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Lockdown: The Coming War on General Computing

Written in 2011, this exceptionally well written article remains more relevant than ever.

Lockdown: The coming war on general-purpose computing by Cory Doctorow

The shape of the copyright wars clues us into an upcoming fight over the destiny of the general-purpose computer itself.

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In one famous incident—a gift to people who share this hypothesis—Sony loaded covert rootkit installers on 6 million audio CDs, which secretly executed programs that watched for attempts to read the sound files on CDs and terminated them. It also hid the rootkit's existence by causing the computer operating system's kernel to lie about which processes were running, and which files were present on the drive.

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I have made peace with the fact that I will require a hearing aid long before I die. It won't be a hearing aid, though; it will really be a computer. So when I get into a car—a computer that I put my body into—with my hearing aid—a computer I put inside my body—I want to know that these technologies are not designed to keep secrets from me, or to prevent me from terminating processes on them that work against my interests.

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