[FCC] dan gillmor nails why I just did what I did

Dave Taht dave.taht at gmail.com
Mon Oct 19 15:52:20 PDT 2015


From:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2015/10/15/trans_pacific_partnership_could_thwart_computer_security_research_and_tinkering.html

"Surely our government isn't insane enough to thwart research designed
to keep us safer in the emerging “Internet of Things.” Yet tell that,
for starters, to the automobile industry, where one of the world's
largest car makers, Volkswagen, cheated on emissions testing by
tweaking its software. This crime against humanity—not an
exaggeration, given the massive contribution this may have made to
accelerating climate change—was discovered by researchers who, by good
luck, discovered that VW's cars had been spewing vastly more
pollutants than the company claimed for years. This almost certainly
would have been uncovered much earlier had the industry not relied on
the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to “protect” its software from
analysis; the DMCA made it illegal to circumvent “digital restrictions
management.” Yet the automakers continue to adamantly oppose any
exception to the DMCA.

This TPP provision, assuming it's in the final document—won't it be
great when our government allows us to actually see it?—is just one of
the many, many terrible “intellectual property” arrangements aimed at
giving corporations greater control over their customers. When
software is part of a product, as it is in so many things today and
almost everything tomorrow, the very concept of ownership becomes an
abstraction for the alleged buyer. And when we risk harsh penalties
for even attempting to repair a device that's defective, whether
that's because of the seller's incompetence or venality, we are in a
totally untenable, and frighteningly insecure, position.

We need to be going in precisely the opposite direction, and a
too-little-noticed proposal this week shows how it might be done. A
group of security experts looked into the absolutely horrifying, and
willful, lack of security in devices most of us use every
day—especially the Wi-Fi routers that let us share one Internet
connection among a variety of devices—and asked the Federal
Communications Commission to intervene.

In a letter to the FCC and a press release explaining their goals,
more than 250 people, including Vint Cerf, one of the Internet's
creators, implored the agency to make these crucial devices more
secure by forcing manufacturers to be more open about how they work.
Among other things, the security experts asked the FCC to require that
device makers a) provide public access to “source code”—the
programming instructions that operate the device—so that it can be
analyzed; b) provide ongoing security updates in timely ways; and c)
be prevented from selling devices that don't comply with those and
other rules designed to ensure security.

The FCC should make this happen yesterday. Then, regulators and
Congress should extend the compelling logic of this proposal to other
devices—notably cars and mobile phones—that are notoriously riddled
with flaws.

Meanwhile, it's vital that Congress not agree to the TPP as it's
currently written. Thankfully, the deal is in trouble. Let's hope the
odd-couple combination of a corporate-dominated Obama administration
and a Republican-controlled Congress doesn't override common sense and
the public good."

Scientists and Engineers have a mandate to obey physical law. Lawyers,
and lobbyists, not so much.

Dave Täht
I just lost several years of my life to making wifi better. And the
FCC wants to mess all that up. https://www.gofundme.com/savewifi


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