Saturday, December 17, 2005

Provocative article from msnbc "let's see some ID please". Via Howard.
The chip he describes is real; the plans to more widely implement the chip are real, the rest of the article is FUD, Gates' trademarked brand of fear uncertainty and doubt.

He's saying they'll be selling computers that need a pin number number or a fingerprint scan each time they are started.
I'm going to go way out on a limb here and say these computers, the broken ones, will cost either more, less, or the same as regular computers.
Only an idiot would buy a broken computer for the same price as one that works.
Of course, catering to idiots can be a viable business model, see AOL.
Anonymity is one of the cornerstones that make the net possible - see e.g. Pataki v ALA, EFF of GA v Miller, Reno v ACLU. A computer terminal that lacks anonymity is not fully functional.
I remember the 90s when people were shelling out $2K for broken computers that didn't even have modems.
But it won't become a net standard, unless it has some advantage that overcomes the brokenness.
The technology may actually have useful applications - I mean useful to someone like John Gilmore who isn't about to waive their right to privacy. The article doesn't do a good job of letting us know where to look for such useful applications.
I assume this will go the way of the clipper chip - we've been here before.
I wonder if this has hit slashdot yet.
My niche in the internet world is that I litigate about anonymity, while other people work on the hardware and software. I've accomplished little so far, and they've done much, but I still feel it's the best use of my limited talents. Maybe I should have stuck with that economics tutorial software we were working on back in the 80s - that would have been important - but they'd hired me as a programmer instead of designer, and I've never hidden my inability to code my way out of a wet paper bag. I'm not a great lawyer, or even a good lawyer, but I'm better at than most engineers, and there's work to be done. I'll keep doing it, and maybe someday make it pay, by colecting legal fees or finding a paying client.
http://www.windley.com has some thoughts - scroll down.

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