Posted in Technology by epictetus on February 7th, 2006

Arstechnica has an interesting story on cable cards.  I particularly liked this quote:

In any case, get ready for the brave new world of total end-to-end encryption, which is just about here. You have to give the content providers credit for ingenuity, whatever you think of their plans. With the next generation of digital media products (including Blu-ray, HD DVD, and CableCARDs), the content and consumer electronics industries have joined forces to push mandatory encryption standards. They haven’t done it through legislation, but through licensing—much as the consortium behind the DVD forced manufacturers to follow region encoding rules if they wanted a license to make the players. 

They are trying to design the technology of the television network and DVDs in such a way that it will lock out any do-it-yourselfers, innovators, or any other potential threats to the monopolies of the large media companies that might be posed by any pesky innovation.  I’d like to throw out a Luddite analogy: imagine if the original Luddites had been able to design and universally institute a new type of wool that it was not possible to feed through a steam-powered loom.  We might never have had an industrial revolution.

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