http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/3505238.htm By John Markoff New York Times Wed, June 19, 2002 A leading European computer security and privacy advocate is challenging an effort by the American computer industry to create a standard to protect software and digital content, calling the plan a smoke screen by established companies to protect their existing markets. In a paper to be presented today at a technical conference in Toulouse, France, today, Ross Anderson, a University of Cambridge computer scientist, attacks the Trusted Computing Platform Alliance, an organization formed in October 1999 by Compaq Computer, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel and Microsoft. The companies say their intent is to provide a cryptographic system that would insure privacy and protect intellectual property. The technology that the alliance has developed uses an encryption scheme intended to positively identify computer hardware and operating system software and determine that their configuration has not been altered. The companies say it will help detect virus invasions and provide security for commercial transactions such as online purchases and banking. But Anderson argues that the potential exists for the technology to be used in a more sinister fashion: to create a new form of censorship based on the ability to track and identify electronic information. He compares the technology to a proposal by Intel in January 1999 to insert a distinct serial number into each of its Pentium processors, an effort that drew widespread consumer opposition after privacy advocates warned that the technology could be used for surveillance purposes. The plan was quickly withdrawn. Anderson also warns that widespread adoption of the standard from the alliance, known as TCPA, could put large U.S. computer companies in a position to thwart competition by controlling who gets to use the standard and on what computer platforms. ``The TCPA appears likely to change the ecology of information goods and services markets so as to favor incumbents, penalize challengers and slow down the pace of innovation and entrepreneurship,'' he wrote. A Microsoft spokesman said the company had not been able to review the paper and would not comment. Anderson is a Cambridge computer scientist who is also chairman of the Foundation for Information Policy Research, a British Internet policy research group. - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Thu Jun 20 2002 - 08:20:34 PDT