Doctorow framed the question this way: "Computers are everywhere. They are now something we put our whole bodies into—-airplanes, cars—-and something we put into our bodies—-pacemakers, cochlear implants. They HAVE to be trustworthy."
Also huffduffed as…
The copyright war was just the beginning
The last 20 years of Internet policy have been dominated by the copyright war, but the war turns out only to have been a skirmish. The coming century will be dominated by war against the general purpose computer, and the stakes are the freedom, fortune and privacy of the entire human race.
The problem is twofold: first, there is no known general-purpose computer that can execute all the programs we can think of except the naughty ones; second, general-purpose computers have replaced every other device in our world. There are no airplanes, only computers that fly. There are no cars, only computers we sit in. There are no hearing aids, only computers we put in our ears. There are no 3D printers, only computers that drive peripherals. There are no radios, only computers with fast ADCs and DACs and phased-array antennas. Consequently anything you do to "secure" anything with a computer in it ends up undermining the capabilities and security of every other corner of modern human society.
And general purpose computers can cause harm — whether it’s printing out AR15 components, causing mid-air collisions, or snarling traffic. So the number of parties with legitimate grievances against computers are going to continue to multiply, as will the cries to regulate PCs.
The primary regulatory impulse is to use combinations of code-signing and other "trust" mechanisms to create computers that run programs that users can’t inspect or terminate, that run without users’ consent or knowledge, and that run even when users don’t want them to.
The upshot: a world of ubiquitous malware, where everything we do to make things better only makes it worse, where the tools of liberation become tools of oppression.
Our duty and challenge is to devise systems for mitigating the harm of general purpose computing without recourse to spyware, first to keep ourselves safe, and second to keep computers safe from the regulatory impulse.
Users of personal computers have consistently been forced to deal with copyright protection schemes that limited their use of software. From copy protection to rootkits, companies continue to try to protect their material through technical methods and legal challenges. In his presentation at the 28th annual Chaos Communication Congress (28c3), Cory Doctorow reviews the history of these issues, but also warns of the continued war against the general purpose computer.
Cory argues that proposed laws such as the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA) and other worldwide legal actions only make it easier for developers to monitor the use of the computer via malware installed as part of the application software. He calls for greater consideration of ways to protect copyright without reducing the value of the general purpose computer to the end user.