Microsoft wants to be your digital nanny
Apparently, DRM is not enough for MS. Ars reports that Microsoft has filed for a patent (patent application 2008/125,102) on technology it feels could address such situations via the use of what the company refers to as a “digital manners policy,” or DMP for short.
Sounds nice, no? Having a chip that temporarily bricks cell-phones in the quiet carriage. But of course, digital manners is the same kind of newspeak as DRM. Just like drm doesn’t protect your rights (it limits them), digital manners defies the whole concept of manners.
Not shooting at your neighbour is a matter of law. Not shouting at him is a matter of manners. The distinction is there for a purpose: some aspects of life are left to your own discretion and good judgement. They are enforced by social convention and peer pressure. Regulating such issues means proclaiming that you are not fit to make those judgements. It is acceptable in a nursery or a psychiatric ward, not on the street.
Digital manner is not about manners at all, its about a company thinking it has the right to dictate how you should behave. I wish I could wave it off as bad manners, but its much worse. It takes digital feudalism to new heights.