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1931c82 @jwise Initial import.
1 The Coming War on General Computation
2 Cory Doctorow <>
3 Presented at 28C3
5 Transcribed by Joshua Wise <>.
7 This transcription attempts to be faithful to the original, but disfluencies
8 have generally been removed (except where they appear to contribute to the
9 text). Some words may have been mangled by the transcription; feel free to
10 submit pull requests to correct them!
12 Times are always marked in [[double square brackets]].
1233674 @jwise CC-BY, per request from Robert Baruch.
14 The original content was licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY
15 (; this
16 transcript is more free, as permitted. You may provide me transcript
17 attribution if you like, or if it does not make sense given the context, you
18 can simply give Cory Doctorow original author attribution.
1931c82 @jwise Initial import.
70306f7 @jwise Add formatted version of my own.
20 If you simply wish to read the transcript, you may wish to [read a version
21 that has been formatted for screen viewing, on my web
22 site](
a754871 @jwise Note that Christian Wohrl has also translated this document into German.
24 Christian W\"ohrl [has also submitted a translation of this text into
25 German](
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27 * * *
29 Introducer:
31 Anyway, I believe I've killed enough time ... so, ladies and gentlemen, a
32 person who in this crowd needs absolutely no introduction, Cory Doctorow!
34 [Audience applauds.]
36 Doctorow:
38 [[27.0]] Thank you.
40 [[32.0]] So, when I speak in places where the first language of the nation is
41 not English, there is a disclaimer and an apology, because I'm one of
42 nature's fast talkers. When I was at the United Nations at the World
43 Intellectual Property Organization, I was known as the "scourge" of the
44 simultaneous translation corps; I would stand up and speak, and turn around,
45 and there would be window after window of translator, and every one of them
46 would be doing this [Doctorow facepalms]. [Audience laughs] So in advance,
47 I give you permission when I start talking quickly to do this [Doctorow
48 makes SOS motion] and I will slow down.
50 [[74.1]] So, tonight's talk -- wah, wah, waaah [Doctorow makes 'fail horn'
51 sound, apparently in response to audience making SOS motion; audience
52 laughs]] -- tonight's talk is not a copyright talk. I do copyright talks
53 all the time; questions about culture and creativity are interesting enough,
54 but to be honest, I'm quite sick of them. If you want to hear freelancer
55 writers like me bang on about what's happening to the way we earn our
56 living, by all means, go and find one of the many talks I've done on this
57 subject on YouTube. But, tonight, I want to talk about something more
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58 important -- I want to talk about general purpose computers.
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60 Because general purpose computers are, in fact, astounding -- so astounding
61 that our society is still struggling to come to grips with them: to figure
62 out what they're for, to figure out how to accommodate them, and how to cope
63 with them. Which, unfortunately, brings me back to copyright.
65 [[133.8]] Because the general shape of the copyright wars and the lessons
66 they can teach us about the upcoming fights over the destiny of the general
67 purpose computer are important. In the beginning, we had packaged software,
68 and the attendant industry, and we had sneakernet. So, we had floppy disks
69 in ziplock bags, or in cardboard boxes, hung on pegs in shops, and sold like
70 candy bars and magazines. And they were eminently susceptible to
71 duplication, and so they were duplicated quickly, and widely, and this was
72 to the great chagrin of people who made and sold software.
74 [[172.6]] Enter DRM 0.96. They started to introduce physical defects to the
75 disks or started to insist on other physical indicia which the software
76 could check for -- dongles, hidden sectors, challenge/response protocols
77 that required that you had physical possession of large, unwieldy manuals
78 that were difficult to copy, and of course these failed, for two reasons.
79 First, they were commercially unpopular, of course, because they reduced the
80 usefulness of the software to the legitimate purchasers, while leaving the
81 people who took the software without paying for it untouched. The
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82 legitimate purchasers resented the non-functionality of their backups, they
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83 hated the loss of scarce ports to the authentication dongles, and they
84 resented the inconvenience of having to transport large manuals when they
85 wanted to run their software. And second, these didn't stop pirates, who
86 found it trivial to patch the software and bypass authentication.
