Germany cautious on Microsoft security

Tuesday, 10 December 2002, 12:08 PM EST

In what appears to be the first time a nation has criticized the technology, Germany's Ministry of Economics and Labor said in a letter to the Bundestag, or parliament, that widespread adoption of Palladium raises the "danger that applications of software for new high-security PCs require a license by Microsoft, resulting in high costs." The Nov. 26 letter was a response to queries from members of the conservative Christian Democratic Union party.

The Palladium architecture relies on future "trusted" hardware for tasks such as limiting piracy and enhancing security. In part, Palladium involves encrypting certain data stored on a hard drive. But critics have said that in addition to keeping hackers away from such data, the technology could be used as a policing mechanism that bars people from material stored on their own computers if they have not met licensing and other requirements. Microsoft's licensing policies have also come under attack.

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