Thursday, July 12, 2007

Cory Doctorow's take on DRM legislation

The venerable EFF old hand Cory Doctorow has written a long and interesting expose of the back-room dealing which goes into DRM governance and legislation. He quotes Otto von Bismarck (not a known supporter of open government): "Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made."
I have yet to see a situation in which legislation and technology mix well. Too often the legislators are either out of their depth in understanding the technical details, or just plain corrupt. Can anyone think of another reason for the following governmental decisions? (my best guess in brackets):
  1. Ireland's RFID passport (Incompetence)
  2. Germany's Bundestrojaner (Incompetence mixed with Ideology)
  3. The US's Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Corruption)
In each of these cases, an atrocious piece of legislation has been passed without real consideration for the technology and costs involved. The negative impact for me personally from the first two are degraded security and privacy. The DMCA impacts me tangentially by giving the content industry free hand to be foolish, and kill their own industry.
Any other guessed causes? Feel free to comment.

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