87 Typically, the way that happened is some expert who had possession of
88 technology and expertise of equivalent sophistication to the software vendor
89 itself, would reverse engineer the software and release cracked versions
90 that quickly became widely circulated. While this kind of expertise and
91 technology sounded highly specialized, it really wasn't; figuring out what
92 recalcitrant programs were doing, and routing around the defects in shitty
93 floppy disk media were both core skills for computer programmers, and were
94 even more so in the era of fragile floppy disks and the rough-and-ready
95 early days of software development. Anti-copying strategies only became
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96 more fraught as networks spread; once we had BBSes, online services, USENET
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97 newsgroups, and mailing lists, the expertise of people who figured out how
98 to defeat these authentication systems could be packaged up in software as
99 little crack files, or, as the network capacity increased, the cracked disk
100 images or executables themselves could be spread on their own.
102 [[296.4]] Which gave us DRM 1.0. By 1996, it became clear to everyone in
103 the halls of power that there was something important about to happen. We
104 were about to have an information economy, whatever the hell that was. They
105 assumed it meant an economy where we bought and sold information. Now,
106 information technology makes things efficient, so imagine the markets that
107 an information economy would have. You could buy a book for a day, you
108 could sell the right to watch the movie for one Euro, and then you could
109 rent out the pause button at one penny per second. You could sell movies
110 for one price in one country, and another price in another, and so on, and
111 so on; the fantasies of those days were a little like a boring science
112 fiction adaptation of the Old Testament book of Numbers, a kind of tedious
113 enumeration of every permutation of things people do with information and
114 the ways we could charge them for it.
116 [[355.5]] But none of this would be possible unless we could control how
117 people use their computers and the files we transfer to them. After all, it
118 was well and good to talk about selling someone the 24 hour right to a
119 video, or the right to move music onto an iPod, but not the right to move
120 music from the iPod onto another device, but how the Hell could you do that
121 once you'd given them the file? In order to do that, to make this work, you
122 needed to figure out how to stop computers from running certain programs and
123 inspecting certain files and processes. For example, you could encrypt the
124 file, and then require the user to run a program that only unlocked the file
125 under certain circumstances.
127 [[395.8]] But as they say on the Internet, "now you have two problems". You
128 also, now, have to stop the user from saving the file while it's in the
129 clear, and you have to stop the user from figuring out where the unlocking
130 program stores its keys, because if the user finds the keys, she'll just
131 decrypt the file and throw away that stupid player app.
133 [[416.6]] And now you have three problems [audience laughs], because now you
134 have to stop the users who figure out how to render the file in the clear
135 from sharing it with other users, and now you've got *four!* problems,
136 because now you have to stop the users who figure out how to extract secrets
137 from unlocking programs from telling other users how to do it too, and now
138 you've got *five!* problems, because now you have to stop users who figure
139 out how to extract secrets from unlocking programs from telling other users
140 what the secrets were!
