.

  28. davcefai


    Did we really need this additional proof of how loosely the RIAA is connected to reality?

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Never gonna happen

    This rant by the RIAA shill is never going to happen, so let's not worry about it too mjuch. He does point out a kink in the RIAA's quest to persecute file-sharers: encryption. People are using more and more encryption and soon all P2P traffic will be encrypted making filtering impossible. That's what he's actually anticipating.

  30. Colonel Panic

    I for one...

    Welcome our RIAA overlords.

    I will be sending them the keys to my home shortly - so they can verify at their leisure that I have not been indulging in home taping.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    I hope the RIAA keep making more of these suggestions. Each one is sillier than the last and makes them look more and more like a joke.

    Eventually the record industry that they supposedly represent will tire of their desperate ranting and realise they have lost all touch with reality.

    Maybe at that point the record companies will finally take a long hard look at what it is the customers really want and adapt their business model to suit.

  32. JC

    Over my dead body

    Over my dead body, or should I say, if we were in a dark alley only then would you have ONE chance to state this?

  33. Anonymous Coward

    i think it's a great idea

    because as soon as it sends anything back to the US without my consent, we, in the EU can sue the ass of them and hopefully cripple the lawyers with lawsuits.

    However, maybe the US method may be better....piss of some 15 year old Emo who goes trigger happy at the local office of the RIAA

  34. Dr. Mouse

    To paraphrase a certain popular foul-mouthed cartoon:

    Sherman: I'm boss of the RIAA.

    Stan: No, you're a douche.

    Sherman: I AM NOT A DOUCHE! I am trying to save the record industry from theives!

    Stan: No, you are a money grabbiong, power hungry, douche.


    Stan: I, Stan Marsh, am saying to you, Cary Sherman, you are a douche. In fact, I am nominating you for biggest douche of the universe.


    Voice over [Sung]: Here he is, the biggest douche in the universe,

    theres no other douche, as big a douche as you!

    You've reached the top, the pinnacle of douchedom,

    Good Going Douche, you're dreams have come true!

    Sherman: I AM NOT A DOUCHE!


    Hmm, I'm quite pleased with that. For those who don't know, thats based on South Park Season 6 Episode 15: The Biggest Douche In The Universe, VERY good episode :D

    Mines the orange coat with the hood.

  35. Ian

    Sounds good to me!

    I have no problem with them installing it on the modem as they put it.

    Seeing as encryption is handled by the computer.

    In other words, all the modem will see still is encrypted data making it worthless anyway whilst costing them a fortune to implement, anything that makes the RIAA lose millions without any actual benefit sounds good to me!

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    RIAA wonders why EMI is seriously thinking about not renewing it's membership!

  37. Luke Wells

    Yes please!

    I can't wait to get my computer encrypted and controlled by the RIAA. Where do I sign up? Sounds like a great deal!

    FFS, why not produce cheaper music rather then waste so much money on the hairbrained scheme department?

  38. Anonymous Coward

    Is it even possible?

    I wouldn't worry too much here, the reality of it is is that what he is proposing just isn't feasible. How do you successfully decide whether a file is legal or illegal? The first problem is that trying to produce a "register" of illegal files is very hard. You could try downloading loads of files from various file sharing servers and assuming they are all illegal. But in reality one person probably has the legal version of that floating around since they ripped it from CD originally. Let's ignore those problems and assume that you can successfully do that. You then have to try and detect which files are played that are illegal. You can't do a detailed comparison, or some 99.9% correlation comparison, because that would involve downloading/uploading the whole file every time you play it. So instead you would hash the file and compare hash with something up on the server. Ok, I'll "fix" that in a number of ways:

    1) Only play my music on non-online boxes - move the data with external HDD or flash-key or iPod equivalent.

    2) Produce some software that after downloading and during decryption of your "illegal" files does some random bit-flips in unimportant parts of the file - there are plenty of things that you wouldn't notice if they got changed - especially in the tags etc.

    3) Add a 0.01s silence to the start or end of every song. Randomise the bit length of the silence to make it really hard to strip out - also make it "almost" silence so it sounds like silence but actually has really quiet white noise.

    4) Re-encode your files on receipt.

    Now the simple fact of the matter is the RIAA isn't protecting artists its protecting its own corrupt business models. If you look at a platinum album from an artist in the UK, they have sold 300,000 albums. The band has probably taken performance royalties of 8-10% of which there manager has taken a cut. The writers royalties are about 8-12%. Assume the band didn't write their own song, and the manager is on about 20%, and the album sells for £14; the band get to share out about £270k. That's probably for the best part of a years' work making the album. And that's assuming the thing goes platinum. A hell of a lot of albums don't sell anywhere near that number. With 4 people in the band, they get paid less than £70k each per annum for being really successful. That's about the same as being an electrician on the Heathrow T5 site. Now compare that to the music industry. The remaining 80% of the cost of the album gets split with about 50% going to the supply chain, and the rest to the record company. So expect the record company to make £1.26M from the same album. From that they have to put up a few adverts on the tube, and a couple of adverts on TV. Don't forget though, once a band has made it, a lot of the advertising comes for free by appearing on radio and MTV etc.

    Where do bands make their money. From anything except selling albums usually. Ok there are exceptions. Pink Floyd have shifted 40 million copies of Dark Side of the Moon probably making them a good £15M each. But most bands make their money from touring. Putting 10,000 paying customers into an auditorium at £20-£50 a ticket where the band take 1/2 the proceeds for a night's work is far more profitable. So long as you don't blow all your money on a huge stage-show like Pink Floyd's The Wall of course.

  39. John F***ing Stepp

    Linux seems an option (but my job involves cleaning windows.)

    I do have a slight problem with this.

    Do they really need to know about several doomsday weapons?

