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Intel Patents Hardware

Intel Adds DRM to New Chips 673

Posted by Zonk
from the get-you-where-you-live dept.
Badluck writes "Microsoft and the entertainment industry's holy grail of controlling copyright through the motherboard has moved a step closer with Intel Corp. now embedding digital rights management within in its latest dual-core processor Pentium D and accompanying 945 chipset. Officially launched worldwide on the May 26, the new offerings come DRM -enabled and will, at least in theory, allow copyright holders to prevent unauthorized copying and distribution of copyrighted materials from the motherboard rather than through the operating system as is currently the case..." The Inquirer has the story as well.
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Intel Adds DRM to New Chips

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  • Sales. (Score:5, Funny)

    by InsideTheAsylum (836659) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @01:38PM (#12664616)
    AMD++
    • Re:Sales. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by taskforce (866056)
      Don't count on it, Dell and friends are probably going to lap these things up.
      • Re:Sales. (Score:3, Insightful)

        Well, sales at least from me. I built my own PCs (like many people here, I assume) and I can see that people from this crowd will be going AMD only until they get on this as well.
        • Re:Sales. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by h4rm0ny (722443)

          Seconded. I bought AMD because of this before Intel even implemented it, simply because Intel said they were going to. And as I'm the person in my social group that everyone asks about computers, I'll be recommending they avoid Intel and Dell also.
      • Re:Sales. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by milkman_matt (593465)
        Don't count on it, Dell and friends are probably going to lap these things up.

        Then in that case, maybe you could also say Dell Sales--. I've lately come to love Dell, I mean damn, desktops for 350, laptops for 700... If I wasn't such a mac-whore I'd probably go Dell just on price alone. I have noticed though that they don't even OFFER AMD with their systems, you can only get Intel. If they start shipping nothing but systems using processors with built in DRM, I'll just go back to building my own system
        • Re:Sales. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jp10558 (748604)
          The reason I don't buy Dell is because (IME only, YMMV) their machines are crap. That's how they are so cheap.

          Seriously, the people I know who buy Dells get about 8 months out of them before hardware starts to fail. Now these are average users, so I think this is an issue as that is (I think) one of Dell's big market segments.

          I personally think the issue is the total lack of active cooling + newer Intel chips which leads to overheating.

          Now, the systems are also difficult if not impossible to upgrade. Gen
      • Re:Sales. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by X0563511 (793323) *
        Hate to break it to you, but last I checked AMD was onboard with the TCPA alliance.

        Look at the top of this list.
        https://www.trustedcomputinggroup.org/about/member s/ [trustedcom...ggroup.org]

        The domain www.trustedcomputing.org redirects to the domain I linked to. It's official.
    • Re:Sales. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ZephyrXero (750822) <(moc.oohay) (ta) (orexryhpez)> on Saturday May 28, 2005 @01:45PM (#12664672) Homepage Journal
      Yeah, good thing I was already done buying Intel chips...I just hope AMD doesn't do the same.
    • Re:Sales. (Score:5, Informative)

      by NetNifty (796376) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @01:47PM (#12664679) Homepage
      In the short term yes, but AMD are members of the Trusted Computing Platform Alliance too and might start adding DRM to their chips soon too unfortunatly.
      • Re:Sales. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RoLi (141856)
        True, however nobody can deny that there is a market for non-DRM chips, so some vendor is going to fill that market.
        • Re:Sales. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by a whoabot (706122) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @03:26PM (#12665272)
          Who's going to make them though? The cost of entering the market with a new company to produce chips is just plain incredible. The Trusted Computing Group already consists of Intel, AMD, Sun, IBM, NVIDIA, ATI, Sony, Transmeta, HP and everyone else. So who will make these chips? The Trusted Computing cartel will make it extremely hard for them to do so. And, to boot, the total perentage of the population who even cares about DRM is probably similar to the total percentage of the population that goes to Slashdot, which isn't very much.

          Don't get your hopes up. DRM is coming to every consumer "general purpose"(with DRM installed, Trusted Computing has broken the general purpose aspect) computing device in the future. You're going to be stuck using today's, and the very near future's, technology for a long time if you don't want DRM. And why not have the ISPs out there not let computers connect to the internet if they're not "Trusted?" Even your old machines will probably be marginalized to a permamnently offline life.

