Security Systems Standards and Certification Act - SSSCA

To be proposed to the American Senate, a draft of it emerged in September 7, 2001, this bill would require that no digital appliances, from CD players to personal computers could be made avaliable in the USA that would not conform to certain copyright protection technologies. In other words: mandatory copy protection in every consumer eletronics, covering all kinds of media, from e-books (text), music and video.

Selling a device that would not conform with certain federal content protection technologies, to be adopted within 12 months of the bill passing, could raise charges of up to US$500,000 in fines and 5 years in prison.

Some excerpts from the draft presented:

  • Sec. 101: Prohibition of Certain Devices

    (a) In General -- It is unlawful to manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide or otherwise traffic in any interactive digital device that does not include and utilize certified security technologies that adhere to the security system standards adopted under section 104.

  • Sec. 103: Prohibited Acts

    (a) Removal or Alteration of Security -- No person may --

    • (1) remove or alter any certified security technology in an interactive digital device; or
    • (2) transmit or make available to the public any copyrighted material or other protected content where the security measure associated with a certified security technology has been removed or altered.

Source for these:

The effects of such a legislation in the field of personal computing would be, IMHO, its complete death. In part because there is no way to conceive a free software operating system to ship with unremovable content control technologies, without taking away its freedom, but also, I don't think it's possible for one to be able to program a computer without having the power to violate such protected content. Thus programing might just as well be ilegal. At least programing your own operating system would.

Effectively what today are personal computers would probably become network appliances for internet shopping and pay per view film watching, coming with pre-installed proprietary software.

In certain aspects, the bill is a "natural" follow up to the DMCA and is sponsored by Senator Fritz Hollings (D, S.C.), chairman of the Senate Commerce committee, and Senator Ted Stevens (R, Alaska).

As of April the 21st, 2002, SSSCA whas redubed the CBDTPA