142 [[442.0]] That's a lot of problems. But by 1996, we had a solution. We had
143 the WIPO Copyright Treaty, passed by the United Nations World Intellectual
144 Property Organization, which created laws that made it illegal to extract
145 secrets from unlocking programs, and it created laws that made it illegal to
146 extract media cleartexts from the unlocking programs while they were
147 running, and it created laws that made it illegal to tell people how to
148 extract secrets from unlocking programs, and created laws that made it
149 illegal to host copyrighted works and secrets and all with a handy
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150 streamlined process that let you remove stuff from the Internet without
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151 having to screw around with lawyers, and judges, and all that crap. And
152 with that, illegal copying ended forever [audience laughs very hard,
153 applauds], the information economy blossomed into a beautiful flower that
154 brought prosperity to the whole wide world; as they say on the aircraft
155 carriers, "Mission Accomplished". [audience laughs]
157 [[511.0]] Well, of course that's not how the story ends because pretty much
158 anyone who understood computers and networks understood that while these
159 laws would create more problems than they could possibly solve; after all,
160 these were laws that made it illegal to look inside your computer when it
161 was running certain programs, they made it illegal to tell people what you
162 found when you looked inside your computer, they made it easy to censor
163 material on the internet without having to prove that anything wrong had
164 happened; in short, they made unrealistic demands on reality and reality did
165 not oblige them. After all, copying only got easier following the passage
166 of these laws -- copying will only ever get easier! Here, 2011, this is as
167 hard as copying will get! Your grandchildren will turn to you around the
168 Christmas table and say "Tell me again, Grandpa, tell me again, Grandma,
169 about when it was hard to copy things in 2011, when you couldn't get a drive
170 the size of your fingernail that could hold every song ever recorded, every
171 movie ever made, every word ever spoken, every picture ever taken,
172 everything, and transfer it in such a short period of time you didn't even
173 notice it was doing it, tell us again when it was so stupidly hard to copy
174 things back in 2011". And so, reality asserted itself, and everyone had a
175 good laugh over how funny our misconceptions were when we entered the 21st
176 century, and then a lasting peace was reached with freedom and prosperity
177 for all. [audience chuckles]
179 [[593.5]] Well, not really. Because, like the nursery rhyme lady who
180 swallows a spider to catch a fly, and has to swallow a bird to catch the
181 spider, and a cat to catch the bird, and so on, so must a regulation that
182 has broad general appeal but is disastrous in its implementation beget a new
183 regulation aimed at shoring up the failure of the old one. Now, it's
184 tempting to stop the story here and conclude that the problem is that
185 lawmakers are either clueless or evil, or possibly evilly clueless, and just
186 leave it there, which is not a very satisfying place to go, because it's
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187 fundamentally a counsel of despair; it suggests that our problems cannot be
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188 solved for so long as stupidity and evilness are present in the halls of
e656064 @elmccarthy Corrected "halls of problem" to "halls of power". Maybe "halls of progr...
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189 power, which is to say they will never be solved. But I have another
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190 theory about what's happened.
192 [[644.4]] It's not that regulators don't understand information technology,
193 because it should be possible to be a non-expert and still make a good law!
194 M.P.s and Congressmen and so on are elected to represent districts and
195 people, not disciplines and issues. We don't have a Member of Parliament
196 for biochemistry, and we don't have a Senator from the great state of urban
197 planning, and we don't have an M.E.P. from child welfare. (But perhaps we
198 should.) And yet those people who are experts in policy and politics, not
199 technical disciplines, nevertheless, often do manage to pass good rules that
200 make sense, and that's because government relies on heuristics -- rules of
201 thumbs about how to balance expert input from different sides of an issue.
203 [[686.3]] But information technology confounds these heuristics -- it kicks
204 the crap out of them -- in one important way, and this is it. One important
205 test of whether or not a regulation is fit for a purpose is first, of
206 course, whether it will work, but second of all, whether or not in the
207 course of doing its work, it will have lots of effects on everything else.
208 If I wanted Congress to write, or Parliament to write, or the E.U. to
209 regulate a wheel, it's unlikely I'd succeed. If I turned up and said "well,
210 everyone knows that wheels are good and right, but have you noticed that
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211 every single bank robber has four wheels on his car when he drives away from
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212 the bank robbery? Can't we do something about this?", the answer would of
213 course be "no". Because we don't know how to make a wheel that is still
214 generally useful for legitimate wheel applications but useless to bad guys.
215 And we can all see that the general benefits of wheels are so profound that
216 we'd be foolish to risk them in a foolish errand to stop bank robberies by
217 changing wheels. Even if there were an /epidemic/ of bank robberies, even
218 if society were on the verge of collapse thanks to bank robberies, no-one
219 would think that wheels were the right place to start solving our problems.
d26c17c @jwise Fix missing square bracket.