          You might as well live up the internet and the computing platforms we have now. Soon these platforms and these protocols will be permamnently broken to make way for Trusted Computing.

          • Re:Sales. (Score:3, Insightful)

            by RoLi (141856)
            AFAIK VIA isn't part of the group - and they produce x86 chips.

            Also just because they are part of the group doesn't mean they won't offer non-DRM chips. It's just too much money involved here. AMD has nothing to win but a lot to lose by producing only DRM chips.

          • Re:Sales. (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Zobeid (314469)
            You might be surprised how long I can keep using my old computer, if I'm sufficiently motivated not to "upgrade" to a newer and more crippled one.

            I lived through the Amiga platform dying out from under me, so I have plenty of experience with keeping old machines in service.

            As for my ISP. . . Well, they're a small company, they've treated me right so far. If they ever decide to shut me out because I don't have DRM, they'll get a fight. And at worst, those of us in the anti-DRM camp can set up our own cr
          • Re:Sales. (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Borealis (84417)
            I disagree. When the consumer finds out that they can't play their MP3 collection on the lasted machine there will be a real quick end to this.

            The Sith lords of IP can only rule the world so long as they make products folks want to buy. Guess what happens when all the big names go to DRM, all the little companies that aren't in the Trusted Computing Group see a surprising increase in sales because their products still work.
            • Re:Sales. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Alsee (515537) on Sunday May 29, 2005 @05:51AM (#12668905) Homepage
              When the consumer finds out that they can't play their MP3 collection

              No, MP3s play just fine on Trusted Computers. A Trusted Computer can do anything a normal computer can do.

              companies that aren't in the Trusted Computing Group see a surprising increase in sales because their products still work.

              You have it backwards, which is why Trusted Computing is a very very real danger. It can be forced upon us in an exact reversal of the way you think it will fail.

              The new software will only work on a Trusted Computer. The new files will only be useable on a Trusted Computer. The new websites will only be accessible with a Trusted Computer.

              It is normal computers that will see a drop in sales because they don't work anymore. Old computers won't work at all with new stuff.

              What do you think is going to happen when your McDonalds Happymeal comes with a FREE Britteny Spears music CD that only plays on a Trusted Computer? Or a FREE Spongebob Squarepants game that can only install and run on a Trusted Computer? I'll tell you what... little Tyffani is going to whine to mom and dad... whine thet the music and game play just fine on the computer at her friend Bryttani's house... whine "why do we have a crappy old compyooooter??" "Our compyooter sucks!" And then mom and dad will run out to buy a new 'enhanced' and 'compatible' computer that can play the god-damn FREE CD from McDonalds just to shut the kid up.

              And then after maybe five years (once all those moms and dads have bought shiny new Trusted Enhanced computers) your ISP will install Trusted Network Connect Routers. The Trusted Computing Group has all of the documentation on Trusted Network Conect on their front page. What it does is "quarantine" your computer unless it's Trusted and running an approved OS and an approved and mandated firewall, and any other software they want to mandate. At that point you and I have no choice but to submit to Trusted Computing - that or we are denied internet access.

              -
      • Re:Sales. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @02:30PM (#12664941) Homepage

        This massive campaign towards securing and extending the definition of intellectual property in the US appears to be, ironically, the nation's response to globalisation and the China price (a term used to describe the price of goods and services in China, usually meaning the lowest possible price). By creating extremely powerful IP laws and then extending that [iipi.org] to the third world countries producing lower cost products, tying it in with other treaties [chinapost.com.tw] (no aid unless you accept our IP laws and enforce them, we'll also loosen up our immigration policies towards you too :D).

        This way those in "control" of ideas and concepts can continue to milk them while maintaining control over these third world countries, who can afford low cost mass production, but will not then be allowed to build on the knowledge they have, due to it being restricted by IP laws. And so, the USA manages to effortlessly keep its technological lead over these countries, who might otherwise swiftly overtake it in technical ability and production capacity.

        Not to be alarmist, but these marketing drones and legal eagles are leading us into a new dark age, where knowledge itself is restricted to a select few, a tyranny of DRM. That the concept is difficult to grasp by the masses is not going to make the penalties for infringement any less harsh. Sadly this problem is not self correcting, nor do I see any immediate method to stop or slow it, short of a massive reduction in the influence of the USA in international relations or a complete reversal of policy by the adminisration there.