    Because, I am really not sure whether my encryption programs are completely unbreakable.

    (I really try to keep this kind of crap off my hard drive, but it creeps in; most of it would only take out half the planet, and after all, leaving half is . . .pretty damn nice.)

  40. Hooch181

    Well that explains...

    why I gave up on music about 5 years ago and just listen to my old albums, music coming out these days is shit anyways!

  41. Matt Bradley
    Thumb Down

    Sympathy for the music industry

    It is impossible to feel any sympathy for these people. They've lost the ability to make big piles of money by exploiting the creations of others, and now they are trying to take it out on the consumer.

    The thing is, if they'd moved a bit faster and understood what was happening, they'd have been able to beat Google and YouTube to the punch. Instead they're going to silently slide into insignificance over the next couple of years.

    Goodbye RIAA. You won't be missed.

  42. Dave Bell

    Small Content Creator Here

    And how much will the bastards charge me and my friends if I want to get onto the DRM bandwagon?

    Besides, if the file has DRM, and it is being played in a DRM-enabled player, an illicit copy just isn't going to work. And how else are they going to identify illicit content?

    I think I'm going to go write a bright, bouncy, J-pop-style, song in which a chorus of meganeko call into question the sexual performance of coke-sniffing record-company executives.

    Maybe the bastards are just jelous that the musicians get the groupies?

  43. Anonymous Coward

    Ummm they do know about the

    DPA over here don't they ?

    Just a thought.....

  44. Bronek Kozicki

    HD perspective

    All Blu-Ray users will have this kind of spyware installed on their players (stand-alone ones or PS3 - not counting drives working under control of general purpose OS) as soon as HD DVD becomes thing of the past.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    The guy is a prick

    but so are all the Linux nuts who yet again have turned an issue into a microsoft bashing forum. WTF does this guys comments have to do with MS?

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Of course, those of us running Linux can sit back and laugh as Windows users get bogged down even more."

    And those of us running windows can sit back and laugh as stupid elitist Linux users predict doom and gloom for everyone else that never happens :P

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    this is good!

    As it will continue to hightlight to those who may be less informed than the average reg reader, that the RIAA et all are crocks, that the music industry's business model needs updating or scrapping and that your own safety and security on your own computer is something you should care about.

    Obviously people commenting on this article will have the knowledge to avoid any attempt at this (the most enlightened of us using linux already).

    ... where is cloud with a silver lining icon?

  48. Shinobi87


    firstly RIAA = morons

    secondly can we not have one fing article without people proclaiming linux as the messiah! its not. Linux is useful dont get me wrong i use it myself, but i also use windows because it has its uses too. until linux gets to a stage where billy bob average user can understand it its not going to be common place. stop living in a dream world and do something productive!

  49. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    This will make it easy for Americans

    To erradicate corruption from the US legislature.

    RIAA will have to push a law for that to be forced unto users, so, you should just see who voted for that law and shoot them.

  50. Ash

    They will do it

    You won't be asked for permission. You won't even notice.

    You let it get this way by letting corrupt politicians and their corporate yes-men get into positions of power, and then you continued to throw money at them for the dogshit they give you.

    You made your bed; shame you didn't pick something more comfy than broken glass. for the matress

  51. Anonymous Coward

    Let's add filtered acces to everyone's home while we're at it...

    Perhaps the RIAA thinks they have the right to see how many people are concurrently listening to my tunes. They can add videos and mics to everyone's home just incase one of us dares to host an impromptu party. They'll also want only RFID tagged guests to visit the party just so they can charge their pound of flesh for everyone listening.

    If you are walking within hearing distance, you'll automatically get billed too...


  52. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Remember the good old days ?

    You know, when there was so much Freedom around no one even noticed ? When you could go buy a CD or a game and your only worry was whether it was compatible with your hardware ?

    When you could pick up your phone and had zero-minus chance of the DHS listening in on your conversation with your brother/wife/cousin/aunt ?

    When companies were actually thankful that you gave them your hard-earned money for something ?

    When you could decide to catch a plane half an hour before take-off, and actually be on it in time for the trip ?

    When life was normal ?

    Ahh, the good old days.

    I miss them.

  53. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    They do know DRM doesn't work

    Because what if we (the nefarious pirate. Yarr!) put DRM on it so the RIAA cannot take a copy and look to see if it's theirs and illegal, they seem to understand that it must be converted to unencrypted and they can take a copy then.

    They just need that little but more push to realise that when THEY put DRM on their music, it must be converted to unencrypted and we (the nefarious pirate. Yarr!) can take a copy then.

    *nearly* there.

    Paris would have gotten it by now.

  54. matthew

    Maybe it's time... sue the RIAA for something before they sue us.

    Let’s look at how my downloading has affected the record industry:

    Assuming I probably didn't start buying CD's till I was 14 and starting downloading when I was about 18, I’m now 23.

    so checking my collection I find 4 CD’s I brought before I was 18, that's 1 a year, now lets look at how many I’ve brought since, I’m up to about 15, that’s 3 a year.

    Now I’m not brilliant at maths so I’ll use the RIAA's methods of figuring things out:

    Haven’t I increased there profits by 300%? There by negating any 'losses' they may have made. So single handily I’ve solved the whole problem. At least in a world of RIAA facts and figures.

    On another note all the CD's I own are compilations of old music, I only download the occasional modern song because 99% are shit and I wouldn't waste my money getting a cd if I only like one song. Gone are the days of music worth paying for quiet frankly.

  55. Block


    So to enforce this the modem would somehow detect that the spyware is installed on the machine before it can download?

    so would a router connected to the cable need to have this spyware installed to be able to download, or is it every computer attached to the router or every computer attached to every computer attached to the router.

    Unless you change the way TCP/IP works this really isn't going to be workable.

