SAVE COMCAST!

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The World Wide Web Consortium, once the world's most trusted source of open standards, is helping Comcast make a DRM standard designed to give studios a veto over the legal use of their programming -- something that would have prevented the cable industry from ever coming into being. Read the rest

MIT panel on the W3C's decision to make DRM part of the Web's "open" standards

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The World Wide Web Consortium spent more than 20 years making standards that remove barriers to developers who want to make Web technology; now, for the first time, they're creating a standard that makes it a crime to make Web technology without permission from the entertainment industry. Read the rest

Save Netflix!

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Not this Netflix, but the next one, the one that'll make Netflix look like Blockbuster -- because if the World Wide Web Consortium goes along with its plan to make it illegal to innovate in ways that the movie studios and record labels disapprove of, there will be no more companies like Netflix. Read the rest

How DRM would kill the next Netflix (and how the W3C could save it)

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The World Wide Web Consortium's decision to make DRM part of HTML5 doesn't just endanger security researchers, it also endangers the next version of all the video products and services we rely on today: from cable TV to iTunes to Netflix. Read the rest

Security researchers: help EFF keep the Web safe for browser research!

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With the Electronic Frontier Foundation, I've been lobbying the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which sets the open standards that the Web runs on, to take measures to protect security researchers (and the users they help) from their own bad decision to standarize Digital Rights Management as part of HTML5. Read the rest

Vulnerability in recorders used by 70+ manufacturers' CCTV systems has been known since 2014

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Back in 2014, RSA published a report documenting a new tactic by criminal gangs: they were hacking into the digital video recorders that stored the feeds from security cameras to gather intelligence on their targets prior to committing their robberies. Read the rest

Anti-DRM demonstrators picket W3C meeting

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The World Wide Web Consortium, the decades old champion of the open Web, let down many of its biggest supporters when it decided to cater to Hollywood by standardizing DRM as part of the spec for HTML5. Read the rest

Joi Ito on DRM, the World Wide Web Consortium, Net Neutrality and other tech policy

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Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab and former CEO of Creative Commons, founder of the first ISP in Japan, has penned an outstanding editorial describing the ways in which narrow corporate interests and legislative capture produce bad tech policies that threaten the net. Read the rest

Open Source Initiative says standards aren't open unless they protect security researchers and interoperability

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The Open Source Initiative, a nonprofit that certifies open source licenses, has made an important policy statement about open standards. Read the rest

Will the W3C strike a bargain to save the Web from DRM?

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The World Wide Web Consortium, which makes the standards the Web runs on, continues to pursue work on DRM -- technology that you can't connect to without explicit permission, and whose bugs can't be reported without legal jeopardy lest you weaken it. Read the rest

Youtube ditches Flash, but it hardly matters

A year ago, the news that the world's biggest video site was abandoning proprietary software would have been incredible, but thanks to the World Wide Web Consortium's Netflix-driven DRM work, this changes very little. Read the rest

W3C hosting a "Web We Want Magna Carta" drafting session at Internet Governance Forum

The Web I want doesn't have DRM in its standards, because the Web I want doesn't believe it's legitimate to design computers so that strangers over a network can give your computer orders that you aren't allowed to know about or override. Read the rest

How can you trust your browser?

Tim Bray's Trusting Browser Code explores the political and technical problems with trusting your browser, especially when you're using it to do sensitive things like encrypt and decrypt your email. In an ideal world, you wouldn't have to trust Google or any other "intermediary" service to resist warrants forcing it to turn over your sensitive communications, because it would be technically impossible for anyone to peek into the mail without your permission. But as Bray points out, the complexity and relative opacity of Javascript makes this kind of surety difficult to attain.

Bray misses a crucial political problem, though: the DMCA. Under US law (and similar laws all over the world), telling people about vulnerabilities in DRM is illegal, meaning that a bug in your browser that makes your email vulnerable to spying might be illegal to report, and will thus potentially never be fixed. Now that the World Wide Web Consortium and all the major browser vendors (even including Mozilla) have capitulated on adding DRM to the Web, this is the most significant political problem in the world of trusting your browser. Read the rest

Podcast: Firefox’s adoption of closed-source DRM breaks my heart

Here's a reading (MP3) of a my latest Guardian column, Firefox's adoption of closed-source DRM breaks my heart, a close analysis of the terrible news that Mozilla has opted to add closed source DRM to its flagship Firefox browser:

The decision to produce systems that treat internet users as untrusted adversaries to be controlled by their computers was clearly taken out of a sense of desperation and inevitability.