        • backfire (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TheSHAD0W (258774) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @03:16PM (#12665218) Homepage
          Well, this strategy may backfire on US companies, when the Chinese, sick of having US DRM imposed on them, form a huge market willing and able to buy DRMless parts. At that point there'll be fabs set up in China or other IP-unfriendly countries churning out unburdened CPUs - and they'll probably be pin-compatible with US company parts. Then they'll get plenty of revenue importing them INTO the US - until the US outlaws 'em, at which point they'll make for lucrative smuggling opportunities.
    • Re:Sales. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Total_Wimp (564548) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @01:55PM (#12664750)
      so what do you do when your software requires an Intel chipset because of the DRM capabilities?

      AMD has been working for years to make people understand that there is no downside to using their chips. I've used many AMD CPUs and have never had a problem that I've been able to trace to using a non-Intel CPU. But what on earth is going to happen when I try to load software and the error message says "this software will not work with AMD systems" because the software maker demands DRM?

      One of three things is going to happen.

      1)This will never take off.
      2)AMD will adopt DRM themselves.
      3)AMD will be marginalized as software manufacturers demand DRM.

      • Re:Sales. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cortana (588495) <sam@robots.orYEATSg.uk minus poet> on Saturday May 28, 2005 @01:57PM (#12664763) Homepage
        > so what do you do when your software requires an Intel chipset because of the
        > DRM capabilities?

        Blame yourself, and only yourself, for compromising your freedom with your choice of OS? :)
        • Re:Sales. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by stevey (64018) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @02:16PM (#12664868) Homepage

          DRM isn't an OS thing though, it can be good or bad in any environment.

          Want to setup a secure server? Use DRM to make sure that only a signed kernel will run and make sure that kernel will only load binaries which are signed in turn.

          See there's a good use for DRM, avoiding untrusted code running on your Debian machine.

          DRM isn't a cut and dried thing, no matter what the propoganda on either side say.

          • Re:Sales. (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mrchaotica (681592)
            Why the fuck would I care if my binaries are signed?! I'M THE ONE WHO COMPILED THEM!

            There's no such thing as "trusted binary code"; only trusted source code. And the only reason it's trusted is that I, or someone I trust -- not fucking Microsoft -- read the code.
    • Re:Sales. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jugalator (259273)
      AMD++

      What makes AMD so useful if they wouldn't support DRM, even for people hating it? It's not like not supporting DRM = ways to bypass DRM. To AMD boards not supporting this, a DRM'ed file will then just look like a blob of heavily encrypted and digitally signed material. Is that so much better than a blob of material you can do something with, although you wouldn't like the system?

      Yes, from a "I don't support this because I don't like the philosophy" perspective, I can see your point, but can't see it
      • Re:Sales. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kadin2048 (468275)
        Yes.

        Because if very few people can use it, then there's a disincentive for content-creators to ever do it again. Versus if it's even possible for you to use it, then they'll be able to point to a vast theoretical userbase when justifying using the format in the future.

        It's kind of like why I refuse to install Windows Media Player, even though it's available for my computer: I don't want to download it, or have it on my computer where somebody might see it, lest they think that WMV is an acceptable format
  • Nice (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 28, 2005 @01:39PM (#12664622)
    A underperforming overpriced DRM-enabled furnace! I so want one...
    • Re:Nice (Score:2, Insightful)

      Let's see what percentage of the market is actually aware of this and
      what it means. ...

      I feel when 80% of computers sold include these chips, we will feel
      somewhat dissapointed..
  • by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @01:41PM (#12664629) Journal
    Maybe this will be in the next gen consoles as well? It seems about the right time to reveal technology going in them and "forget" to mention this. Could outright kill mod chipping and pirated games.
  • Is AMD planning to include DRM in their processors as well?
    • Re:AMD position? (Score:3, Informative)

      by bersl2 (689221)
      They are a member of TCPA. They have not announced anything yet, however.
    • Re:AMD position? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by StillAnonymous (595680) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @01:51PM (#12664721)
      If they announce that they are, I'm going to buy the fastest non-DRM-infested available chip they have and then I'm done with all this bullshit.

      Maybe buy a little cabin and become a fisherman. Fuck the technology industry. The "content moguls" have fucking ruined it for everyone with their whining control-freakery.

