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Digital Manners Policies

Digital Manners Policies
Arts & Culture
Dan Gould
  • 26 june 2008

Security expert Bruce Schneier has some eye opening insights into the future of DMP – kind of a next generation DRM. DMP or digital manners policies goes way beyond just preventing the copying of MP3’s. These are technologies designed to remotely control and turn off personal electronics and even automobiles. Schneier questions whether these measures are necessary, and wonders what the potential for abuse is.

It used to be that just the entertainment industries wanted to control your computers — and televisions and iPods and everything else — to ensure that you didn’t violate any copyright rules. But now everyone else wants to get their hooks into your gear.

OnStar will soon include the ability for the police to shut off your engine remotely. Buses are getting the same capability, in case terrorists want to re-enact the movie Speed. The Pentagon wants a kill switch installed on airplanes, and is worried about potential enemies installing kill switches on their own equipment.

Microsoft is doing some of the most creative thinking along these lines, with something it’s calling “Digital Manners Policies.” According to its patent application, DMP-enabled devices would accept broadcast “orders” limiting capabilities. Cellphones could be remotely set to vibrate mode in restaurants and concert halls, and be turned off on airplanes and in hospitals. Cameras could be prohibited from taking pictures in locker rooms and museums, and recording equipment could be disabled in theaters. Professors finally could prevent students from texting one another during class.

The possibilities are endless, and very dangerous.

Wired: “I’ve Seen the Future, and It Has a Kill Switch”

[via Boing Boing]

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