It’s clear that Mozilla plans to do everything it can to mitigate the harms from its DRM strategy and to attempt to reverse the trend that brought it to this pass.

Like many of Mozilla’s longtime supporters, I hold it to a high standard. It is not a for-profit. It’s a social enterprise with a mission to empower and free its users.

I understand that Apple, Microsoft and Google are for-profit entities that have demonstrated repeatedly that their profitability trumps their customers’ rights, and I fault them for this. But it’s not unreasonable to hold mission-driven nonprofits to a higher standard than their commercial counterparts.

Mozilla says it’s doing everything it can to reduce the harm from what it sees as an inevitable decision. As a Mozilla supporter, contributor and user, I want it to do more.

Mastering by John Taylor Williams: wryneckstudio@gmail.com

John Taylor Williams is a audiovisual and multimedia producer based in Washington, DC and the co-host of the Living Proof Brew Cast. Hear him wax poetic over a pint or two of beer by visiting livingproofbrewcast.com. In his free time he makes "Beer Jewelry" and "Odd Musical Furniture." He often "meditates while reading cookbooks."

MP3 Read the rest

Mozilla CAN change the industry: by adding DRM, they change it for the worse

Following on from yesterday's brutal, awful news that Mozilla is going to add DRM to its Firefox browser, the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Danny O'Brien has published an important editorial explaining how Mozilla's decision sets back the whole cause of fighting for a free and open Internet. Read the rest

Mozilla breaks our hearts, adds DRM to Firefox

For months, I've been following the story that the Mozilla project was set to add closed source Digital Rights Management technology to its free/open browser Firefox, and today they've made the announcement, which I've covered in depth for The Guardian. Mozilla made the decision out of fear that the organization would haemorrhage users and become irrelevant if it couldn't support Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Video, and other services that only work in browsers that treat their users as untrustable adversaries.

They've gone to great -- even unprecedented -- lengths to minimize the ways in which this DRM can attack Firefox users. But I think there's more that they can, and should, do. I also am skeptical of their claim that it was DRM or irrelevance, though I think they were sincere in making it. I think they hate that it's come to this and that no one there is happy about it.

I could not be more heartsick at this turn of events.

We need to turn the tide on DRM, because there is no place in post-Snowden, post-Heartbleed world for technology that tries to hide things from its owners. DRM has special protection under the law that makes it a crime to tell people if there are flaws in their DRM-locked systems -- so every DRM system is potentially a reservoir of long-lived vulnerabilities that can be exploited by identity thieves, spies, and voyeurs. Read the rest

Tim Berners-Lee calls for Web "Magna Carta" - does the "Web we want" have DRM in it?

The Web is 25 today, and its inventor, Tim Berners-Lee, has called for a "Magna Carta" for the Web, through which the people of the world will articulate how they want to curtail their governments' adversarial attacks on Internet freedom. Berners-Lee is particularly concerned with the Edward Snowden revelations about mass surveillance and systematic government sabotage of Internet security.

I'm delighted to see Berners-Lee tackling this. Everything we do today involves the Web and everything we do tomorrow will require it; getting Web policy right is the first step to getting everything else right.

I hope that this also signals a re-think of Berners-Lee's endorsement of the idea of standardizing "digital rights management" technology for Web browsers through the W3C. The majority of the Web's users live in a country in which it is illegal to report on vulnerabilities in DRM, because doing so might help to defeat the DRM's locks. The standardization of DRM in the deep structures of the Web means that our browsers will become reservoirs of long-lived, critical bugs that can be used to attack Web users -- just as Web users are massively expanding the activities that are mediated through their browsers.

If we are to have a Web that is fit for a free and fair world, it must be a Web where researchers are free to warn users about defects in their tools. We wouldn't countenance a rule that banned engineers from telling you if your house was structurally unsound. By standardizing DRM in browsers, the W3C is setting in place rules that will make it virtually impossible to know if your digital infrastructure is stable and secure. Read the rest

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