      I hope they dig their own graves with this one.
  • by KingDaveRa (620784) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @01:42PM (#12664637) Homepage
    Remember the hoohah over CPU IDs a few years back? They were supposed to enable software suppliers to keep track of things. There was so much of a kerfuffle that most BIOSes now have a function to disable it. I can see this going the same way when it turns out it causes Windows to BSOD or something stupid.
    • by bogie (31020) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @02:19PM (#12664892) Journal
      I remember that. This is different IMHO. Back then it was all about "Intel is going track everything you do on the net!". People freaked out about that. This is about moving DRM restriction from software to hardware and will only affect people trying to "break" DRM on songs and movies they buy. This is only going to affect people who buy from napster.com etc. People who don't use those services won't see any difference and the same goes for people who do.
      So while I may be wrong I think this feature will go unoticed except by those who download DRM software and then are trying to break it. Even then it may be no different unless its harder. If vendors are going to rely on this and this only, hope they have forceably updatable micro code in that chipset otherwise they are in for trouble.

      Oh and in the nonDRM world easynews continues to only cost $9 for 10GB.
  • retrocompatibility? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dario_moreno (263767) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @01:42PM (#12664641) Homepage Journal
    What if the systems have to be retrocompatible ? The re must be a flag to detect if the processor is a 945, and if not, software decoding happens. By making the system believe the processor is pre-945, there must be a way to circumvent the protection (does not work of course if a 945 is required, but this will need another three to five years).
  • fun for hackers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by maharg (182366) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @01:43PM (#12664652) Homepage Journal
    from TFA: Additionally, AMT also features what Intel calls "IDE redirection" which will allow administrators to remotely enable, disable or format or configure individual drives and reload operating systems and software from remote locations, again independent of operating systems. Both AMT and IDE control are enabled by a new network interface controller.

    lots of fun to be had with this I think..
    • by Tobias Luetke (707936) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @01:56PM (#12664757)
      finally we can create a worm which installs linux.
  • Athlon! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by krudler (836743) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @01:43PM (#12664653)
    I've been using AMD for years because of the price/performance ratio, their quality, and the fact that I like to support competition. I really hope that AMD doesn't bow down to the man and do the same thing. I'm really surprised that Intel would make such a move when they are battling AMD so fiercely.

    This could be the reason that AMD takes over the lead. I know I'm not buying DRMed crap and I'm telling everyone I know the same thing.
    • Re:Athlon! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by t_allardyce (48447)
      In the end they both answer to Microsoft, period. If Windows won't run or won't play lots of media because the CPU doesn't support something then AMD will support it, whatever it takes to sell units. If you think people are going to migrate away from Windows because this, think again.
    • AMD makes very nice processors, I agree. Unfortunately, AMD is also a part of the Trusted Computing group, meaning that if they get pressured to cave into demands by Microsoft and Big Media, they would probably will.

      If that ever occurs, at least we still have the PowerPC and the Open Cores project.

  • PPC (Score:3, Insightful)

    by apathyonline (886926) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @01:44PM (#12664660) Homepage Journal
    Well, its a good thing that that the IBM PPC processors don't have built in DRM Go Apple! :)
  • by t_allardyce (48447) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @01:44PM (#12664665) Journal
    How many more times will slashdot get it wrong?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Yeah, no kidding. Privileges are managed; granted, denied, controlled, restricted, revoked. Rights are non-negotiable, no further discussion.
  • Intel had better have a good lure to get consumers to buy this.

    Consumers aren't stupid (for the most part), and if word gets out that they should avoid this chipset, lesser consumers may just avoid Intel altogether.

    • by prisoner (133137)
      Being stupid has nothing to do with it. How many do you think will be aware of this new deal? Of the percentage that are aware, how many do you think will care?

      I think you give the sheeple too much credit.
    • The lure was not telling them in the first place. Even the greasiest marketing "genius" couldn't put a good spin on this.
  • Is this LaGrande or something else? Intel promised that they would sell chips both with and without LaGrande; I wonder if they will stick to it.

    Intel has a policy of not adding undocumented features to their products, so where's the documentation? Or have they changed their policy?
  • Great! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 28, 2005 @01:48PM (#12664688)
    I know there will be a lot of slashbots condemning Intel for this great move, but I really think they should be commented.

    First off all, as we all know, the only way to keep something like a cultural production going is DRM. All the experts, like RIAA and MPAA confirm that.
    So if you are in any way interested in the survival of something resembling culture and thereby civilization, you have to welcome this.

