Yes, Trusted Computing is used for DRM

In this blog, Andy Dornan takes us from a simple demonstration of Lenovo laptops new “abilities” to the fact that the real owner of documents with DRM is the software company and not the owner/creator of the document.

You can create a document and claim ownership on it with DRM systems. Unless you can open it with or export it to a software coming from another company, you’ll be dependent on one company to open your document. Imagine you create a text file and protect it with sofware X. If you cannot open it in another text processor/editor and that the maker of X decides that you cannot open your document anymore (for whatever reason: you live in a dangerous “terrorist” country, your name sounds too different, you didn’t pay your monthly fee on time, etc.), your are stuck.

Why do people needs to control who can access to their documents?

I have not lived a long time on this earth but I can’t find a good reason to control access to a document. The documents-themselves do not need to be protected. The protections need to be enforced at the physical access (and/or at the network level).

I thought that one good reason was to restrict access to confidential data/documents regarding health of patients in hospitals. But even at that level, the document is the wrong target. In the real, still paper-based, world, hospitals don’t encrypt data in the medical files. They simply don’t give the key that open the door to archives to anyone. Of course, a malicious key-owner can give/lend his key or lose it ; it’s exactly the same in the computer world: I can give you my passwords or lose the small sheet of paper where it’s written. You can even reproduce my fingerprint (I’m not saying it’s easy).

Finally, I think there are actually enough tools that are free and do not force you to use proprietary tools to encrypt your data (cryptoloop, dm-crypt, GnuPG, …).