This is a scenario that I think is quite feasible.
- You have just clicked an icon produced by Disney for his Monsters Inc., Episode 7.
- A small blue monster, in a box, greets you and says:
- Good evening I am pleased to bring you our newest Episode.
I see that I can operate on your computer and that my apartment has all I need to present Episode 7!
It will take about 45 minutes to bring the data to your machine as as your connection is only 10 GHz.
It is coming as we speak.
(He points to a circle reminiscent of a reel of film that has begun to expand into an otherwise empty circle.)
You have already paid for two viewings.
Wake me when you are ready to begin.
- He cuddles up comfortably in the corner of his box.
- Since you have visitors from the past, you show off a bit and click a spot on the edge of the monster’s box saying that this is the landlord’s control.
A stern Dikensian figure appears in another box just above the monster’s box.
He looks quizzical and you say “What’s the deal here?”.
The figure says:
This tenant has reserved 2TB of disk storage from the allotment of rescindable storage.
His tenancy is revocable at your pleasure.
He requires 1.2 Gops/sec to “perform”.
Such a reservation will be contingently made at the beginning of a “performance” which lasts 139 minutes, plus interruptions.
The tenant agrees to leave his material here in case you should wish more performances.
When the tenant tells me that he has “performed” I will remit $2 to Eisner Inc.
Would you like me to notify you as well?
The computer on which this runs is open in that you are on the same footing as Disney:
Indeed you can evict the peddler but he cannot evict you.
The peddler has decided to trust the manufacturer of the processor chip in your computer and also some glue between your computer’s RAM and most of your PC cards.
Then your code can safely come to my computer and wield any authority I choose to give it.
You may package your code so that I can’t do anything but let it execute on my machine.
- You want to write code that runs on my computer,
- I have a computer whose manufacturer you trust,
- I am running a kernel that you trust,
- I invite your code somehow,
This is approximately what some of Microsoft’s developers of NGSCB describe.
I don’t know that they speak for the company.
Together MS and Intel are in a position to ruin computers, but they already have been in that position for quite a few years.
Amazon Faces a Fight Over Its E-Books—1984 call back.
There are possibly fatal flaws in all of this:
The second point is especially relevant to canned performances such as today’s movies.
- The art of tamper proof hardware may ultimately loose out to the art of tampering.
I have seen good arguments on both sides.
- Some point out that the wires going to the screen are difficult to protect.