    Second, and even more important to me, let us think about what computers are made for. What is their purpose?
    Simple, to make the live of the users more simple. Now how better to achieve this than by takeing as much control from the user as possible and giving it to responsible corporate citizens?
    So in that regard, great move by Intel.

    Hail Intel!
  • by Eagle5596 (575899) <slashUser@5596PASCAL.org minus language> on Saturday May 28, 2005 @01:48PM (#12664689)
    Their reluctance to talk about specifics on the technology is what worries me. What if their DRM mistakenly identifies something on my hard disk as copyright material and prevents me from using my own very legal data? We can't be sure it won't thanks to jolly old intel.

    This ATM and IDE control scares me the most though. Giving some random Joe the ability to manipulate my computer at a level BELOW the operating system!?!? HOO BOY! I can't wait to see how long it will take to patch the security flaws in there, in the mean time the script-kiddies now have a truly cross platform way to 0wn boxes.

    When will people learn, you can't make something 100% secure, and security through obscurity is a bad idea? Lets just hope the guys in the white hats can reverse engineer this crap first and figure out a way to save the millions of innocent and ignorant customers who will end up with one of these chips in their box.
  • Read it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The Tyro (247333) * on Saturday May 28, 2005 @01:48PM (#12664690)
    It's actually quite interesting.

    They're not only talking about on-chip DRM, they're also talking about a "feature" called Active Management Technology in their new chipsets.

    By the sounds of it, it's a firmware-level mini-OS that allows an administrator (or presumably anyone with the password, or the appropriate exploit) to, and I quote:

    "remotely enable, disable or format or configure individual drives and reload operating systems and software from remote locations, again independent of operating systems

    Frankly, that worries me quite a bit more than the DRM.
    • Re:Read it (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bigberk (547360)
      This is why countries outside the USA are going to avoid DRM platforms. It is essential for security that computation and control occurs locally. It is a threat to national security to include cryptographic external control mechanisms within a computer.

      You know would would be really phunny, if the USA with its handholding of the media industry loses its edge in technology to say Chinese CPU manufacturers who are going to have a larger international market without DRM nonsense.
  • DRM ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vlad_petric (94134) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @01:48PM (#12664691) Homepage
    is good until someone breaks it. In the best case scenario for Intel & media partners, it'll take a modchip (something on the memory bus, for instance) to bypass this. In the worst case scenario, software.

    "Secure hardware" is an amazingly difficult thing to achieve (by secure I mean secure from its user, of course). For instance, in the late 90s, smartcards were hacked by figuring out bits from their keys with differential power analysis.

    • Re:DRM ... (Score:3, Informative)

      by rpozz (249652)
      This form of DRM looks like it'll be an absolute bastard to break. Mainly because it's implemented in the CPU itself. The problem is that modchipping something like a north bridge will not be an easy task, and AMD CPUs (which will have this too eventually) have the north bridge integrated into the CPU.

      Maybe a specialised motherboard could get around it though. There'll be a market for it.
  • Bad Step (Score:2, Interesting)

    by StratoChief66 (841584)
    Provide a feature for someone other than those who are paying for your product? Yeah, um, lets see how that works out for you pal. I will personally avoid these things like the plague.
  • by thpdg (519053)
    Isn't this going to be close the unique ID numbers that were on chips a few years ago? So a media file or player can check and see what ID proc it's running on, and only ever run on that number again? Where is the outcry now? Don't people care about their privacy and rights? They fought so hard before, but now it's acceptable? People are suckers!
  • I still think.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Asprin (545477) <gsarnold.yahoo@com> on Saturday May 28, 2005 @01:52PM (#12664730) Homepage Journal

    I still think it might be possible to defeat this with an emulator.
    • why would one "defeat" his or her own hardware with hacking away (eg. emulating) to make it do what one wants the hardware to do? If I buy hardware I like to feel I own it, and I am in control of it.

  • by ahfoo (223186) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @01:54PM (#12664741) Journal
    Hasn't it been publicly stated numerous times that the whole reason China was pusing for localized Linux was to avoid having hidden backdoors on PCs in China that the government had no control over? If Intel is really installing a sub-system that is specifically designed to re-direct information it seems like a pretty obvious violation of that stated policy. It's hard for Intel to say they didn't know about it when it has been rolled out pretty much every time the topic of Linux and China gets mentioned in the IT press.
    And is it just China? Don't a number of other countries have similar policies? This seems like it could have serious implications for Intel's global position. The US market is big, but it's not necessarily where the PC growth is coming from over the next few decades.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @01:57PM (#12664768)
    From the article: However, Tucker ducked questions regarding technical details of how embedded DRM would work saying it was not in the interests of his company to spell out how the technology in the interests of security.