    (not that i really thought any hot air by the RIAA will ever actually work, just annoy).

    The music industry is basically a large distribution network where everyone along the chain takes a cut. Unfortunately the internet has made distribution free. bye bye.

  56. John

    might as well ban

    speakers on computers.

    If the RIAA really does push this, any artist that thinks being with a label affiliated with RIAA is somewhat stupid. Let's see them write protest songs about 'the man' interfering with your music players.

  57. Tim Bates
    Thumb Down


    This guy clearly doesn't actually understand how a computer or the internet works, let alone specifics of how the many thousands of devices out there work.

    So he thinks we can install software on our modems. Good luck with that.

    And if that won't work, we install it on individual PCs... Except how does NAT fit in?

    And if we choose to run something other than Windows Vista (and perhaps XP)? Is he going to supply the source for this software so that I can run it on Linux or FreeBSD running on a PowerPC or SPARC box?

    Overall, it sounds like a badly thought idea from a non-technical person who assumes everyone with a computer is a pirate.

  58. twelvebore

    I think that this is a good idea

    I think this technology should be spread widely. As soon as possible. With the RIAA logo on it.

    Why? Because it's only once this sort of crap ends up on the computers of millions of people, interfering and generally breaking stuff, that the RIAA will finally gets its arse Class Actioned into the Stone Age.

    Really, stuff like this is simply the myopic fools digging their own graves. Don't take their spades away! Better to give them a big JCB so they can get the job done quicker!

  59. Mark

    Why not just threaten violence?

    Why don't they just cut the crap. This isn't about artists rights, intellectual property, consumer satisfaction or any other weasel words. It's about money, first, last and all points in between. So why not just theaten us with violence till we hand it over, irrespective of whether we want music or not? After all, anyone with an internet connection is a criminal, so shouldn't we just be fined in advance of committing the crime?

    Ahh, taxi's here already...

  60. Paul

    They are sounding more and more like...

    the histeric Mum of a kid that has just been shot in a gangland shooting. "We should ban shotguns because my drug dealing kid was shot by someone with an AK" or "no mother should have to hear there drunk son die on the phone in a car accedent. We should ban cars"

    You get my point...

  61. Steve

    Stop buying their products now!

    And stop this pointless Windows vs. Linux shit...

    When the RIAA came for the Windows users,

    I remained silent;

    I was not a Windows user.

    When the RIAA came for the Mac users,

    I remained silent;

    I was not a Mac user.

    When they came for the Linux users,

    there was no one left to speak out.

  62. Shabble
    Black Helicopters

    What next?

    Western civilization is goint to sh!t. What next? English league football games played in America and Australia? Or religious nut-job laws incorporated into secular society?

    Oh... hang on...

    That's it. I'm moving to Jupiter.

  63. Tim

    Recording Industry Ass of America

    Firstly anything that RIAA does that affects anyone outside America diserves prosecution anyway.

    Secondly, I don't pirate, I buy legit physical CDs and make perfect rips to store on my server and use on MP3 players. End result is much superior quality to the pathetic downloads on offer anyway and less hassle than carrying piles of CDs around.

    If their "filters" in any way prevent me from doing that I will get medieval on their asses. I'm not a music thief, and if they infect my PC, they get sued.

    Have they not learnt from Sony's rootkit mistake? !

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Missing the point

    Whilst the RIAA would like to protect content already in the wild, what they are actually trying to do is protect their future, one brick at a time. This is only one of a number of steps which, individually, they could get through, but as a whole will seriously impact how future media is used.

    In order to get this through, they would need a digital watermark for the media that says 'this is copyright material'. Once this was in place, and they get agreement with producers of the media players, they could get a 'you must have a license before playing this copyright material'. If you did not have it, you could not play it. So the next step is that instead of a watermark, the copyright material is encrypted, and you need the license to decrypt it.

    At this point, the free software movement is screwed. Without access to the decryption method, they suddenly cannot access the media. They will not get access to the licenses, because this will be (is) proprietry information which itself needs licencing, and the license holder can decide to withhold this on cost or any other grounds they want.

    Ok , says the free software movement, we'll attack the encryption. Not only is this illegal under DMCA in countries that have that and similar laws (why do you think that the US government tried to persuade other countries to implement similar laws), but is is MUCH more difficult than the pathetic CSS system that was used for DVDs. Current bleading edge asymmetric certificate based encryption is waaaaay beyond the abillity of even the most dedicated hacker. Why do you think that the French government ban it. It is because THEY cannot break it.

    Hey, you say. We'll extract the raw audio at the device stream level. No you won't. With TPC or Palladium (or whatever it is called at the moment), the trust extends down to the hardware level, and data passing between media devices is either encrypted with keys securly held in the Fritz chip, or uninterceptable because of hardware design. And the fritz chip will not release the keys to a non-trusted OS! We are now back to analog extraction and re-encoding. And even here, there is possible inaudible watermarking to allow the RIAA to identify the source of the media.

    This is the future, one bit-at-a-time. And there is almost nothing anybody induvidually can do about it. Prepare to start paying through the nose for ALL your entertainment. Much of the infrastructure for this is ALREADY in place in Vista and Mac-OS. Please, lobby your MP NOW to educate the people who rule us!

  65. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    "The guy is a prick "

    As is the anonymous coward who shouts his mouth off for no frigging reason.

    Have a MS wank on your own time.

    Jeez, and here El Reg says "if your comment is acceptable, it'll be posted".

  66. Peter Gathercole Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    People are uneducated and not disposed to learn.

    The vast majority of them will just accept it, because they are told it is necessary by someone in a position of apparant responsibillity. We (the commentors of El. Reg.) do not represent the majority of the uninformed sheep that make up the voting public, and thus are the tail trying to wag the dog, and even we argue about such things!

