The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'attention rights management'
Bruce Schneier has an essay about what IT security will look like in 10 years' time:
There’s really no such thing as security in the abstract. Security can only be defined in relation to something else. You’re secure from something or against something. In the next 10 years, the traditional definition of IT security— that it protects you from hackers, criminals, and other bad guys— will undergo a radical shift. Instead of protecting you from the bad guys, it will increasingly protect businesses and their business models from you.
Cory Doctorow rightly pointed out that all complex ecosystems have parasites. Society’s traditional parasites are criminals, but a broader definition makes more sense here. As we users lose control of those systems and IT providers gain control for their own purposes, the definition of “parasite” will shift. Whether they’re criminals trying to drain your bank account, movie watchers trying to bypass whatever copy protection studios are using to protect their profits, or Facebook users trying to use the service without giving up their privacy or being forced to watch ads, parasites will continue to try to take advantage of IT systems. They'll exist, just as they always have existed, and like today security is going to have a hard time keeping up with them.
A new front has opened in the War On Intellectual Property Theft: a campaign to block users of the open-source web browser Firefox from websites, because Firefox enables users to block ads ("steal content"):
While blanket ad blocking in general is still theft, the real problem is Ad Block Plus's unwillingness to allow individual site owners the freedom to block people using their plug-in. Blocking FireFox is the only alternative. Demographics have shown that not only are FireFox users a somewhat small percentage of the internet, they actually are even smaller in terms of online spending, therefore blocking FireFox seems to have only minimal financial drawbacks, whereas ending resource theft has tremendous financial rewards for honest, hard-working website owners and developers..
Since the makers of Ad Block Plus as well as the filter subscriptions that accompany it refuse to allow website owners control over their own intellectual property, and since FireFox actively endorses Ad Block Plus, the sites linking to this page are now blocking FireFox until the resource theft is stopped.The site goes on to advise pissed-off Firefox users to switch to Internet Explorer. (Had they some advice to those browsing on Linux, it'd probably look like "get a Windows PC, you bum".)
It is not clear how many sites are participating in the anti-Firefox campaign.
The next thing after digital rights management (DRM) may be attention rights management (ARM), which ensures that advertisers get the eyeballs they have paid good money for. Already, the signs are there: Philips have filed for a patent on a broadcast flag to prevent viewers from skipping ads. And don't try channel-surfing either, as that's blocked as well:
Philips suggests adding flags to commercial breaks to stop a viewer from changing channels until the adverts are over. The flags could also be recognised by digital video recorders, which would then disable the fast forward control while the ads are playing.
The patent also suggests that the system could offer viewers the chance to pay a fee interactively to go back to skipping adverts.Of course, you can still get up and go to the kitchen to grab a snack. Perhaps the next generation will have set-top boxes capable of counting viewers with an infrared camera, and getting petulant (or charging an "ad-skipping fee" to the subscriber's account) if people leave during the ads?
Philips' patent acknowledges that this may be "greatly resented by viewers" who could initially think their equipment has gone wrong.They don't say...
Prediction: the next thing after Digital Rights Management will be Attention Rights Management.
Advertising is increasingly everywhere; the number of surfaces without advertising is diminishing. In the U.S., apparently petrol pumps have video screens which show ads now. They are even experimenting with advertisements printed on potato chips. And it is to be expected; any corporation that does not seek to extract the maximum value from its assets (including advertising opportunities) can expect to face lawsuits for negligence or mismanagement from shareholders. This means that, even things which are nominally paid for by a consumer (such as films, video games and, yes, potato chips) are being peppered with ads and product placement, because otherwise that would be an economic opportunity wasted, a big no-no under the dominant Reaganite/Thatcherite ideology of our time.
The next step will be for lawmakers to recognise that there is an implicit contractual obligation by consumers to view and pay attention to advertisements attached to any advertisement-supported service they receive, and to enshrine this in law and international treaties. After all, the business models of ad-supported content are dependent on the implicit agreement of the consumer to pay attention to the advertisements; if consumers were to systematically shirk this obligation, the industry would collapse. In other words, ad evasion is equivalent to intellectual property piracy (which is equivalent to currency counterfeiting, which is equivalent to economic terrorism, but I digress).
At first, this will be used to ban, DMCA-fashion, ad-blocking software and rogue ad-skipping video players. Then it will become more subtle; browser windows will go dark if the ad panes are covered by another window, for example. The technology of denying benefit to ad-dodgers will attract as much venture capital, startups, patents and snake-oil merchants as the quest for the perfect uncopyable CD has. Ultimately, computers and TVs (which, by then, will have converged, possibly on a centralised broadcast model) will have gaze-tracking cameras as standard, and Microsoft Windows 2012 or whatever will have a gaze-tracking API specificially designed to be useful for ad attention enforcement.
Welcome to the Digital Millennium: In the spirit of the AOLTW executive who described skipping commercials as theft, here's a list of 10 new copyright crimes for the new millennium; these include things such as inviting friends over to watch pay-per-view and changing radio channels during commercials (which will probably be automatically disabled by legally-mandated standards when digital radio arrives anyway). And, of course, blocking pop-up ads. (via rotten.com)