    Also FTA: Additionally, AMT also features what Intel calls "IDE redirection" which will allow administrators to remotely enable, disable or format or configure individual drives and reload operating systems and software from remote locations...


    Good grief, Intel, do you still believe that security through obscurity works? You're waving a big honkin' red flag that tells me this is going to be a hack magnet, and you think they're likely to be successful at it if they figure out how it works - and make no mistake about it, the blackhats WILL figure out how it works.

    This is absurd. We all need to let Dell, Toshiba etc. know that if their systems have this functionality enabled, we will be shopping elsewhere.

  • Cop Flag (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @02:05PM (#12664810) Homepage Journal
    Copyrights are much more complex than mere assertion by an object that it cannot be copied. When my Dell CPU says I can't backup an object, or copy it for use in a different location of my own, or for criticism, satire, or other fair use, or streaming (which the Library of Congress Copyright Office says is not a "copy"), how do I protect my rights? Send the Dell back, fight for a refund? Who's going to compensate me for their wrongful infringement of my rights? For my lost time, opportunites, labor, value expected but denied? And what about in countries other than the US, where copyright laws are different, often much more complex, and sometimes nonexistent?

    It's a mistake for hardware engineers to generate law-enforcement in mass-consumer products. At most, optional hardware support for user opt-in, to make compliance easy enough that most people agree, should be available. Copyright violation is a problem for the justice system, with its presumptions of innocence until guilt is proven, due process, and human interpreters of whether acts were crimes or not.

    This DRM CPU tech should go down in flames, like Intel's mandatory CPU serial#. Intel's got a lot more problems just rolling out CPUs that do what we want, like faster Pentium4s. They shouldn't be wasting developer time, eating die space, and complexifying throughput with half-bright consumer traps like this. Of course, AMD (and others) have the opportunity to speed past Intel, and give customers what we want. Not just spin their wheels trying to woo back Microsoft, as it looks to other CPU platforms. Because we'll all leave Intel hanging when a CPU comes along that serves us better.
    • happens when every embedded device is an agent of law enforcement. You can bet that if this goes mainstream, the end of Western Civilization is at hand. The term Ubiquitous Law Enforcement was invented by by noted science fiction author and computer scientist Vernor Vinge.
  • by tcdk (173945) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @02:07PM (#12664817) Homepage Journal
    ... everybody who buys a preconfigured "closed" intel box will get one of these CPUs and it will be tooted as an extra feature.

    My guess is that the first round is for testing and then it will probably be back portet to a level of CPU's that somebody want to use in a set-top box.

    This is where functionality like this would really shine in the eye of the media companies. A chipset/cpu like this, Windows Media Edition 2007 DRM+, will probably give you a box that nobody normal (joe-consumer) would be able to hack, making it possible to subsidise heavily (e.i. give it away) as you would be sure that it wouldn't be used for anything but the content you sell.

    Intel will probably be able live down the loss of sale to geeks, when they sell 700 million of these boxes to AOL-TimeWarmer-Sony-Vivendi-MegaGlobalHyper-ROC-Co rp.
  • by iggymanz (596061) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @02:10PM (#12664838)
    What happens if a large corporation uses DRM to enforce copyright it *claims* to own but in fact does not. I'm thinking of someone alot bigger than SCO doing what SCO did (attempt to steal software copyrighted by others) but also having the power (unlike SCO) to actually shut down use of software.
  • Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ngdbsdmn (658135) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @02:16PM (#12664872)
    These Intel executives sure love to lose money. We should really help them.
  • by sbaker (47485) * on Saturday May 28, 2005 @02:33PM (#12664959) Homepage
    So the Digit Online article says:

    "...features what Intel calls "IDE redirection" which will
    allow administrators to remotely enable, disable or format
    or configure individual drives and reload operating systems
    and software from remote locations, again independent of
    operating systems."

    Doesn't this sound just suicidally dangerous to every single
    slashdot reader? Have we learned NOTHING about network
    security over the history of the Internet?

