Prosody Logo Greg Kochanski Prosody Logo

I am writing as a scientist to ask you to oppose the Digital Transition Content Security Act (H.R. 4569).

This bill would require the redesign of all consumer devices capable of digitizing video. It would be a disaster, as much science today depends on normal computers and digitizers to collect its data. These are the exact same devices targeted by the "analog hole" legislation. In order to do science, one needs to understand how the data is collected, and one must trust the hardware and software used to collect the data not to change it.

If this bill passes, that would no longer be true. Secret technology, called VEIL, would screen and perhaps modify my data. Even if it did no harm to a particular experiment, how would I know? How could I trust the results? At best, I'd have to conduct extensive tests of my data acquisition system; at worst, it would behave well on the tests and fail under real conditions. I note that VEIL is proprietary technology, and one cannot even inspect it without buying a $10,000 license.

Is the NSF's budget going to be increased so that researchers can inspect VEIL? I doubt it. This legislation is a bad idea: it puts popular culture (which is a dubious idea in itself) in front of science and technology. I will also point out that the technology businesses that would suffer from this legislation and the users that would suffer from increased costs, complexity and unreliability, are far more important economically than the movie industry.

Please oppose any regulation that would prohibit use of the analog hole and especially any regulation that requires secret, proprietary technology. Vote against H.R. 4569.

[ Papers | | Phonetics Lab | Oxford ] Last Modified Sun Jun 18 04:23:06 2006 Greg Kochanski: [ ]