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RFP: Omniscience Protocol


By Scott Bradner


In another great example of the people's representatives at work, Orin Hatch has come out four square in favor of weapons of mass computer destruction.  Senator Hatch, who is the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that he was interested in destroying (the actual word he used) the computers of people who illegally download copyrighted material.  He said that this type of thing "may be the only way you can teach somebody about copyrights."  Well I guess that crushing the cars of speeders instead of giving them speeding tickets would teach drivers about the evils of speeding but it does seem a bit over the top.  On the off chance that the Senator actually meant what he said, something that one can not always assume when a politician moves his or her lips, I would like to offer some requirements for the Omniscience Protocol (OP) which will be needed to do the job right.


Even though the good Senator is willing to get congress to pass legislation to exempt copyright holders from liability when they "destroy" a multi-thousand dollar computer because of $10 in illegal music.  I'm sure that the attitude of the copyright holders is that its OK for a few honest people to have their computers executed as long as the dishonest get their machines executed, but I expect that would not scale and even the music industry would not be able to continue turning computers into doorstops if they did so in error all that often.


Thus there is a crying need for an Omniscience Protocol (OP).  Here are some requirements for the OP: 


o the OP must be able to install itself into all types of computers over the objections of the computer user


o the OP must not be findable by virus detectors, but all hackers programs that mimic the OP must be findable


o the OP must be able to remotely differentiate between legal and illegal copies of the same material


o the OP must be able to remotely differentiate between illegal material and other material with the same filename


o the OP must be able to find illegal copies even if the filename has been changed


o the OP must not be able to be run by a hacker, and the OP interface into a user's computer must not be able to be exploited by a hacker


o the OP must not be able to be used to extract information from a user's computer that is unrelated to illegal copies


o the OP must be able to discern the motives of the operator and not run if those motives are not pure (for example, block any operation that might stem from a vendetta)


o the OP must be able to run through firewalls and NATs


o the operation of the OP  client must not be able to be spoofed


o the OP must be able to tunnel through the due process clause of the US Constitution


The above is just a start, I'm sure that you can come up with additional requirements, if you send them to me I can compile them and send them to Mr. Hatch.  If you have such a protocol you can contact Mr. Hatch directly (right after contacting the patent office).


disclaimer:  I suppose the Divinity school deals with OPs but I did not get a chance to ask them about this case.