In this episode of the Hardware podcast, we talk with writer and digital rights activist Cory Doctorow. He’s recently rejoined the Electronic Frontier Foundation to fight a World Wide Web Consortium proposal that would add DRM to the core specification for HTML. When we recorded this episode with Cory, the W3C had just overruled the EFF’s objection. The result, he says, is that “we are locking innovation out of the Web.”
“It is illegal to report security vulnerabilities in a DRM,” Doctorow says. “[DRM] is making it illegal to tell people when the devices they depend upon for their very lives are unsuited for that purpose.”
In our “Tools” segment, Doctorow tells us about tools that can be used for privacy and encryption, including the EFF surveillance self-defense kit, and Wickr, an encrypted messaging service that allows for an expiration date on shared messages and photos. “We need a tool that’s so easy your boss can use it,” he says.
- In 2014, Nest bought Revolv, maker of a smart home hub. Now Nest is shutting down Revolv’s cloud service, and in the process it’s bricking every Revolv hub that’s already been sold. Consumers may own their hardware, but if it depends on cloud software to run, it operates at someone else’s whim.
- Mark Klein, an AT&T technician who filed a whistleblower suit against AT&T for allowing the National Security Administration to tap into its lines.
- EFF’s Apollo 1201 project, aimed at eradicating DRM
- Simply Secure, a non-profit privacy and security organization of which Doctorow has recently joined the board
- DanKam, an augmented-reality application written by security researcher Dan Kaminsky that helps people who experience colorblindness. It’s an example of a legitimate project that requires the ability to break DRM.
This week’s click spirals:
- David Cranor: The war among players in the online game Eve Online, including a recent economic insurrection by some players against the game runners.
- Jon Bruner: A game design competition based on Robert Caro’s classic biography The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York, about the legendary urban planner.