The renamed and revamped SSSCA - stands for "Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act".

Formerly presented to the American Senate as the "Security Systems Standards and Certification Act", by senator Hollings. It was renamed so in April, the 21st 2002 when it became an official bill.

In short, aside from actually doing very little for the Consumer, which is the C in CBDTPA, what makes it so scary is the Prohibition on Shipment in Interstate Commerce of Non conforming Digital Media Devices. (Which is actually the title of the Section 5 of the Bill). A Conforming Digital Media device is one that would implement mandatory, and not removable, copy protection mechanisms.

Now, a general purpose Personal Computer as we have it today is as well a "digital media device". But any copy protection mechanism would reside in its software, directly in the multimedia applications, or in an extreme case, on the operating system itself. Nowadays, as it is, I can put together a couple of open source libraries, and build myself a multimedia application, to suit my needs, or sell, or distribute, among a lot of other things. That means: I have control over the computer.

Under a CBDTPA or similar legislation, one should not be able to this with a computer, because the newly produced software would not be conforming with the mandatory copy protection standards. It happens that the only way to prevent this, is preventing one of programming a computer at all. Thus. the approval of such a bill would necessarily prohibit the general purpose personal computer, and make computer programming a restricted skill, if not because prohibited, for the lack of programmable computers. How would present day economy work without millions of programmers - and programmable computers - I don't know. Maybe that is a warranty that even if the bill is approved, it will never be strictly carried on.

IMHO, all the impossible to pronounce acronyms and weird renaming is just to distract the general public of it. Seems a nasty way to do politics, this "they cannot attack what they cannot name" tactics. Please note that this node was soft linked to horribly evil even before it was written - that might give a clue on what we are talking about here.

You can see a copy of the official bill at

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