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Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

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Copyfight

« What's So Eminent About Public Domain? | Main | Sony/BMG Still Not Coming Clean About Rootkit DRM »

November 2, 2005

Felten's Four-Step Recovery Program for DRM Abusers

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Princeton computer science professor Ed Felten has drafted a four-step program to help Sony/BMG recover from its serious security stumblings with rootkit-like software -- the unfortunate side effect of an ongoing addiction to consumer-hostile DRM.

The first step? Say it together, everyone:


(1) Admit that there is a problem. The companies can admit that the software uses rootkit-like methods and may expose some consumers to increased security risk.

Step two? Admit to the Higher Power, to yourself, and to other human beings the exact nature of your wrongs.

(2) Modify product packaging, company websites, and EULA language to disclose what the software actually does.

Three? Make a list of all persons you have harmed, and become willing to make amends to them all.

(3) Release a patch or uninstaller that lets any consumer easily remove or disable the rootkit-like functions of the software. Having caused security problems for their users, the least the companies can do is to help users protect themselves.

Finally, come to believe that a Power greater than yourself can restore you to sanity. Computer security experts can expose you to ridicule by the entire Internet community -- or help you climb out of the gutter and start anew in the world of respectable, trustworthy computing.

(4) Make clear that the companies support, and give permission for, research into the security implications of their products. Saying “trust us” won’t cut it anymore. Having betrayed that trust once, the companies should publicly welcome the Mark Russinoviches of the world to keep studying their software and publishing what they find. If you act like you have something to hide -- and you have had something to hide in the past -- the public will be smart enough to conclude that you’re probably still hiding something. This is especially true if you announce that you are trying to find new ways to do the thing that you were just caught doing!

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (1) | Category: Tech


COMMENTS

1. steve on November 2, 2005 4:38 PM writes...

With this level of betrayal I think it is reasonable to start a consumer boycott of all Sony products.

Sony is currently hurting. Just send them a nicely written note explaining why you bought the PowerBook or Dell rather than the Vaio, why you didn't go with their bigscreen TV, why you bought an iPod, etc etc.

Permalink to Comment

2. Donna Wentworth on November 3, 2005 12:28 PM writes...

I have my doubts about the efficacy of consumer boycott campaigns, but people should certainly buy with their minds. That's why it's critical to write publicly and often about the choices smart purchasers ought to make. And to support groups that fight for the freedom to publish those opinions.

Permalink to Comment

TRACKBACKS

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Felten's Four-Step Recovery Program for DRM Abusers:

SonyBMG spyware discoveries (previously reported at SonyBMG Invades Your Computer and SonyBMG Invasion Even Uglier), continue. Even US Homeland Security advises people never to install any software from a music CD. Here is a list of currently found da... [Read More]

Tracked on November 18, 2005 3:55 AM

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