    Paris, because she represents the dumb masses.

  67. Anonymous Coward

    To all the Linux haters...

    The Linux commentors aren't really starting a "Linux is so much greater" thread for this article, they're simply saying that Linux is about freedom and such a thing as hinted at by the RIAA could never become possible with it, but with MS and Apple it's a real possibility as each is one major company that can be forced into putting stuff in their software.

    Remember Windows' back door in the update manager? Most people wouldn't even realize something was installed.

  68. Anonymous Coward


    Clearly, the guy is crackers....

    >So he thinks we can install software on our modems. Good luck with that.

    Historically, by then end of the "modem" era, most modems were either software modems or microcontrollers with flashable firmware.

    I would guess that ADSL modems are similar, my router is certainly flashable..

    All in all I'd really like to see a significant effort developing this, perhaps the RIAA should commit it's entire budget to what is obviously the ideal solution to the problem. I have no idea how such a system could possibly work, but I do think that's where the pieces of eight should be going... arrrrrr...

    All it needs is a name... Wildgoose? RedHerring? "The Turkey"?

  69. Silo Spen

    Oh god.

    It's the TCB all over again.

    Didn't they watch 2001 A Space Odyssey?!

  70. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: "The guy is a prick "

    Well, 'acceptable' is relative, y'know, and it varies and all that. Sometimes we like to let you all fight it out. One man's anonymous coward is another's, er, freetard fighter.

    Or something.

  71. Steve

    This is fantastic!

    With all the friends who'll be asking me too clean this off their computers or show them how to use Linux (about 5 mins work) I should get about 6 months of free beers out of this.

  72. James StewartNewman

    Missing the point - we can make money from the RIAA

    The RIAA wants to run software on systems I own they are welcome to do so provided they pay me for the cycles that the software uses. My current rate for RIAA is $1,000,000.00 per OP. Installing the software is considered a binding contract for RIAA to pay this fee. If they refuse I will sue them for stealing my processor time. (theft is theft)

  73. Juliette Martens
    Thumb Up

    I can just hear the RIAA's deny-everything defence...

    ...but m'lud, it's not a feature, it's a bug!

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture


    Will Linux play HDCP protected Blu-ray/HD-DVD content on an HD screen?

    If it does then you have the same problems as all Windows users and really have nothing to crow about.

    If it does not, then what use is Linux when you need a Windows PC to watch your Films?

  75. Shakje

    Looking forward to the Orlowski article

    praising the RIAA for coming up with a workable strategy to get rid of 'freetards' once and for all.

  76. Michael

    @"Never gonna happen"

    <People are using more and more encryption and soon all P2P traffic will be encrypted making filtering impossible> quote

    As far as i'm comcerned, even if they were successful, and all online piracy was wiped out, what's to stop someone sticking around 9000 songs on a blu-ray disc burned under linux down to the pub and sharing it with their mates???

    They could use the business since the smoking ban .. (forget wifi, get ethernet)

    ( What?? Sony makes blu-ray discs??? oh, the irony!!!!!!)

  77. D

    Roll on the floor laughing my bollocks off.....

    one thing that is guaranteed to brighten up my day is hearing the desperate protests and screaming of the RIAA/MPAA. The more desperate they get the more outlandish, impractical and entertaining their ideas get. Although personally, I think they peaked when they started suing pensioners and school girls for file sharing this latest bright idea is probably in the top five.

  78. MarkMac


    "you need a Windows PC to watch your Films?"

    Huh? I watch films on a strange object called a Telly. I plug my DVD player into it to watch DVDs. Bizarro eh?

    ObTopical: The RIAA are doing the classic: pitch in with an outrageous opening bid then concede some changes and everyone thinks you're being reasonable - even tho your revised idea is still outrageous.

  79. Mike Bell
    Thumb Down

    Contacting Online Store...

    If someone could tell me how to get rid of this annoying 5-second splash-screen in Windows Media Player every time I double-click an MP3 file, I'd be greatly obliged. I once made the mistake of buying an album online (I think it might have been Tesco) and now I appear to be locked into always checking online stores for good!

  80. Charlie Stross

    Computer Misuse Act

    Unless I'm very much mistaken, installing such malware in the UK would leave them open to prosecution under the Computer Misuse Act (1990), viz (to quote the Act):

    A person is guilty of an offence if—

    (a) he causes a computer to perform any function with intent to secure access to any program or data held in any computer;

    (b) the access he intends to secure is unauthorised; and

    (c) he knows at the time when he causes the computer to perform the function that that is the case.

    (2) The intent a person has to have to commit an offence under this section need not be directed at—

    (a) any particular program or data;

    (b) a program or data of any particular kind; or

    (c) a program or data held in any particular computer.

    (3) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or to both.

  81. ElFatbob

    just a sign of... desperate they have become.

  82. The Other Steve

    @Ash / AC / Linux v MSFT crew


    "You won't be asked for permission. You won't even notice."

    Oh, I'll notice all right. What with things being the way they are, and with a bit of hacker/cracker background in my dim and distant youth, I keep a fairly close eye on what's going in and out of my network and on what's running on my box.

    Anything that I don;t recognise or expect gets analysed and traced.

    And when that happens, I'll fire up the suite of hard core reverse engineering tools that still live in my taskbar, dust off my rusty1337 h4x0r skillz, and insert a fair sized gobbet of natural justice up the RIAAs digital rectum.

    Install stuff on my router ? IDA Pro has a nice ARM disassembly mode.

    And I won't be alone. There will be more and far better than me gleefully attaching their JTAG cables to their shiny new kit.

    AC :

    "And the fritz chip will not release the keys to a non-trusted OS!"

    How about to a trusted OS running inside a VM running inside a debugger ?

    I haven't tried this, so I couldn't comment.

