Trusted Computing: Sounds Great, Doesn’t it?

There is an interesting short video here about trusted computing. Consider it an amateur introduction to what a lot of recent research has been discussing, and perhaps a useful video to spark some discussion with non-research friends.

However, there is a twist in the short- a  doubt about the utlity of trust, once trust decision are made by a machine rather than a person. Do you agree?

One Response to “Trusted Computing: Sounds Great, Doesn’t it?”

  1. Stephan and Vogel’s video’s been circulating on the web for a while now. It plays on the idea of “trusted computing” not using the word “trust” in the meaning one might expect: basically, it’s about a trust relationship between the computer industry and a semi-tamperproof part of your computer, not a trust relationship between the industry and you, you and your computer, or you and external material/software (since the industry already decided for you what your computer should trust).

    I don’t see a problem presented in the video about a machine deciding for you, as long as the machine has been configured to follow *your* policy, or at least a policy compatible with yours. Preferrably the policies are even modifiable, but in the case of end-users, we tend to see more one-size-hopefully-fits-all approaches than systems that you could or would have to configure from scratch. Think spam filtering, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, virus detectors or even your typical Ubuntu Linux repository-based software management system, for example: you don’t even want to make the system depend on an assumption of the user’s expertise, it has to have sane defaults.

    The problem presented in the video is in the system making decisions for you that you can’t influence, and how that means the system fails to implement your trust policy. And that’s also in a nutshell why trusted computing sounds great, but isn’t, from the end-user standpoint.