Microsoft Pluton processors and DRM

No sooner had I flagged the evil march of DRM than I read (on Mastodon) about Intel including a ‘security’ module in their chips designed by Microsoft and went “WTAF!!!”.

So DRM is coming to Intel/AMD on effectively all our computers, and then what do we do? How do we replace a chip monopoly?

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I’m thinking that we specialize our machines for purpose. So for communication use Pi’s or similar - anything with a very open-source hardware base. Then just use their insecure stuff for things that don’t matter - high end games or whatever.

Imperfect solution, but imperfect times.

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I’ve also been worrying about Microsoft Pluton since it was mentioned by AMD at CES 2022. Is it like a new “UEFI/Secure boot” scheme? Will it make things difficult for Linux? Serious users and companies will not switch away from Linux in a hurry, but will they be forced to pay a Microsoft tax even if they don’t use Windows?

Maybe this deserves its own thread?

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I doubt there is too much to worry about, at least in the short term. Microsoft are heavily invested in Linux and open source now (Azure, GitHub) and wouldn’t want to damage their new ‘open source friendly’ image.

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Of course this isn’t imminent. But when DRM is in every laptop and desktop corporations will lobby government to mandate its use to leverage their particular business model of control, and authoritarians won’t need persuading anyway.

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I get your point, but don’t see it as anything particularly new.

Maybe it isn’t. Intel/AMD incorporating a Microsoft designed module inside all their CPUs raised my eyebrows, but I don’t claim to understand all the implications of this over of existing TPMs etc.

Where’s the Roger Moore emoji when you need it?

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This one :face_with_raised_eyebrow: ? I only learned of it from your post and a bit of DuckDucking, but It just looks like a more physically secure version of Intel ME. Not that that’s a good thing. Many people are deeply suspicions of black boxes and for good reason, and the coming together of massive corporations may be a cause for concern, but this doesn’t seem to be anything new - at least in my cursory readings. Everyone is developing their own chips these days and it’s no longer a 2/3 horse race but has become very competitive.

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You’re much more up on this computer stuff than I, and your search foo is strong :dizzy_face:

Can you buy consumer laptops with such libertarian CPUs then, ones worth buying that is?

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I dislike laptops, @JPL , but please tell me where I can get a “libertarian” desktop CPU/APU that won’t phone home.

You can’t, barring Librem etc - but that’s been the case for some time. In the server and mobile world there’s more choice. Hopefully things will move that way in PCs/laptops too.

Edit. Apple make their own CPUs now, but I wouldn’t bet on them being any better.

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The phenomenon may not be new, but Microsoft collaborating with AMD is news to me. I vaguely remember battling with “secure boot” when that was Microsoft’s latest attack. I guess I learned stuff along the way, but it was still a battle. I prefer learning stuff peacefully. MS is a very powerful foe, and they take no prisoners. Hostages yes, but no prisoners. I don’t know much about Apple, except their philosophy is being even more walled in than MS.

I never really understood what was meant by “server” hardware. My main computer is always on, and maybe it even is a server of sorts. Have I been looking at the wrong kind of hardware? Ideally I would, of course, like something like Libreboot instead of a proprietary BIOS too. I think I saw an open motherboard being sold for around 4000 € at some point, but that’s just too much money. I don’t have the budget of NASA or a bank that actually have to be secure and have to run real OS’s, not just advertising platforms like Windows. But maybe if I went for a “server” setup?

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Does it require OS support to implement it.

Is this the new V chip that will die pretty quickly because there will be a backlash against those implementing it. Also I would say there will be workarounds pretty quickly. Like Win 11 MUST have the TPM chip installed and activated. But its 2 seconds to bypass that and install Win 11 without it.

Also people not upgrading their OS to bypass it. Microsoft took a hit when people refused to upgrade from XP because of overreach by microsoft

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Those defenses crumble if governments require manufacturers to enable this because of lobbying or their own authoritarian tendencies. There may still be ways for sophisticated individuals to bypass this, and break the law, but that’s not relevant.

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Governments would be requiring this under copyright law I suspect. So that would take years to implement and hopefully a lot will go wrong for it during that time. The V chip was going to be the perfect answer for protecting children, but it fizzled. Encryption exporting was banned for a time, but that didn’t last.

These measures have a history of failing. Hopefully so will this one.

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IBM power9, maybe.

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On second thought as pointed out above its just trusted computing modules which didn’t work out in the past. Its an arms race. At some point society needs a from the ground up verifiable clean computing platform. As pointed out above we have some bits like Raspberry Pi as building blocks.

--------------- no point in reading the rant that follows

Look at the damn name: Pluton. Like when Citigroup was claiming in an internal presentation memo during the W. Admin that the US has been turned into a plutonomy- an oligarchy.

The above point about NFTs is apt. NFTs seem like such stupid idea because by use of enclosure and lock in they reintroduce scarcity and something for nothing or gouging games back into the digital space where the promise of the computer was the abundance it brought with its ability to carry out rapid accurate iterative work.This is all going in the direction of making censorship pay with lock in.

There have been 4 historical attempts to replace our weak democracy in the US with oligarchy or straight up slavery. With the civil war it was the slavery based South attacking the North because even the North’s weak elitist democracy was getting in the way of enslaving people, both whites and blacks, in the South. And note skin color was just another enclosure.

And here we go again with the energy rent seeking ponzi scam of natural gas with energy which should be essentially free and actually green (battery backed solar etc) instead used as pretense to slavery inducing levels of unnecessary in the first place, totally unjustifiable rents with enclosure by and lock into to an obsolute energy source (to create slavery inducing artificial scarcity while polluting everything) by the same damn terrorist right- to-exploit demanding entitled thugs- many of the same economic royalists families. But they use the double speak of energy independence to hide this when its energy slavery like what they were trying to foist in Austrailia with $600 a month to keep the lights on in a mobile home or it gets red tagged. If we would have prosecuted Enron the way we did the savings and loan crisis we could have removed Cheny and Bush and canceled CA being extorted into almost bakruptcy and suffering a coup- cancelled 911 and Gitmo and the patriot act and Iraq 2 and Afganistan and the financial collapse and Libya and Trump and covid which I think was probably used to keep the natural gas self appointed oligarchs from starting a civil war in order to continue to collect rents on their massively over priced ponzi which has corrupted the entire US financial system from health insurance to pensions and mortgages. Who wants to pay $1 a kwh for what should be 1/10th of a penny and to these entitled bribery pushing enslaving thugs of all people?

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Is Microsoft planning to allow Windows to only allow running apps downloaded from Microsoft Store? I don’t think they could prevent anyone from running modified software otherwise.

It says Linux will also be supported, so I think it is actually likely this will be a useful chip for SAFE that could help to prevent malware and crypto theft.

New chips and security do mean new fears about DRM, and the fact that processors will now call back to Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure for updates. “This is about security, it’s not about DRM,” explains Weston. “The reality is we’ll create an API where people can leverage it, it’s definitely possible for folks to use that for protection of content, but this is really about mainstream security and protecting identify and encryption keys.”

@Warren ,

Another good post but still more para breaks needed . .