    Intel put this technology in at the hardware level and refuse
    to tell us how it works!

    So are we to believe that 'security by obscurity' is all that's
    protecting us from random idiots reformatting our hard drives
    and loading entire new OS's onto our machines? IRRESPECTIVE of
    what OS I have loaded!?!?!

    If the underlying security is good enough to make this even
    REMOTELY bearable then there is no reason not to tell us (in
    great detail) how it works.

    If the security this uses is cracked within a year of the machines
    appearing on the market, we'll have several million computers on
    the Internet that are UTTERLY defenseless against hackers - and Intel
    aren't even prepared to risk an open 'Peer review' of the technology!!

    Think about this - if this can happen IRRESPECTIVE of the OS on
    the machine - then there is no conceivable software defence against
    hackers using this mechanism.

    This is quite the most irresponsible idea I've heard in a very
    long time!
  • by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Saturday May 28, 2005 @03:27PM (#12665278) Homepage
    Okay. So Slashdot's all upset about this.

    Slashdot doesn't matter.

    The thing we really need to be asking here is, how can the general public be made aware of this? And moreover, be made aware of it in a way that they understand, something like new computers with these specific Intel chips are set up so that software companies, like Microsoft, can take control of your computer and stop you from doing things they don't like."

    A bunch of slashdotters doing a boycott won't really have any impact. But a few tens of thousands of average consumers walking into Best Buy with furrowed brows and saying they want to buy some kind of new computer, but they don't want it if they have this new "Intel D-Ram" thing (if this can be made to happen), is eventually going to hit corporate consciousness, maybe make Intel think about the issue, and maybe even convince AMD that this for once is not a buzzword it's best not to bet on.

    Unfortunately consumers probably won't realize why DRM support in hardware is a bad thing for them until the DRM hardware becomes commonplace, and viruses and malware start taking advantage of the DRM hardware to do really, really nasty things. And eventually, they will. DRM hardware exists, once you strip away the PR, to give software vendors control of the hardware in place of the actual hardware owner; in the long run this is a proposition which is going to be as attractive to Gator as it will be to Real.
  • I really can't. This is like Ford saying "Since the national speed limit is capped at 75 mph, all of our cars will have a built in governor that will prevent them from exceeding the speed limit, even in states without a speed limit". Only this is far more insidious.

    Assuming that pirating protected IP is wrong (I'm not getting into that debate... let's say for the sake of argument that it is), this is still a very, very bad move, because:

    A) Due to changes in pirating methods, DRM is probably going to change. Hard wiring DRM into the CPU would be something that would either become useless very quickly, or so restrictive that media that the user plays could easily be mistaken for being a pirated copy. (or both)

    B) DRM in any current iteration doesn't do very well at determining illegal copies of media from legal ones. (Wait, because I copied this CD I *own* onto a CD-R as a backup, and the physical CD I *own* and paid good money for the rights to listen to got scratched, I can't listen to the music anymore on my new computer?)

    C) Hardware should *NEVER* have restrictive control over the type of information stored on a hard drive or the type of information that can be sent over any network unless users are given an understanding of how that control works, and it can be %100 modifiable by the user, as well as being shut off. "Hey, this old file from an old legacy application won't load on my new computer because the CPU thinks it's a pirated game instead of statistical financial information. And you're telling me there's no way around it for 'security' reasons?"

    D) The nature of DRM is that it's set by media corporations who have demonstrated over and over again that they are unethical and prone to abuse any power they have for their own ends. (Ask any up and coming recording artist that's been screwed over by an RIAA member record company). I'm sorry, but I really don't feel very good about my CPU looking into what files I'm trying to access from my HDD or send over the Internet when it's been programmed by what I believe to be a bunch of crooks.

    Of course it's a bad idea, and one that will probably die a horrible death. Tech savvy end users will avoid chips that have DRM, and buyers for larger organizations will probably shy away from putting machines on their networks that restrict information in ways they can't control. As long as there's decent alternatives, it's not something I'm too upset about.

    Then again, I've not purchased an Intel product for my desktop since the 8088 chip I had back in '87 (AMD has always seemed, to me, to offer a better deal), and while most of my laptops currently run Intel chips, if DRM is implemented on them I'll find another brand.

    Note: I'm not an expert on this and thus might be wrong on some points, so I'm admitting this right now before a dozen replies come in saying I'm wrong and overzelous mods don't select 'Flamebait' or 'troll'.