221 [[762.0]] But. If I were to show up in that same body to say that I had
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222 absolute proof that hands-free phones were making cars dangerous, and I
223 said, "I would like you to pass a law that says it's illegal to put a
224 hands-free phone in a car", the regulator might say "Yeah, I'd take your
225 point, we'd do that". And we might disagree about whether or not this is a
226 good idea, or whether or not my evidence made sense, but very few of us
227 would say "well, once you take the hands-free phones out of the car, they
228 stop being cars". We understand that we can keep cars cars even if we
229 remove features from them. Cars are special purpose, at least in comparison
230 to wheels, and all that the addition of a hands-free phone does is add one
231 more feature to an already-specialized technology. In fact, there's that
232 heuristic that we can apply here -- special-purpose technologies are
233 complex. And you can remove features from them without doing fundamental
234 disfiguring violence to their underlying utility.
236 [[816.5]] This rule of thumb serves regulators well, by and large, but it is
237 rendered null and void by the general-purpose computer and the
238 general-purpose network -- the PC and the Internet. Because if you think of
239 computer software as a feature, that is a computer with spreadsheets running
240 on it has a spreadsheet feature, and one that's running World of Warcraft
241 has an MMORPG feature, then this heuristic leads you to think that you could
242 reasonably say, "make me a computer that doesn't run spreadsheets", and that
243 it would be no more of an attack on computing than "make me a car without a
244 hands-free phone" is an attack on cars. And if you think of protocols and
245 sites as features of the network, then saying "fix the Internet so that it
246 doesn't run BitTorrent", or "fix the Internet so that no
247 longer resolves", then it sounds a lot like "change the sound of busy
248 signals", or "take that pizzeria on the corner off the phone network", and
249 not like an attack on the fundamental principles of internetworking.
251 [[870.5]] Not realizing that this rule of thumb that works for cars and for
252 houses and for every other substantial area of technological regulation
253 fails for the Internet does not make you evil and it does not make you an
254 ignoramus. It just makes you part of that vast majority of the world for
255 whom ideas like "Turing complete" and "end-to-end" are meaningless. So, our
256 regulators go off, and they blithely pass these laws, and they become part
257 of the reality of our technological world. There are suddenly numbers that
258 we aren't allowed to write down on the Internet, programs we're not allowed
259 to publish, and all it takes to make legitimate material disappear from the
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260 Internet is to say "that? That infringes copyright." It fails to attain
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261 the actual goal of the regulation; it doesn't stop people from violating
2f8455f @jwise Typo correction, per David Tallan. Thanks!
262 copyright, but it bears a kind of superficial resemblance to copyright
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263 enforcement -- it satisfies the security syllogism: "something must be done,
264 I am doing something, something has been done." And thus any failures that
265 arise can be blamed on the idea that the regulation doesn't go far enough,
266 rather than the idea that it was flawed from the outset.
268 [[931.2]] This kind of superficial resemblance and underlying divergence
269 happens in other engineering contexts. I've a friend who was once a senior
270 executive at a big consumer packaged goods company who told me about what
271 happened when the marketing department told the engineers that they'd
272 thought up a great idea for detergent: from now on, they were going to make
273 detergent that made your clothes newer every time you washed them! Well
274 after the engineers had tried unsuccessfully to convey the concept of
275 "entropy" to the marketing department [audience laughs], they arrived at
276 another solution -- "solution" -- they'd develop a detergent that used
277 enzymes that attacked loose fiber ends, the kind that you get with broken
278 fibers that make your clothes look old. So every time you washed your
279 clothes in the detergent, they would look newer. But that was because the
280 detergent was literally digesting your clothes! Using it would literally
281 cause your clothes to dissolve in the washing machine! This was the
282 opposite of making clothes newer; instead, you were artificially aging your
283 clothes every time you washed them, and as the user, the more you deployed
284 the "solution", the more drastic your measures had to be to keep your
285 clothes up to date -- you actually had to go buy new clothes because the old
286 ones fell apart.