    "there is possible inaudible watermarking"

    Inaudible != invisible to analysis though, and lets say they stego a per song key into the LSBs of the stream, fucking with those bits will also change the key. Maybe enough, maybe not.

    And that's just off the top of my head. There are plenty of folks who will throw these and other, far more sophisticated ides at the problem until it breaks.

    To quote the always interesting Bruce Schneier "if you think technology can solve your security problems, then you don't understand the problems and you don't understand the technology."

    As for the DMCA, pshaw. If you think making something illegal is enough to prevent people from doing it, you should definitely get out more.

    Linux v MSFT :

    <snip stereotyped blah>

    Just stop it, really.

  83. Red Bren


    And when AO has spoken, no one has the right to reply...

  84. Chika

    OS wars?

    The only clear issue here is that the RI Ass. of A consists of a bunch of idiots bent on legitimising spyware for their own purposes.

    As a Windows, Linux, Unix, RISC OS and (very occasionally) RSTS/E user, my beef is with the RI Ass. of A, not with any specific OS. I have enough and completely different cows with the systems.

  85. Eddie Johnson

    Hasn't this already been done?

    Hasn't this already been done?

    And isn't it called Vista?

    And isn't that why MS is losing the war?

    Isn't that why all the secure hardware initiatives have failed over the years, spyware in hard drive firmware etc?

    Wow, check out Cary Sherman over there.. in the 20th century. is he wearing a Frankie Goes to Hollywood shirt?

  86. Tharglet

    I have a plan.... every time I want to get someone in trouble, I encrypt (or get an encrypted mp3) and send it to an unsuspecting person, who then has the unfortunate luck of unencrypting it.

    And due to how instant this software claims to be, there'll be sirens at their door in no time...

    Mine's the one with the mp3 playing taser in the pocket...

  87. George Johnson

    Oh Heavens above

    So in order to check for DRM content you're going to need a) tagged media or an effing huge DB to cross-check and compare the media being tracked.

    Do something now, before it's too late.

    Try some new music genre, you never know you might get to like something new. I got big into Metal, lots and lots of smaller labels within a niche market. The majors aren't interested unless they can flog 6 million copies of their overatted tat to bored housewives and 9 year-old girls, so don't buy their crap. Buy in the indie niche markets, catering to your favourite genre. Get out to the clubs or get on the websites and give the money direct to the artists who deserve it.

    Get on another open O/S Linux, BSD, etc. At least you have control or what, where and how and a fair chance of someone caring enough to break the scheme and get a FOSS option into the market, DVD-John, fair-play, etc

    Don't say Intel and AMD won't change the chips, given the fact that the average computer user in this day and age, is a brain-rotting liability to the rest of us, downloading spam, trojans and virus/virii ( never understood which word we're supposed to use ), Intel and AMD will follow the money. The tech-savvy who understand the risks of this stupid idea are in the minority. 20 years ago, no one wanted a computer, these days, who doesn't have one, the casual users are driving the market, it's no longer the techies. The chav-fam down at PC world on a Saturday, are the ones who will let this happen whether techies react or not. Educate people now, before it's too late.

  88. DR

    ripping cd's to MP3 is leagal?

    not the last time I checked. at least not in the UK...

    so they don't need to filter out illegal MP3's

    assuming that you can only buy DRM encrypted MP3s, then you simply report the use of all un-encrypted mp3's...

    personally I break the law every time I buy a CD.

    my CD buying process is,

    buy CD,

    go home,

    CD > Computer,

    tracks > Ripped to hard drive and the hard drive of my mp3 juke box for my car,


    CD > shelf, never to be looked at again.

    the spine of the inlay is cracked once, (assuming they've bothered to make one) and the inlay is perused in only the time it takes me to rip the CD...

    so yes, I'm a pirate, and I break the law, even though I coughed up my money...

    will I change? no.

    will I get caught, unlikely, if this shite got pushed out to everyone I'd simply just have my ripping machine not online and running an old OS, and I wouldn't care about patching an unexposed system.

  89. Philip Kroker

    KGB mentality

    GOOD GRIEF!! I thought that this kind of mentality was paar for the course in nasty commie or nazi dictatorships not in the *cough* "free" western world. What's next a bunch of thugs showing up at your house at midnight to take you away for "questioning"? My grandparents moved to north america to get away from that cr*p.

    Torn between the dead vulture and pirate icons.

  90. Anonymous Coward


    'And isn't it called Vista?

    And isn't that why MS is losing the war?'

    Errr NO! As stated above OSX also has the capabilities built in for this. It is not a MS or OS exclusive issue ffs

  91. 3x2

    RIAA Ejucashon

    That reminds me, whatever happened that lighthouse in a sea of crime Captain Copyright?

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @The Other Steve

    Fritz knows about VMs, because the VM acts as a corrupting filter between the OS and the hardware. The OS needs the keys from Fritz, and Fritz will not trust the lowest level OS.

    And I did not say it was undetectable. And it is possible to add analog wartermarks (low/high frequency signals that can be filtered, low level signals at start or end of tracks, hetrodyned signals on notes added to the music). These can even survive digitisation.

    But do you know how much of the media you already have has identifiable marks? Have you looked? Chances are, if you know, you look. If you don't, you won't. Most audio and video tapes have had timing or duplication signals added to the front and back of the tapes (often heard on the audio tracks as a series of static pulses). These often include information about the machine that was used to duplicate the tape. Did you not know? Did you ever investigate?

    Also, when the component gets added to your system in a "we need to upgrade the Genuine Windows Advantage", or even "we need to fix a critical flaw in the OS (it does not do what we want it to do)", would you notice?

    Do you even do anything other than click "yes" when your firewall claims that some DLL is trying to access the net? If you do, then you have more time than I have!

