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July 27, 2005

A different perspective on digital rights

This week is apparently DRM Week here at Palimpsest…

Neil McAllister writes in InfoWorld:

[E]very business, and indeed every consumer, has information they want protected. Trade secrets are the obvious example. But closer to home, think of your employee records, your personal health care history, or the estimated 40 million credit card numbers that were exposed in the CardSystems Solutions security breach in June.

The thing about these kinds of records is that, in fact, they need to be shared, albeit in a controlled way. Your insurance information should be available to some parties, for example, but not to others. You don’t want to give it out willy-nilly. You want to license it. All that’s missing is a software infrastructure that would let you do that in a way that’s explicit, granular, and secure. DRM would provide such an infrastructure.

In praise of Digital Rights Management

He argues that the DRM vendors are barking up the wrong tree. Instead of locking up music and videos (which makes consumers unhappy), they should focus on managing rights to enforce privacy (which makes consumers happy).