288 [[1012.5]] So today we have marketing departments who say things like "we
289 don't need computers, we need... appliances. Make me a computer that
290 doesn't run every program, just a program that does this specialized task,
291 like streaming audio, or routing packets, or playing Xbox games, and make
292 sure it doesn't run programs that I haven't authorized that might undermine
293 our profits". And on the surface, this seems like a reasonable idea -- just
294 a program that does one specialized task -- after all, we can put an
295 electric motor in a blender, and we can install a motor in a dishwasher, and
296 we don't worry if it's still possible to run a dishwashing program in a
297 blender. But that's not what we do when we turn a computer into an
298 appliance. We're not making a computer that runs only the "appliance" app;
299 we're making a computer that can run every program, but which uses some
300 combination of rootkits, spyware, and code-signing to prevent the user from
301 knowing which processes are running, from installing her own software, and
302 from terminating processes that she doesn't want. In other words, an
303 appliance is not a stripped-down computer -- it is a fully functional
304 computer with spyware on it out of the box.
306 [audience applauds loudly] Thanks.
308 [[1090.5]] Because we don't know how to build the general purpose computer
309 that is capable of running any program we can compile except for some
310 program that we don't like, or that we prohibit by law, or that loses us
311 money. The closest approximation that we have to this is a computer with
312 spyware -- a computer on which remote parties set policies without the
313 computer user's knowledge, over the objection of the computer's owner. And
314 so it is that digital rights management always converges on malware.
316 [[1118.9]] There was, of course, this famous incident, a kind of gift to
317 people who have this hypothesis, in which Sony loaded covert rootkit
318 installers on 6 million audio CDs, which secretly executed programs that
319 watched for attempts to read the sound files on CDs, and terminated them,
320 and which also hid the rootkit's existence by causing the kernel to lie
321 about which processes were running, and which files were present on the
322 drive. But it's not the only example; just recently, Nintendo shipped the
323 3DS, which opportunistically updates its firmware, and does an integrity
324 check to make sure that you haven't altered the old firmware in any way, and
325 if it detects signs of tampering, it bricks itself.
327 [[1158.8]] Human rights activists have raised alarms over U-EFI, the new PC
328 bootloader, which restricts your computer so it runs signed operating
329 systems, noting that repressive governments will likely withhold signatures
330 from OSes unless they have covert surveillance operations.
332 [[1175.5]] And on the network side, attempts to make a network that can't be
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333 used for copyright infringement always converges with the surveillance and control
334 measures that we know from repressive governments. So, SOPA, the American U.S. Stop
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335 Online Piracy Act, bans tools like DNSSec because they can be used to defeat
db36500 @Steve-V Several small corrections and one missing clause.
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336 DNS blocking measures. And it bans tools like Tor, because they can be
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337 used to circumvent IP blocking measures. In fact, the proponents of SOPA,
338 the Motion Picture Association of America, circulated a memo, citing
339 research that SOPA would probably work, because it uses the same measures as
340 are used in Syria, China, and Uzbekistan, and they argued that these
341 measures are effective in those countries, and so they would work in
342 America, too!
344 [audience laughs and applauds] Don't applaud me, applaud the MPAA!
346 [[1221.5]] Now, it may seem like SOPA is the end game in a long fight over
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347 copyright, and the Internet, and it may seem like if we defeat SOPA, we'll
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348 be well on our way to securing the freedom of PCs and networks. But as I
349 said at the beginning of this talk, this isn't about copyright, because the
350 copyright wars are just the 0.9 beta version of the long coming war on
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351 computation. The entertainment industry were just the first belligerents in
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352 this coming century-long conflict. We tend to think of them as particularly
353 successful -- after all, here is SOPA, trembling on the verge of passage,
354 and breaking the internet on this fundamental level in the name of
355 preserving Top 40 music, reality TV shows, and Ashton Kutcher movies!
