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
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
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
You can see a copy of the official bill at