Broadcast Flag Threat Models - Are They Realistic?
Ed Felten has this on the Broadcast Flag:
The Broadcast Flag, and Threat Model Confusion
The FCC has mandated "broadcast flag" technology, which will limit technical options for the designers of digital TV tuners and related products. This is intended to reduce online redistribution of digital TV content, but it is likely to have little or no actual effect on the availability of infringing content on the Net.
The FCC is committing the classic mistake of not having a clear threat model. As I explained in more detail in a previous post, a "threat model" is a clearly defined explanation of what a security system is trying to prevent, and of the capabilities and motives of the people who are trying to defeat it. For a system like the broadcast flag, there are two threat models to choose from. Either you are trying to keep the average consumer from giving content to his friends and neighbors (the "casual copying" threat model), or you are trying to keep the content off of Internet distributions systems like KaZaa (the "Napsterization" threat model). You choose a threat model, and then you design a technology that prevents the threat you have chosen.
Felten's analysis is really useful, and reminds that technically, the BF is full of holes and will more likely frustrate users trying to watch shows tagged with the BF, as they attempt to use media in ways we do now with VCRs. It won't, most likely, keep shows off the internet. If the Pew reports are correct, as well as Consumer's Union predictions, we are 20 years away from having a large section of the US population that will have enough home use of broadband to be able to download such large files (2 - 4 gb verses a music mp3 which is typically 2-5k). Therefore, the napsterization of the music business is not so comparable to the napsterization of the movie business, which hasn't yet happened.
Posted by Mary Hodder at November 5, 2003 11:40 AM