356 [laughs, scattered applause]
358 [[1270.2]] But the reality is, copyright legislation gets as far as it does
359 precisely because it's not taken seriously, which is why on one hand, Canada
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Steve-V authored
360 has had Parliament after Parliament introduce one stupid copyright law
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361 after another, but on the other hand, Parliament after Parliament has failed
362 to actually vote on the bill. It's why we got SOPA, a bill composed of pure
363 stupid, pieced together molecule-by-molecule, into a kind of "Stupidite
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Steve-V authored
364 250", that is normally only found in the heart of a newborn star, and it's
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365 why these rushed-through SOPA hearings had to be adjourned midway through
366 the Christmas break, so that lawmakers could get into a real vicious
367 nationally-infamous debate over an important issue, unemployment insurance.
368 It's why the World Intellectual Property Organization is gulled time and again
369 into enacting crazed, pig-ignorant copyright proposals because when the
370 nations of the world send their U.N. missions to Geneva, they send water
371 experts, not copyright experts; they send health experts, not copyright
372 experts; they send agriculture experts, not copyright experts, because
373 copyright is just not important to pretty much everyone! [applause]
375 [[1350.3]] Canada's Parliament didn't vote on its copyright bills because,
376 of all the things that Canada needs to do, fixing copyright ranks well below
1ac8228 @peterkaminski Small tweak at 1350.3, adding "resolving" and "a" to the first sentence ...
peterkaminski authored
377 resolving health emergencies on First Nations reservations, exploiting the oil patch
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378 in Alberta, interceding in sectarian resentments among French- and
379 English-speakers, solving resources crises in the nation's fisheries, and
1ac8228 @peterkaminski Small tweak at 1350.3, adding "resolving" and "a" to the first sentence ...
peterkaminski authored
380 a thousand other issues! The triviality of copyright tells you that when
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381 other sectors of the economy start to evince concerns about the Internet and
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382 the PC, that copyright will be revealed for a minor skirmish, and not a war.
383 Why would other sectors nurse grudges against computers? Well, because the
384 world we live in today is /made/ of computers. We don't have cars anymore,
385 we have computers we ride in; we don't have airplanes anymore, we have
386 flying Solaris boxes with a big bucketful of SCADA controllers [laughter]; a
387 3D printer is not a device, it's a peripheral, and it only works connected
388 to a computer; a radio is no longer a crystal, it's a general-purpose
389 computer with a fast ADC and a fast DAC and some software.
391 [[1418.9]] The grievances that arose from unauthorized copying are trivial,
392 when compared to the calls for action that our new computer-embroidered
393 reality will create. Think of radio for a minute. The entire basis for
394 radio regulation up until today was based on the idea that the properties of
395 a radio are fixed at the time of manufacture, and can't be easily altered.
396 You can't just flip a switch on your baby monitor, and turn it into
397 something that interferes with air traffic control signals. But powerful
398 software-defined radios can change from baby monitor to emergency services
399 dispatcher to air traffic controller just by loading and executing different
400 software, which is why the first time the American telecoms regulator (the
401 FCC) considered what would happen when we put SDRs in the field, they asked
402 for comment on whether it should mandate that all software-defined radios
403 should be embedded in trusted computing machines. Ultimately, whether every
404 PC should be locked, so that the programs they run are strictly regulated by
405 central authorities.
407 [[1477.9]] And even this is a shadow of what is to come. After all, this
408 was the year in which we saw the debut of open sourced shape files for
409 converting AR-15s to full automatic. This was the year of crowd-funded
410 open-sourced hardware for gene sequencing. And while 3D printing will give
411 rise to plenty of trivial complaints, there will be judges in the American
412 South and Mullahs in Iran who will lose their *minds* over people in their
413 jurisdiction printing out sex toys. [guffaw from audience] The trajectory
414 of 3D printing will most certainly raise real grievances, from solid state
415 meth labs, to ceramic knives.
417 [[1516.0]] And it doesn't take a science fiction writer to understand why
418 regulators might be nervous about the user-modifiable firmware on
419 self-driving cars, or limiting interoperability for aviation controllers, or
420 the kind of thing you could do with bio-scale assemblers and sequencers.
