This should be some disturbing news for all the proponents of fair use of electronic media - according to News.com, hardware DRM features have been incorporated into new machines from Dell, HP and IBM. The only piece missing now is software support through Microsoft.
Dell, the last holdout, announced that it had added the security technology to its latest line of notebooks on Feb. 1. In 2005, more than 20 million computers will ship with the trusted platform module, up from 8 million in 2004, according to estimates from research firm IDC.The benefits on the security front look promising but it has to be wondered how long it will be before media is locked onto certain computers. When Microsoft gets their act together I would not be surprised to see if their music service gets tied to this - and when that happens, there will be a lot of pressure for others to do the same.
The technology locks specialized encryption keys in a data vault--essentially a chip on the computer's motherboard. Computers with the feature can wall off data, secure communications and identify systems belonging to the company or to business partners.