  93. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Dr. Mouse

    To paraphrase a famous foul mouthed cartoon with a slightly more to the point phrase;

    You can suck my balls RIAA.

  94. Christopher E. Stith


    So there are no unencrypted MP3s other than copied corporate music? Gee, I could've sworn I'd downloaded podcasts, indie music samples, and speeches in that format.

  95. RW
    Paris Hilton

    Root Causes

    The usenet newsgroup at one time had a regular who insisted that the main interest of the bigwigs in the music industry was keeping the supply of cocaine flowing to their noses.

    Insisted repeatedly, ad infinitum nauseamque.

    You know what? He was right. The desperation of the RIAA too closely resembles that of addicts overdue for a fix; likewise, the ideas they come up with too closely resemble those of drug users whose thought processes have been addled by overindulgence in recreational pharmaceuticals.

    As the communications director at my former employer used to insist, to understand most political posturing, you have to look at (1) vested interests and (2) consequences.

    Vested interests: music bigwigs with big cocaine budgets and habits.

    Consequences: threatened reductions to both the budget and the supplies underlying said habits.

    Makes sense to me.

    Paris, because that lovely, virginal young thing has certainly never sullied the purity of her essential bodily fluids with anything as crass as cocaine.

  96. Ishkandar

    I can just see this happening.... China. I'm sure the government there would just love to install these high tech gadgets on all their state-run machines !!

  97. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Haven't you heard? AMERICA is the new CHINA!

    Hahaha, the 'Land of the Free' could teach us chinese a few things about new-age oppression. The funny thing is that your corrupt politicians and corporations do worse things to their own people than our govournment and still try to take the moral high ground! The US dollar is becoming so worthless that it won't be too long before chinese companies are outsourcing to American sweatshops! You owe us so much money already that we practically own your country anyway!

    Bwahahaha, got to love all your western propaganda though that always makes us out to be the evil ones! Watching arrogant America fall is going to be most entertaining!

  98. The Other Steve


    "Fritz knows about VMs, because the VM acts as a corrupting filter between the OS and the hardware. The OS needs the keys from Fritz, and Fritz will not trust the lowest level OS."

    OK, interesting, thanks. I'll have a read up on that if I remember.

    "But do you know how much of the media you already have has identifiable marks?"

    To a good approximation, yes, and the answer, of course, is most of it

    "Have you looked?"

    Oh yes.

    "These often include information about the machine that was used to duplicate the tape. Did you not know? Did you ever investigate?"

    Yes. That is I did know, and I have indeed investigated.

    "Also, when the component gets added to your system in a "we need to upgrade the Genuine Windows Advantage", or even "we need to fix a critical flaw in the OS (it does not do what we want it to do)", would you notice?"

    Perhaps not, although I do actually vet the updates and read all the KB articles before even downloading them (where possible obviously, q.v. recent stealth installs). I would, however expect to notice any unusual network activity, as previously stated. My IDS flags anything that I haven't designated as known traffic, and I regularly review the logs and less regularly run eyeball audits on traffic with various monitoring tools to see if I'm missing anything.

    "Do you even do anything other than click "yes" when your firewall claims that some DLL is trying to access the net? If you do, then you have more time than I have!"

    Erm yes, otherwise what would be the point of having the software at all ? Given that I have a POC around here somewhere from years ago that injects code into running processes, I'd be a fool not to.

    And yes, I probably do have more time than you, time enough to have written several experimental compilers, some rather nice spectral analysis software, real time video analysis programs, several protocol fuzzers and a variety of custom network security tools to pick just a few of the less mundane 'hobby' projects from the last 18 months or so.

    And I consider myself to be at the low end of the skills range that exists in the general population of coders/hackers/tinkerers/homebrewers or whatever we're calling them this week.

    I'll forgive you for assuming that I'm just a mouthy script kiddie though, since there are so many of them, and you don't know me.

    Mines the one with volume 1 of Knuth in the left hand pocket, and Applied Cryptography in the other, thanks.

  99. Eddie Johnson

    Title? We don't need no stinking title

    @AC1 I didn't say MS was exclusive, I only said its already been attempted and refused by consumers, both at the OS level and at the component level in a proposed IDE HD spec. OSX matters forkall in the bigger picture anyhoo.

    @AC2: "Do you even do anything other than click "yes" when your firewall claims that some DLL is trying to access the net? If you do, then you have more time than I have!"

    You may as well not have a firewall then. The correct answer is to always say no if you don't recognize the source/sender. Only if something you actually want to do fails do you then close the program, do it again, and this time allow it. I'm assuming you know that but claim you don't have the time. Apparently you do have the numerous hours it take to clean your system after the fact though. Just remember the old oz/protection/pound/cure thingy.

  100. milan
    Thumb Down


    Does this guy think that this would be in any way acceptable. Now would be a good time for the drugs squad to raid their offices as they must be smoking some real good stuff.

  101. Anonymous Coward

    easy solution

    download the encrypted files on one computer connected to the internet, then burn the encrypted files to dvd or whatever other media of your choice, then open them on another computer never connected to the internet and thats it, the RIAA cant monitor what your doing

  102. Law
    Paris Hilton

    To the nay sayers - a quick sequence of events to silence your protests

    Before they even try to install it (and risk the immediate backlash from "average" consumers) it will go down like this:

    1 - there will be a law passed by some dirty politician that essentially says its illegal to bypass copyight filtering

    2 - RIAA will claim its voluntary only - no spyware involved

    3 - A few months later it will be installed silently with "Essential ISP Software" or "Essential iPod software", ofcourse it will be hidden miles into the smallprint that it is there and installed for your own good.

    4 - Simple folk like programmers that offer toolkits to remove or bypass this software will be slapped with lawsuits, and be forced to hand over the details of everybody who connected to their servers to download this kit.

