Microsoft stalling Trusted Computing best practices document so it won’t apply to Windows Vista?

“The Trusted Computing Group is an industry consortium that’s trying to build more secure computers. It has a lot of members, although the board of directors consists of Microsoft, Sony, Advanced Micro Devices, Intel, IBM, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard and two smaller companies that are voted in on a rotating basis,” Bruce Schneier writes for CNET. “The basic idea is that you build a computer from the ground up securely, with a core hardware “root of trust” called a Trusted Platform Module, or TPM. Applications can run securely on the computer, communicate with other applications and their owners securely, and be sure that no untrusted applications have access to their data or code.”

“In May, the Trusted Computing Group published a best practices document: Design, Implementation, and Usage Principles for TPM-Based Platforms . Written for users and implementers of TCG technology, the document tries to draw a line between good uses and bad uses of this technology,” Schneier writes. “it’s a good document and we should all hope that companies follow it. Compliance is totally voluntary, but it’s the kind of document that governments and large corporations can point to and demand that vendors follow. But there’s something fishy going on. Microsoft is doing its best to stall the document, and to ensure that it doesn’t apply to Vista, Microsoft’s next-generation operating system.”

Full article here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Apple could use Trusted Platform Module chip to keep Mac OS X off non-Macs – June 14, 2005

17 Comments

  1. …Bruce Schneier writes for CNET. “The basic idea is that you build a computer from the ground up securely, with a core hardware “root of trust” … Applications can run securely on the computer, communicate with other applications and their owners securely, and be sure that no untrusted applications have access to their data or code.”

    So, basically, the TCG is trying to get all the Windoze box builders (w/MS) to make something that is as secure as a Mac? Another attempt to make their stuff ‘just as good as a Mac’. Lame.

    Schneier [continues], “it’s a good document and we should all hope that companies follow it. Compliance is totally voluntary … but there’s something fishy going on. Microsoft is doing its best to stall the document, and to ensure that it doesn’t apply to Vista, Microsoft’s next-generation operating system.”

    Another example of Microsoft wanting the ‘rules’ to apply to everyone but them. Windows Piss-ta®: Bringing calamity to your world.

  2. I think what is missing in this discussion is that TPM is DRM for everything. Want to edit the pictures you took on you digital camera in Photoshop? Sorry, it won’t let you. The camera’s manufacturer has decided that it owns your pictures. It is inherently evil. Nobody should be implementing it.

    Magic Word is “bad” as in this is bad technology.

  3. It appears that with the TCG’s efforts, all the people and compnies involved are attempting to turn typical consumer computer usage into the same sort of thing that the music industry is doing with music.

    You won’t really own your computer, because for all practical intent and purpose, you will require someone’s permission to do just about anything.

    This whole TPM business is just a way to get people to use computers the way “they” want to us to, and if we won’t do it their way, we won’t be able to use “our” computers at all.

  4. “MS seem to have difficulty building anything, not least from the ground up.”

    So true! Remember, they bought the original MS-DOS – they didn’t create it themselves.

    My take is that this may endanger Vista adoption with some heretofore staunch M$ IT managers. More and more, security is the name of the game. If Senior Management is leaning on IT to deliver security, they will be running scared, and away from Vista. Not only corporate users, but also goverment.

    MW = tell, as in “do tell me Micro$oft knows the meaning os security”

  5. Trusted Shmusted says: “I think what is missing in this discussion is that TPM is DRM for everything. Want to edit the pictures you took on you digital camera in Photoshop? Sorry, it won’t let you. The camera’s manufacturer has decided that it owns your pictures. It is inherently evil. Nobody should be implementing it. Magic Word is “bad” as in this is bad technology.”

    Exactly right. What’s been covered in other threads is that Intel’s TPM is reported to be integral to Apple’s new Macintels. Some have been saying it’s simply to prevent use of the OS on generic x86 machines. However, Apple has nothing to lose by making OSX available ‘in the wild’, and potentially a lot to gain in more exposure of the OS. So why use TPM?

    Because of VIDEO. Apple wants to recreate what they did with iPod/iTMS in video, and they can’t unless they go along with these same companies demands that all computers be locked down tight. That’s the real reason for abandoning PPC. Even though IBM is a part of this TPM consortium, Intel’s got the technology in the pipeline, and has the backing of these companies as the preferred way of doing it. If Apple wanted video content, they were probably told in no uncertain terms to get on board, or forget it.

    leodavinci says: “It appears that … all the people and compnies involved are attempting to turn typical consumer computer usage into the same sort of thing that the music industry is doing with music. You won’t really own your computer, because for all practical … purpose, you will require someone’s permission to do just about anything. This whole TPM business is just a way to get people to use computers the way “they” want to us to, and if we won’t do it their way, we won’t be able to use “our” computers at all.”

    You better believe it. And this is why many people are waking up and becoming more concerned about the Macintel transition.

    Apple has the reputation as champion of consumer rights because of iTMS, but there’s two reasons why this may not last. First, Apple snuck in under the radar in negotiating the present DRM scheme (as well as pricing) with these media companies. And as the current reporting of how these companies are now rebelling strongly on pricing indicates, they are not above pushing outrageous conditions in a misguided attempt at squeezing the Golden Goose to death. Apple has leverage against them in audio (massive success), but no such thing exists yet in video, and these companies aren’t going to be caught napping a second time. They’ll insist on doing things more ‘their’ way, not Apple’s.

    Second, if Jobs was convinced – easily or not – to give up a perfectly good computing platform, one that the entire company had been built on, AND has a lot more inherent future-proof technology regarding multimedia performance, as well as overall computing horsepower, than anything Intel’s been working on (meaning the PPC based Power5, Cell, Xenon, etc …), then exactly how much pull can Apple actually have anymore? Throwing over to Intel when even a better x86 alternative is available (AMD) makes it – again – obvious that the real reason for doing so was TPM. And you don’t throw over better CPU alternatives for TPM unless you plan on making it an INTEGRAL part of your consumer strategy in the future.

    That means, in short, a less private, lower performing (compared to the possible alternatives), and higher priced (for multimedia of all kinds) computing future. For ALL of us.

    Microsoft not going with this version of a TPM agreement for Vista probably means noting more than they are once again going to leverage their market power to introduce their own version of the same technology – no big surprise there. But the real worry in my mind is that Apple won’t really be a ‘freedom lover’s’ alternative to the MS monopoly anymore. It will be just as prostrate to the interests of conglomerates, only with currently ‘approved’ technology.

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