421 Imagine what will happen the day that Monsanto determines that it's
422 really... *really*... important to make sure that computers can't execute
423 programs that cause specialized peripherals to output organisms that eat
424 their lunch... literally. Regardless of whether you think these are real
425 problems or merely hysterical fears, they are nevertheless the province of
426 lobbies and interest groups that are far more influential than Hollywood and
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Steve-V authored
427 big content are on their best day, and every one of them will arrive at the
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428 same place -- "can't you just make us a general purpose computer that runs
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Steve-V authored
429 all the programs, except for the ones that scare and anger us? Can't you just
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430 make us an Internet that transmits any message over any protocol between any
431 two points, unless it upsets us?"
433 [[1576.3]] And personally, I can see that there will be programs that run on
434 general purpose computers and peripherals that will even freak me out. So I
435 can believe that people who advocate for limiting general purpose computers
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Steve-V authored
436 will find receptive audiences for their positions. But just as we saw with
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437 the copyright wars, banning certain instructions, or protocols, or messages,
438 will be wholly ineffective as a means of prevention and remedy; and as we
439 saw in the copyright wars, all attempts at controlling PCs will converge on
440 rootkits; all attempts at controlling the Internet will converge on
441 surveillance and censorship, which is why all this stuff matters. Because
442 we've spent the last 10+ years as a body sending our best players out to
443 fight what we thought was the final boss at the end of the game, but it
444 turns out it's just been the mini-boss at the end of the level, and the
445 stakes are only going to get higher.
447 [[1627.8]] As a member of the Walkman generation, I have made peace with the
448 fact that I will require a hearing aid long before I die, and of course, it
449 won't be a hearing aid, it will be a computer I put in my body. So when I
450 get into a car -- a computer I put my body into -- with my hearing aid -- a
451 computer I put inside my body -- I want to know that these technologies are
452 not designed to keep secrets from me, and to prevent me from terminating
453 processes on them that work against my interests. [vigorous applause from
454 audience] Thank you.
456 [[1669.4]] Thank you. So, last year, the Lower Merion School District, in a
457 middle-class, affluent suburb of Philadelphia found itself in a great deal
458 of trouble, because it was caught distributing PCs to its students, equipped
459 with rootkits that allowed for remote covert surveillance through the
460 computer's camera and network connection. It transpired that they had been
461 photographing students thousands of times, at home and at school, awake and
462 asleep, dressed and naked. Meanwhile, the latest generation of lawful
463 intercept technology can covertly operate cameras, mics, and GPSes on PCs,
464 tablets, and mobile devices.
466 [[1705.0]] Freedom in the future will require us to have the capacity to
467 monitor our devices and set meaningful policy on them, to examine and
468 terminate the processes that run on them, to maintain them as honest
469 servants to our will, and not as traitors and spies working for criminals,
470 thugs, and control freaks. And we haven't lost yet, but we have to win the
471 copyright wars to keep the Internet and the PC free and open. Because these
a87393c @jwise Revert "changed e to a in word material line 472"
472 are the materiel in the wars that are to come, we won't be able to fight on
549e965 @gwern dupes; caps; sp
gwern authored
473 without them. And I know this sounds like a counsel of despair, but as I
1931c82 @jwise Initial import.
474 said, these are early days. We have been fighting the mini-boss, and that
db36500 @Steve-V Several small corrections and one missing clause.
Steve-V authored
475 means great challenges are yet to come, but like all good level
476 designers, fate has sent us a soft target to train ourselves on -- we have a chance,
477 a real chance, and if we support open and free systems and the
c24753a @jwise Add CCC in, too, since apparently Cory said that.
478 organizations that fight for them -- EFF, Bits of Freedom, EDRi, CCC,
479 Netzpolitik, La Quadrature du Net, and all the others, who are thankfully,
480 too numerous to name here -- we may yet win the battle, and secure the
481 ammunition we'll need for the war.
1931c82 @jwise Initial import.
483 [[1778.9]] Thank you.
485 [sustained applause]
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