01 August 2005

"Trustworthy computing" will not be in Longhorn/Vista

In what is a reprieve for computing in the developing world, Microsoft announced at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference that the Next Generation Secure Computing Base (aka TC) will not be part of the next release of Windows, currently scheduled for release next year.

Although I've previously focused on the effects of these initiatives on the developing world, I'd like to explicitly say this: TC is an attempt on the part of Microsoft and its partners to wrest control of your computer and the software on it away from you, the owner, and put it squarely under Microsoft and other software publishers and content providers. You will only be able to do what those companies suffer you to do, and they will be able to stop you from doing anything at all at their whim. If you install software they don't approve of, they can stop your computer from functioning until you remove that software.

It's a terrible idea to give a company that much control over something as important as computing. At the very least, it's an enormous national security problem. A hacker who managed to compromise this system could disable every TC computer in a country he was unhappy with. This alone is unacceptable.

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