    5 - All people who connected will be sued and jailed if they complain!!

    6 - Eventual acceptance of our new overlords.

    To be honest, the first 3 steps sound like ID Cards too - laws passed, "optional signup", silently force people to have them by making them compulsory for services such as banks and passports!

    All this scares the crap out of, I want to move to a fairer nicer country, like China.... or Iran.....

  103. Ed


    "If it's not illegal to copy to your mp3 player, or to burn to disc an extra copy for your own personal use, why kick up so much over downloading in the first place? I'd bet that the majority of downloaders do so for personal use."

    Yeah, that's right. The vast majority of music downloaders are downloading music that they already own. They just want to get their electronic copy from some random stranger on the Intertubes instead of ripping their own.

  104. heystoopid


    @ac you just have not read the standard recording contract from all the major labels and then come back again !

    Further the companies keep their grubby hands on the money earned from the albums sold for well in excess of two years to allow them to deduct all sorts of goodies like advertising and promotion costs , bribes paid to DJ's and radio companies for needle time ! Although in the case of SONY-BMG head office in New Yory for a while they refuse to pay some $160 million dollars to noted artists such as Madonna(she moved to the UK no US forwarding address held was that excuse to with hold some $25 million dollars until Eliot kicked their ass into surrendering this ungodly amount of booty with his big legal baseball stick)

    Now as for the high street prices due to competition from Woollies and the big chain stores using volume sales most stores at best would barely net a profit of more than fifty pee per sale after all costs(me thinks you have confused retail as sold with recommended retail price (RRP) which is about double what you quote the last time in Oz I checked RRP was approximately $49.95 for a CD that the major chains were selling around $22.95 as the punters are extremely reluctant to buy any CD above $28-95 as it just gathers dust ! )

    But sadly the industry has been infested with mostly pirates , sharks and parasitic vampires since the age of mass production of recorded music in all formats. So now in the computer age , we send in a few small barracuda to fight for the very few crumbs left over with the current mix !

    Or as they say "Remember, in a pirate ship, in pirate waters, in a pirate world, ask no questions. Believe only what you see. No, believe half of what you see. "

    Or is it only fools and idiots continue to believe the myth that all rock bands make money from CD sales when 98% of the income comes from live venues !

    Finally as Nelson would say Ha! Ha!

    Oh please have a nice day too !

  105. meredith

    simple really

    use an OS which isn't subject to the whims of corrupt profiteers.

  106. Anonymous Coward

    Down the drain

    As the internets come up the drain, the RIAAss. business goes down the same.

    When will they understand that nobody will pay LP prices for bits and bytes? And nobody will pay them all over again for the same old shite?

    KM Ass.

  107. night troll

    Just a few points

    1. This RIAA guy is so far up his own arse he can smell fresh air.

    2. Why do they let tecnophobic morons pronounce on matters that need a small amount of technical knowledge to get the facts and possabilities right?

    3. If it's software based then someone somewere WILL crack it. If it's hardware based what makes them think we will let it anywere near our machines.

    Don't they realise there are a lot of people who build their own computers, or build and maintain them for friends and relatives. Hell, it keeps me in beer for most of the year!! So what makes them think a rogue bit of hardware will stay on a bought computer even if it gets on it in the first place.

    As for educating our MPs of the threat to our freedom, most of them are so technically incompitent they couldn't find the on switch of their mobile phones without an expensive researcher (relative) to show them.

    If it becomes part of the operating system, microshit, rotten apple or whatever then sales of that system will drop through the floor a' la vista. If it comes as part of an update then it would not be installed or someone will come up with a crack to rip it out.

    How many companies and multi-nationals do you think would let a rouge bit of monitoring soft/hardware, that they could not control near their systems?

    So, basically it ain't gonna happen!

  108. Paul Stimpson

    It will all happen by stealth

    Our governments will love this one... ISPs required to only pass signed packets so only signed "legitimate" apps can communicate over the Internet. It's perfect: No more terrorists or kiddiefiddlers using encryption or darknets. People can write whatever software they like but unless they're "legitimate" (that word again) corporations they won't be able to afford to pay for their code to be examined by a trusted (by the government) testing lab to get it signed so it won't be able to communicate anyway. Just think of all the commercial secrets MS could learn if they ran a signing service and smaller companies and individuals had to submit their code to be audited. If they didn't go that far it would make the spooks' jobs easier as they would know what app generated every packed and which ones need to be deep scanned.

    Go ahead, write "Son of Bittorrent." You won't be able to use it to transfer information outside of your house unless you get it signed. I'm sure that any such signing mechanism would also allow keys to be revoked so the threat of "turning off" an application could be used against any developer in order to make them self-censor/include code to ensure "children are protected" or "copyrights are respected" (insert excuse of the week here.)

    MIcrosoft and Apple will love this one too. It will effectively be impossible to have a piece of open source software communicate oner the net (or to ensure that any such software has its output examined) as it's not signed. Since the signing will cost money the distribution of software for no cost will be severely hampered (of course MS and Apple will have the right to self-sign so they're going to be OK.) Further more the code behind this will be covered by NDAs so publishing the source will be forbidden.

    MS and Apple also get protection from antitrust lawsuits over this. "It was a legal requirement. You can't sue us for implementing it."

    ISPs will love it. Let signed traffic through. Anything unsigned either gets blocked or throttled. No need to play cat and mouse with P2P developers who try to hide their traffic to prevent "management." You can tell that no web browser generated that fake SSL data. It's "future-proof" as new things that will eat bandwidth doing "illegal" things just never get signed or will get identified and turned off when the music/movie industry persuade the government that they're bad. The application that generated a packet can be immediately identified from the signature so prioritising traffic from people you like / throttling things you don't becomes easy with no need to decrypt data. The whole process becomes "noddy" when Cisco implement it in their routers.

