Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Sony Root Kit story continues

The other day, someone I worked with confessed that they didn't really understand the whole Sony root kit issue but they were pretty sure it wasn't all that significant.

I was a bit taken aback, because that person is pretty plugged into the whole Internet music scene and I thought they knew the story. But I began to think that they probably weren't all that different from a lot of others. Heck, I just realized that I haven't written about it before either, even though it was a huge story before Christmas.

This issue is significant, in large part because the insidious nature of the original problem will continue to be a problem for a long, long time to come, since so many people probably aren't even aware of it.

This story from Cory Doctorow over on Boing Boing links you to a larger on-going research piece that is looking at the potential fall-out from the Sony DRM issue. For example, what will happen if someone puts one of those infected Sony music CDs into their computer in 20 years? Will the program still try to load into the computer? And what will it do? If you're interested in some of the larger implications of the stuff that we take for granted every day, you might want to read this.
(Sony taproot graphic courtesy of Sevensheaven)

In a similar vein, Steve Outing, writing in the Poynter E-media tidbits blog, tells us about a speech that Dan Gilmour, of Citizen Journalism fame, gave at Harvard. It looked at some of the implications of what will happen down the road when the kids of today (who are all on-line, saying the most outrageous things on their blogs and websites) move into leadership positions?
(Listen to Gillmor's speech.)

Are we (via our media) going to hold them to account for the things they said when they were teenagers? How well would any of us stand up if everything we'd done as teenagers were held up to the harsh glare of contemporary scrutiny?

Outing and Gillmor suggest we'll need some kind of agreed-upon privacy zone, where we are allowed to keep some things away from public debate. But will it happen?

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