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UK Government Pushing For 'Trusted Computing' 291

Motor writes "As has long been expected — we are now beginning to see governments pushing for the use of so-called 'trusted computing' — chips installed in all computers that effectively remove control of the PC from its owner. While there may be security advantages to some of the ideas, few can doubt that it represents a fundamental shift in the IT world. A radical move away from an open technology landscape and towards a system that denies all access unless you have the right credentials. Governments will demand the right credentials to access their services — meaning approved software stacks (i.e Windows) with the right digital signatures. Vernor Vinge had it right ."
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UK Government Pushing For 'Trusted Computing'

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  • by craigc05 ( 2377254 ) on Sunday October 23, 2011 @01:03PM (#37810308)
  • RTFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 23, 2011 @01:22PM (#37810422)

    The article quite clearly states that the government wants *its own* computers to have TPM installed, it doesn't mention anything about home users.

  • Not for you (Score:5, Informative)

    by EdZ ( 755139 ) on Sunday October 23, 2011 @01:25PM (#37810454)
    This sounds less like requiring a TPM for access to, say, the jobcentreplus website (i.e. requiring TPM for the general public) and more an attempt to stem the tide of embarrassing governmental data breaches, i.e. requiring new government and MOD hardware to be a bit less rubbish in terms of data security. Requiring new hardware to access government services for eh general public won't happen, simply because there'd need to be a way to grandfather in all the non-protected devices in public libraries, distributed through government programs, etc.
  • by kermidge ( 2221646 ) on Sunday October 23, 2011 @06:01PM (#37812388) Journal

    Thanks for the link.

    Okay, I read. I followed the included link http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/tcpa-faq.html [cam.ac.uk] and read it, then spent another couple of hours reading more from a few of the links included in that article. At first blush there is some seriously horrifying stuff going on, much of it masquerading under the simplified banner of "think of the children"-style of emotional appeal but whose ultimate goal, and real appeal to the powers that be, is ultimately profit and control. Then it gets worse, IMO.

    To me the warning of the dictum latterly attributed to Lord Acton (?) of "Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely." applies. [I suspect that that thought precedes written language.] If the power exists, it will be used - similar to yet farther reaching than "The 400" effectively control the US economy concomitant with its realpolitik. (I came across an article yesterday about researchers using systems analysis to determine that 1381 multi-nationals effectively controlled the planet's economy, all sans benefit of conspiracy but rather merely efficiency, but cannot find the link just now - science 2.0, perhaps; it was interesting reading, and it doesn't require a tin-foil hat to accord it some credence.)

    So, if I have this a-rightly: TC does not, or will not, eventually, require more than a CPU and, at root, certain few government keys. It will be independent of OS, BIOS or UEFI, separate on-board chip, application code, what have you. Non-TC CPUs will be isolated to unconnected hobbyists; there will be no Internet functionality independent of approved TC CPUs. By extension, it will not even be possible to have private electronic-based communication amongst "ourselves" using PGP and such, because non-TC comms will not make it through any of various Internet intermediaries. And I suggest not counting on darknet.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trusted_Computing_Group [wikipedia.org] gives a quick look at the initial industry players.

    At the moment, so far as I know, volume production of chips is not a trivial or easily hidden activity; further, absent genuine keys or imaginary effective counterfeits, independent and free electronic interaction will not be possible. If you think that's a gloomy overthink, it was worse before I read the comics section.

    What with proprietary formats and such, DRM, DMCA, etc. - tip of the iceberg and all that - I see this as a snowball rolling down an endless slope such that the only hope is that "the" singularity when it may happen might prove a more benign overlord or, perhaps, even companion of sorts. Meanwhile, let's continue to have fun. It's only cradle to grave, right?

    On the off-chance anyone got this far: sorry for the long post. I first read on some of this back in the early 90's, and found it to be sufficiently scary and depressing then after doing a bit of extrapolation.

    Any smart people with non-smart-ass ideas on how to deal with this? I'm a bit more than curious, even 'tho, at 64, it may not be personally relevant for long.

If you suspect a man, don't employ him.