EFF criticises plan for restrictive new cell technology

November 2005

Telecoms, Internet

Having just returned from the In The City Conference, the importance of mobile cell phones in the music and entertainment industries as well as the IT and telecoms industries cannot be underestimated. This is why they will now become the new ‘battleground’ between companies seeking to achieve dominance in the new market and also between consumers who wish to have choice and retain privacy and companies who wish to maximise commercial growth and ‘lock in’ customers to preferred applications, software and pricing plans. The Electronic Frontiers Foundation has criticized a plan for restrictive new cell technology put forward by the Trusted Computing Group (TCG), an industry consortium developing controversial computer security specifications. TCG has released a wish list of applications of TCG technology to cell phone security. Unfortunately the EFF says, much of this “security” aims to help cell phone carriers cement their control over their customers …TCG is proudly offering to help cell phone carriers lock down your phone,” said EFF Staff Technologist Seth Schoen. “The proposals described today aim to help your cell phone company decide who can publish software or media for your phone, whether you can load your own documents, and even whether you can switch carriers or resell your phone. These are not innovations that consumers will applaud.” TCG announced a set of eleven “use cases” that its members will discuss how to support with TCG technologies in cell phones. Among other applications, TCG suggested were (1) “Device integrity” and “SIMlock/device personalization” which according to the EFF would prevent you from switching mobile carriers or reselling or donating your phone to someone else. (2) Platform integrity” and “software use” controls, which would let your cell phone company, not you, decide what software is allowed to run on your phone, and, (3) “Digital rights management support” helps publishers, not you, control how you can use media on your cell phone.

For this release see : www.eff.org/news/archives/2005_09.php#004014

For TCG’s announcements at the CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment conference :www.trustedcomputinggroup.org/groups/mobile/

See also Law Updates October 2005 EFF’s new guide to digital music services points to unexplained restrictions with Digital Rights Management Systems

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