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DRM, enslaving the world to protect the mighty from the humble.
Written by Daniel   
Wednesday, 10 January 2007 07:49
Goodbye 2006, Hello Digital Rights Management
January 3, 2007
By Christopher Saunders

With the dawn of another new year, it's time for another "Year Ahead" preview. This one may be a bit different than most -- aside from the copious footnoting -- since it's going to focus on just one area of PC hardware and software. But it's a doozy, mainly because the subject is going to affect everything.

I'm talking about Digital Rights Management,1 and for the first time, the DRM war2 is taking place on your PC hardware. This is far and away the most important new development in home PC use today, and for consumer advocates, it should be among the most worrisome.

The end of this month will mark two critical points: The launch of the consumer edition of Microsoft Windows Vista, and the finalization of the Advanced Access Content System agreement.

Both are indications that the war has escalated from the days of DeCSS and Sony rootkits. Instead, we have whole operating systems fortified for the protection4 of digital content. (Medical imaging researcher Peter Gutmann detailed the problems this poses in his widely-read paper here, describing a Microsoft Windows Vista that's bloated and demanding in terms of system requirements, while offering relatively little in return to customers.)

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