Who Manages Your Rights?

Rights management for protecting the confidentiality of medical and legal records is absolutely necessary, but lots of people worry that it could go too far.

Digital Rights Management may be the most important computing issue of the decade; its one that is stirring up no shortage of controversy. DRM is defined as software that lets a content owner set specific policies for determining how the content is used, by whom, and for how long. Microsoft recently debuted its strategy called Next-Generation Secure Computing Base (NGSCB), a framework for enabling online music and movie sales and document protection. But it could limit you to using only the software or data to which someone has given you the rights.

Formerly known as Palladium, NGSCB will divide your operating system into left and right sides. Everyday applications will run on the left side, while applications on the right side will be locked down and accessible only by trusted programs and users.

The right side will include a module that Microsoft calls a nexus. Youll log on to the system with a smart card, and the nexus will authenticate you, communicating with a special chip. Many apps will run as they do now, but those that require rights management will be encrypted. Such a program will be run only with the correct combination of a unique user and the nexus. NGSCB will require a new generation of CPUs and chipsets. Both Intel, with its LaGrange project, and AMD are on board.

To read the full article, go to PC Magazine.