August 31, 2005

Bruce Schneier on Trusted Computing, MS and Practices Document [6:06 pm]

Something fishy’s going on [via Slashdot's Microsoft Stalling TCG Best Practices Document?]

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.

[...] It’s basically a good document, although there are some valid criticisms. I like that the document clearly states that coercive use of the technology–forcing people to use digital rights management systems, for example–is inappropriate.

[...] Complaints aside, 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.

[...] The only reason I can think of for all this Machiavellian maneuvering is that the TCG board of directors is making sure that the document doesn’t apply to Vista. If the document isn’t published until after Vista is released, then obviously it doesn’t apply.

Near as I can tell, no one is following this story. No one is asking why TCG best practices apply to hardware-based systems if they’re writing software-only specifications. No one is asking why the document doesn’t apply to all TCG systems, since it’s obviously written without any particular technology in mind. And no one is asking why the TCG is delaying the adoption of any software best practices.

I believe the reason is Microsoft and Vista, but clearly there’s some investigative reporting to be done.

See Gambling That Monopoly & Inertia Win Out, below.

Later: Slashdot’s Trusted Computing And You

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