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Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security

OpenTrusted Computing: Big Brother Inside?

Stefek Zaba - HPLabs Trusted Computing Lab

Jan 15, 2003


The Trusted Computing Platform Alliance, an industry-wide consortium of
some 150 members, has released detailed specifications for PCs and
similar commodity computing platforms to incorporate a hardware module
to act as a hard-to-subvert root of trust for everyday computing.
Microsoft, a founding member of TCPA along with Compaq, HP, IBM, and
Intel, have announced their related Palladium initiative. Some
commentators have seen in these announcements a potential - perhaps even
a deliberate intent - to exert tight and socially unacceptable control
over what software can run, and in particular a threat to to the
open-source model of software development and distribution. With some
help from the satirical songwriting of Tom Lehrer, I will try to examine
the main features of TCPA, the motivations behind its design, its
relationship to what has so far been announced under the Palladium
banner, and whether there seems to be a case for commercial or
regulatory control of these technologies.

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