Wish for 2008

When you read the news from anti-virus companies and security advisors you get convinced that 90% of the software you find on the net is malware, and the last 10% have so many security issues that it turns out the same thing. At the same time a life seems to be worth less than the copyright interests of media companies.

I don’t know if you have noticed, but I feel that the whole world has been overrun by solutions and programs that want to harvest personal information about me. The products that don’t ask for the information grab it anyway.

Trusted computing is a much debated architecture, maybe rightfully so. That kind of architecture might limit the spreading of free/open source software. Microsoft has proven that they can offer this trough their HD-Video support. There they have signed code in all layers, and only approved hardware devices are allowed in the pipe from storage media to screen. I am not saying that it is impossible to bypass this pipe in some way, but the threshold to perform such a hack has been raised a fair bit.

So, when you consider the stack of components needed to display HD-Video, what do you need to have the same security/quality for our computers? Especially when you are connected to the Internet?

The question then is if we maybe should take a look at this “cursed” subject again. Financing solutions in order to secure that open source software can be verified and approved might become a reality. There is one thing that we have learned so far. It is impossible to count all evil. You cannot permit the execution of all software except the bad ones listed in a list. Such a list will never be complete. But you can allow all enumerated good software and block the execution of all other code. Anti-virus software tries to perform this enumeration on our behalf, but still they do not know everything and ask the users what to do when in doubt. When they do, the s**t hits the fan. Users do not know what to do. They do not realize the consequences of their choices.

Again, the driver is the money. It is somewhat of a symptom of the state of the world that it’s more important for Microsoft that a video is not copied than to secure the personal information of a user. If somebody steals all our personal details, all our money from our bank accounts and our identity, that is not as important for Microsoft as a video unlawfully duplicated and distributed.

So what is my wish for 2008?

My wish is that our lives and our identities will become more important to protect on the net than the economic interests of a few.

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