Homeland Security gives Sony the slapdown on DRM

Hopefully this will be my last post about the Sony DRM rootkit stuff. Sony has announced that they are stopping production of all CDs with the rootkit DRM software, at least temporarily. This decision could be related to the slapdown they received by the Department of Homeland Security. Stewart Baker, the DHS’s assistant secretary for policy said the following at an event on combating intellectual-property theft.

“I wanted to raise one point of caution as we go forward, because we are also responsible for maintaining the security of the information infrastructure of the United States and making sure peoples’ [and] businesses’ computers are secure. … There’s been a lot of publicity recently about tactics used in pursuing protection for music and DVD CDs in which questions have been raised about whether the protection measures install hidden files on peoples’ computers that even the system administrators can’t find.

It’s very important to remember that it’s your intellectual property — it’s not your computer. And in the pursuit of protection of intellectual property, it’s important not to defeat or undermine the security measures that people need to adopt in these days.”

Quotes from Sony execs have sounded very non-apologetic, and it is obvious they don’t really see what they did as wrong. They are stopping production because of bad publicity, and industry and political pressure, not because they understand that their actions are morally wrong. The end result of this, which is obviously the opposite of what Sony and other media companies want, is that myself and other consumers will never feel safe putting a purchased music CD in our computers, and as such we will be forced to obtain our music from other sources.

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