This article is disturbing. I suggest that anyone with a concern about technological privacy read it. Whilst I knew that the DRM features (or, perhaps, in a delicious reversal of the programming joke, these are really bugs) were going to be fairly strong and include nasty hardware-based measures — like ensuring your TV is kosher for watching a film on (hint: it probably isn’t), that is, you don’t have a line out to a recording device hooked up — I hadn’t realized quite the problems this will create for the hardware industry.
The DRM train-wreck is moving up a level of carnage, from treating only DRM “protected” content buyers as criminals to treating anyone who purchases a PC as some copyright and artist hating maniac who spends all their time copying DVDs and selling them on eBay. Whilst many of the features in Vista look nice — the new GUI and search (catch-up) functions and security overhaul especially —, the DRM features actually scare me in many ways. The power given to external entities for controlling and monitoring your computer is rather disturbing in the least.
In many ways the DRM debate mirrors the wider civil liberties debate happening in the wider world. Some notion of “protection” is bandied about to justify some fairly gross intrusions of individual privacy. In the case of DRM, which offers nothing for the consumer but an irritation, the way that this invasion of privacy exists only to further the cause of big business makes it absolutely unjustifiable.
It is a great shame that the content industry is causing so much money to be wasted on such a grand screw up of a technology, one where everyone seems to be a loser. The consumer is treated like a criminal, the technology industry is being forced to spend a huge amount of money on protection schemes that don’t even work and the content industry is losing plenty of money from people being unwilling to buy DRM shackled content. In the future, will people look back and wonder what the hell was going on?