Imagine a world where you were told how to think, feel, and act. You were told what to buy…told what not to buy. Having trouble imagining these things? Maybe I can help. Check out a short story I wrote on the subject of Digital Rights Management (DRM).
We’re not as far off as you may imagine.
Websites we visit tell us what browsers we must use to visit. Software tells us what operating system we must use to install it. CD’s tell us that we cannot use music that we’ve bought and own. Televisions will soon tell us that we must have cable as over the air broadcasting of free television ceases in 2012. Your Miranda rights no longer exist according to the Patriot Act; they only have to label you a terrorist and you can be held without charge indefinitely.
It’s a wide scope of things to swallow that ranges from technology to social, political and economic portions of our world. How does one combat these issues? How do we make a difference? While I cannot speak for things of which I don’t know (mainly, political and socio-economic things) I can speak of some technology issues that we can adress.
A recent issue that has cropped up is with the BBC. The BBC is a publically funded broadcast corporation in the United Kingdom. That means the general public in the UK may elect to pay a fee resulting that they have access equally across the board to view content. Content here will mean any content whether online or broadcasted. The BBC takes money equally from all people regardless of race, creed, color, AND regardless of what operating system they run. As such, all people should have an equal opportunity to view said content.
Recently, they announced they would be creating an online video player that supports all operating systems, only to backpedal and state that Linux would not be supported. Now they’re also including DRM in much of their web based content. No problem? Actually, yes, there is a huge problem.