Scoble, who is still talking about Palladium and business as Big Brother to it’s employees, is pointing to Dan Gillmor, who wants to know when we are going to wake up. Good question, but let me point you in another direction.
Given, as Scoble says, that the push for the control and lock-down of Palladium is coming from big businesses, who want to watch what their employees are doing, wouldn’t it make sense to try and find what is causing that desire? In some cases it’s surely is just a control freak management that wants to see what each and every employee is doing all the time. But most of the time that isn’t true. I don’t monitor users to make sure they are doing their jobs, because if they aren’t, that is going to show up sooner or later somewhere else. I monitor users because I’m trying to cover my own, and the company’s, ass in a legal sense. Since the BSA has said that any unlicensed software can bring about fines in the $100,000 range for both the business, and the person in charge of licensing personally (that would be me!), you damn well bet I’m going to want a machine locked down to not let you install software. Since a user surfing porn at a company PC can open the company up to sexual harassment suits, you better know we are going to do something to make sure you aren’t doing that, and since the government has told me, in some states, that I have to, by law, turn over anything that might potentially be child porn that I see on our network, or face child porn charges myself, (or any other myriad possible illegal activities that users may be conducting) the same thing applies.
Let’s face it, given the volatile atmosphere we have to work with, in regard to monitoring and control of the technology you use as part of your job, can you blame us for being controlling? If you’re doing something that could get you fired, or put in jail, and I find it, I’m given the choice of turning you in, or looking past it at the risk of my own job, and possible criminal charges. Given those as my options, you are going down every time, period!
You want to change the demand for control of the PC, change this situation. Believe me, most of us in IT want no part of monitoring users. It’s time not spent on interesting projects, and it’s a distasteful thing to do. But if it means covering our own asses, we’re going to do it, and we’re going to demand that the ability to do it is built-in to PC’s, like Palladium will be. Call off the lawyers and the lawmakers from big business and big business will not have an incentive to completely control all of it’s employees. But if you want big business to be held responsible for every action of it’s employees, you are going to have to live with them using, and increasing the demand for, monitoring and controlling technologies.
It’s not the ultimate answer, but it’s a part of the overall problem.
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