    Far more likely, this will all be introduced by stealth. There will be no big switch thrown that will lead to howls of protest from Linux users or anyone else. It will all begin innocently enough. iTunes suddenly starts working faster than it used to, nobody complains. Applications from big companies enjoy the benefits of prioritisation. Nothing gets blocked but the bandwidth pool available to unsigned apps gets smaller and smaller (or at least doesn't grow with demand) until transferring a file with an unsigned program becomes so slow that people stop and buy "all new FileFlash MegaPro" (which in reality is just an FTP or Bittorrent client that checks the files aren't "bad" and signs its packets so it gets to play in the fast lane).

    Then there's some terrible crime committed and some politician starts banging on about kiddiefiddlers and terrorists using these unsigned apps and a law (sorry "voluntary agreement") gets passed requiring ISPs to block them in return for immunity from prosecution/lawsuits. This one may not happen but if the transfer rates on unsigned apps suck so bad that they're unusable people will use what works. In fact I'm surprised the R.I.Ass.A. hasn't already mounted a publicity offensive or leak alleging that Al Qaida are hiding coded messages from Osama bin Laden to terror cells (Yes, OMG, there may be one in YOUR town! Ban it quick!) in music/movie torrents in order to make banning them more wholesome and urgent. "When you use Bittorrent you are helping terrorists kill children!"

    The spooks also love it because everything that's not "kosher" (in their eyes) gets blocked, flagged or throttled so the volume of data they need to examine is kept to a minimum.

    Go on, You know it makes sense...

    @Missing the point - You're bang on the money my friend.

  109. Wayland Sothcott
    Black Helicopters

    It's not about music theft

    We know that this will not really prevent copyright theft but the record industry is prepared to push for this because they can believe it will. It serves another purpose. It gets legally required government spyware onto your computer. It will be illegal to remove it and difficult to get online if the ISP requires it. Government plans require them to gain more control of the average person. People who resist this and don't believe the hype are in a minority and easily identified. We are all breaking the law somewhere along the line and can have pressure put on us due to this. It's not about music copyrigh, that's a pretext, it's about control of free speech and freedom by the government. The music industries fears are just being used to push some laws through.

    The poster who quoted Train Spotting gets it. Think of the Matrix where Neo should keep his head down and be a good little office worker. If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear.

  110. The Other Steve

    @AC w/r/t "Fritz Chip"

    A name I hadn't heard, but which turns out refer to the Trusted Platform Module (TPM). It seems to me that this makes some of your assertions questionable (IMHO)

    Quick whistlestop, the TPM provides three (count them) sets of functionality : Public key crypto functions (RSA, SHA-1, HMAC) , trusted boot, and initialisation and management.

    Since the user (and there are GPL'd linux drivers available for the module) may define exactly what configuration is to be 'trusted', there is nothing on the 'Fritz' * chip to prevent me from booting linux, starting a VM, attaching a debugger and using this environment to host another OS.

    Additionally, I can provide my VM with a virtual TPM (e.g. one in software)

    The utility of this is debatable, but the point is that I can set up an environment with a TPM enabled OS running in an environment that I control completely, including the internals of the TPM. (Whats that ? Newer OSs detect when they're virtualised ? That's an old, old arms race.)

    There is NO way for the TPM to reject an OS, a system configuration, or a piece of hardware because it isn't certified by a third party, none, zip, zilch, nada, bugger all.

    From the horses mouth :

    "Can the Trusted Platform Module control what software runs?

    No. There is no ability to do this."

    "Does TCG require that software be certified to run on a TCG-enabled platform?

    The TCG design does not have any requirement that software be “certified” in order to use it."

    Really, it just doesn't work like that. (Cue hysterical freetards shouting that TPM, and trusted computing in general are evil and that the sky is falling, t'aint so, increase Ritalin and drink less coffee)

    Is it possible that you are getting the TPM mixed up with Microsoft's NGSCB (Next Generation Secured Computing Base), formerly known as Palladium, and which relies on a superset of the TPM hardware functionality, including things like Memory Curtaining, and which is indeed far more genuinely sinister ? Or maybe Intel TXT ? Or just possibly something else entirely ?

    * Apparently, after US Senator Ernest Frederick "Fritz" Hollings, a sock puppet for the RIAA/MPAA and their pigopolist friends who lobbied, unsuccessfully, for a number of draconian anti copying measures which, had they been passed, would have made US consumer electronics manufacturers even less competitive with their Chinese, Malaysian, &c brethren than they are already. One of which was to include the TPM chip in all media devices. Presumably either he, or indeed the MPAA/RIAA had either misinterpreted the functions of the TPM, or had bought into MSFTs much more Machiavellian Palladium vision.

  111. Svein Skogen

    I so look forward to them trying this

    If any of this is tried, and it passes my gateway in any means, I will personally log this as "computer crimes" with the local police, and name each and every person on their board of directors. Since unlawful computer trespass is considered a serious crime in Europe, this is likely to mean an interpol-report + international warrant for arrest.

    Even if some uncivilized countries regularly ignore international laws and international warrants for arrest, this means that when/if they visit a civilized country, they can be extradited, tried, and jailed.

    Simple as that.

    An American corporistic power trying to hack/penetrate the lot of computers in Europe will generally mean a LOT of those logs-at-police... I wonder how "1 million cases of computer trespass" would look on their CV?


  112. Anonymous Coward

    No point arguing..

    It's not the RIAA bosses fault - from the stuff they come out with they are obviously complete techno-morons.

    The real culprits are the yes-men lawyers behind them.

    The last thing they want is a quick and reasonable solution, they need the arguments to go on as long as possible so they can keep raking in the fees!

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