  • by argoff (142580) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @06:12PM (#12666254)

    Believe it or not, history is repeating itself here.

    History teaches that during the 1800's there were many people who believed that the entire meaning and purpose of the industrial revolution was to leverage inventions like the cotton gin to expand their plantations for unlimited growth and profit. Ironically just the opposite was true;the industrial revolution demanded a mobile and skilled workforce.

    First, they responded by making slavery last forever, and making laws so harsh you couldn't even teach a person of color how to read. Then they responded by trying to micro-regulate the northern states, then they responded by trying to break off from the Union and fence themselves off from the rest of the world causing all hell to break loose.

    Today many in media circles believe that the entire meaning and purpose of the information age is to use inventions like the Internet to leverage their copyright holdings to the far reaches of the Earth for unlimited growth and profit. Ironically, just the opposite is true; the information age demands the unrestricted flow of information.

    First, they responded my making copyrights last effectively forever, then they responded by making it so that illegal copying could be punished worse than rape, then they tried to micro-regulate the technology industries with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and now they are trying to fence the information they control off from the rest of the world with Digital Rights Management (DRM). We are now at the point where society must tell them to go to hell.

  • I want one (Score:4, Funny)

    by labradore (26729) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @10:43PM (#12667578)
    If DRM can defeat spyware and viruses and help me keep my kids' computer safe for them to use, I'll consider it. Bonus if it helps drive down the price of legal online music and movies.
  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday May 29, 2005 @12:13AM (#12668032) Homepage
    Intel's "Active Management Technology" is described by Intel here. [intel.com] But there's no real information there, just endless PR and management-level papers, all claiming that if you have remote control, magically your machines will all just work. (We've heard this before, from Microsoft, who called it Zero Administration [microsoft.com].)

    From what little information is available, the following appears to be the case:

    • AMT is implemented by some small auxiliary processor in the network controller. It's not, apparently, firmware that runs in system management mode. But that's not entirely clear.
    • AMT for clients is basically an implementation of Alert Standard Format [dmtf.org], a remote management interface which previously required installing a special plug-in board. This probably means that it uses Remote Management Control Protocol (RCMP) to talk to the client. This uses UDP datagrams on ports 623 and 644. Sending an RCMP Presence Ping on port 623 to any machine with RCMP enabled should result in a reply. Port 644 has a reasonable security system, requiring a key exchange at the start of each session. Messages are cryptographically signed, but not encrypted. If properly configured, only harmless functions should be enabled on port 623. If improperly configured...
    • The general idea is that a new computer must enroll in the system by doing one good boot of the OS and talking to the remote system administration machine for an initial key exchange of 160-bit keys. Once that's been done, secure sessions are possible. It's not clear what the initial state of a new system is. One would hope that this stuff comes up disabled. But Intel isn't telling.
    • Key-setting appears to be done through normal OS operation. It doesn't apparently require an external hardware device to be plugged in, which would be far more secure.
    • Some RCMP functions of interest:
      • Unconditional Power Down
      • Force Hard Drive Boot
      • Force CD/DVD boot (may be redirected to net)
      • Lock Power/Reset/Sleep buttons.
      • Lock Keyboard
      • Blank Screen
      • User Password Bypass
      • Remote Control Device Action (control peripherals)
      There are also, of course, many functions for examining the state of the target machine.
    • One very real possibility is that spyware, worms, or viruses might set the RCMP keys and enable RCMP on a machine. If it does that, the machine is 0wned. Really 0wned. If an attacker can set the keys, an attacker can not only reboot the system remotely, they can disable the keyboard, power off button, sleep button, and reset button. Of course, you could pull the plug. Maybe. Visualize this happening on a WiFi enabled laptop.

    This system is not all that badly designed, provided it stays turned off except in corporate environments that really want it and understand its implications. But if implemented dumbly (with, say, the same keys on all machines, or an insecure administration machine) it opens huge security holes. For example, if all the help desk machines have the master RCMP keys to all the machines in the organization, it's almost inevitable that there will be a leak. Compare Kerberos, where there's a central machine that has to be physically secured, but all it does is key management.

    Linux support for all this is possible; the interfaces are documented. And definitely, someone needs to explore RCMP messages on port 623 and find out what is enabled at by default.

    And if anybody breaks into your corporate help desk machine, they 0wn the company.

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